A Travellerspoint blog

We'd 10 May London Eastend and Westend

What a day! First time we can say it really wasn't a lot of fun. I have been researching Des's family tree and as we were coming to London. Where his Dad was born, we had a few places to visit especially the Westham Cemetery. We jumped on the tube to Westham and got out thinking the cemetery was very nearby. Wrong! We walked for a long time and finally found a postman who gave us directions. "Go back to the train station and go to Stratford and it's near there. We trudged back the way we came which was a bloody long way already. I couldn't get an Internet connection anywhere along our travels and I had already been in contact with the Manager of the cemetery last night and she was expecting is and given us directions to the particular graves we wanted to see. Pity I hadn't got directions to the cemetery. Got off at Stratford and caught a bus that looked like it went in the direction we needed. Wrong again! We again had got off and walked for more miles and turned around and walked back.By this time we had been perusing our cemetery for 4 hours and about 10 miles of walking so we were too tired and gave up. We got on a bus that would take us back to London central to Oxford Circus. We hadn't seen this area so we knew it was quite a way so went up to the front seats upstairs in the double decker bus to get a good view. So much for going to the 3 other towns we needed to see in East London where family had either lived, married or been born and baptised. We were just over it all by then. the bus trip was painfully slow and we finally eat in a pub in Oxford Circus at 4pm so that was lunch and dinner in one go.

We then made the mistake of looking around Oxford Circus for a while then we were so tired, we got the tube back home. Wrong move again. It was 5pm rush hour with millions crushing on the tube, squashing us, hitting us with elbows, bags etc and it was so hot in the tube also.

Finally home to the peace and quiet of our lovely apartment Lisa had chosen for us. Drinks out in the beautiful serene garden was just what we needed to wind us down. My thoughts are London should be called London Circus because that is what it is. Don't get me wrong we still love it but we just had a bad day.

Posted by RitchieOE 12:45 Comments (0)

Tues 9 June London for 3 days now

We have now said Goodbye to everyone on the tour and checked out of our Hotel. We are now in Vancouver Studios not far away in Bayswater. They very kindly gave us an upgrade to a 2bedroom apartment which is very palatial And so comfortable with plenty of room. We even have a washing machine/dryer in the kitchen. It is 5 mins to Bayswater Tube station as well.

Today we spent a few hours at Westminster Abbey. The queue was unusually small and it moved very quickly. We ere in in about 5 minutes. OMG, what an amazing church. I felt it was actually better than going to St Peters and the Vatican in Rome. Perhaps that was because we have just done this tour and we have learnt so much history along the way. Here lie all those notable and royal people as well as poets, all of which we learnt such a lot about on our tour. With our old peoples concession we got in for 17 Pounds each. Absolutely worth every penny.

Tonight, we have a really good deal to see JerseyBoys at Piccadilly Theatre. We go back to our previous hotel for a 2 course dinner for free then the show with great seats in the middle of the stalls and middle of the stage all for 69 pound each. We are very happy with that.

Posted by RitchieOE 08:18 Comments (0)

Mon 8 May Brighton To London All up about 5000km

Today we headed home to London and day 6 of sunshine until we were almost in London. Grey cloudy skies there.
The tour guide said we could sleep in yay!!!! We still had to have our bags out and breakfast at 8am then we could have more time looking around Brighton. Apart from the pier, it was just another busy and fairly ordinary city. But it was nice to be walking in the sun again.

On. The road at 10am with a stop for a couple of hours in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Here we saw some lovely shops in upper and lower pantiles then found more lovely old quaint shops in this Spa town. Lunch in the sun and back on the bus for the last time for our trip. We are all looking forward to whatever we ar doing next but at the same time, we are sad to say goodbye as we have all got along very well considering we all have our little quirks. 37 together for 24 days is quite a long time isn't it.

We arrived in London about 3pm and those going to a show tonight needed to get ready quickly as they were off to dinner first. The two choices of shows were Memphis or War Horse at 109 pounds each person. We had chosen to not do this excursion. We found a good deal in the hotel and we have booked that for tomorrow night, even though we will be in another Hotel by then, it was still OK to taken advantage of it.
We are going to Jersey Boys for 69 pound each,with a 2 course meal at the hotel restaurant for free included. very much happier with that deal as that was the show we had planned to go to.

Settled into our room at the same hotel we stayed at before, Kensington Close then went to dinner at the same Pub we had eaten at on the first day in London. Bangers and Mash, yummmmmm. We then went into the centre of London to Covent Garden as we hadn't been there. It is much cheaper to travel by the red double decker buses in London than use the tube we are finding this time with our Oyster card.

Our last day of the tour actually finishes with breakfast in the hotel tomorrow. I can never really understand that but it will give us a chance to say goodbye to those who we see at breakfast. Our tour guide, Marvin, has gone home to Kent already. His next tour is Tuesday of next week and his wife already has a huge list of jobs for him to do apparently.Both he and our bus driver were excellent and we would thoroughly recommend this tour to anyone. It is Cosmos tour called The British Isles in Depth. I worked it out we travelled on the bus about 5000 km over the 24 days. we had wonderful hotels and excellent food. Our Extra excursions of which there were 14, we did 10, were all very good except for the Welsh Evening. We wouldn't recommend that but I think I said that before anyway.

Tomorrow we move on with our own tours.

Posted by RitchieOE 12:42 Comments (0)

Sun 7 June Plymouth to Brighton and between

Day 5 of warm sunshine all day. One night in Plymouth then off to Stonehenge with it fabulous new a exhibition
centre. Last time we came here was 3 Years ago and it was the foulest day you could imagine. We literally, got out of the car, went to the fence and took a photo through the fence then got back in our car soaked. You just cannot do that now, They have moved the ticket booth and entrance to about a mile and a half away from the stones. You can either walk down to it after paying, (ours was prepaid on our tour), or you can get the free bus. We did that as it would have taken too long to walk on our 2 hour time limit with Cosmos.
The whole experience on a beautiful day is unreal really and the new information area is extremely well done and certainly, all of it is worth the money. we really enjoyed it. The souvenir shop was of very high standard and the food we had for lunch, delicious and very reasonably priced for such a tourist spot.

Our next stop was Arundel, a very old town where there is a huge castle in the middle of the town. In fact, it takes up most of the town. We all chose not to visit it at 18 pounds each and the bedrooms were closed for the day. We also probably would have seen enough for our money before it closed anyway. Instead, most of us walked up the hill to see the 12th century church which is Anglican now and further up, the Catholic Church where a new Bishop had be invested just last weekend. There was still evidence of this in the huge amount of spring flowers throughout the church. Such a lovely little town where everyone was enjoying icecreams in the sun by the small river. This was also a town criers weekend there. We never saw them but there were heaps of people in town for the occasion.

Next we were at our final leg of our very large journey, in Brighton at Jury's Inn, before heading back to London tomorrow. Dinner was in the hotel and then many of us took advantage of the beautiful evening with NO WIND, and strolled down to the Brighton Pier
And pebbled beach to watch the wonderful sunset. Sorry no photos as I left my iPad in the room and just took my little camera which I cannot transfer the photos until I get home. What a buzzing place Brighton is. So many people on the pier and the beach, even 2 in the water swimming. The water was amazingly calm and absolutely breathtaking. We wished we had all the family with us as they all would have lovely all the terrifying rides and Jenna would have loved the children's rides as well.

Posted by RitchieOE 14:34 Comments (0)

Sat 6 June Plymouth to Cornwall area

Day 4 of brilliant sunshine and off to enjoy it all day through Cornwall. our first stop was at Lands End. Oh wow this is an amazing place at the very end of England. Very cold wind of course and the sea looks so mean, cold and rugged but breathtaking as it crashes against the rocks.
The excursions to the Cliffs of Moher and the Giants Causeway were awesome like this countryside, out in the middle of nowhere. You get back on the bus so envigorated by the wildness of walking in the wind in places like this. Like walking to the cliffs by Muriwai after a storm and looking down on the Gannet Coloney for those who have done that.

Next we headed to the lovely beach of St Micheals Mount which is like a small version of Mont St Michelle in France. we went there last trip and that was amazing and so memorable. This time, we could only look at this smaller version in the distance just out from the beach.We enjoyed
The 2 horses being ridden on the beach and the wind surfers taking great advantage of the strong winds. The sand was much more coarse on my feet than in NZ I noted.

Time to go for lunch, still travelling through the beautiful Daphne du Mauriers Cornwall countryside. Still brilliant sunshine, we arrived at the quaint seaside fishing village now extremely upmarket and wealthy town of St Ives. You know the poem, "as I was going to St Ives, I met a man with seven wives" The thought did cross my mind, as we walked way, way down to the seaside village, from the car park, "do men really have seven wives in St Ives.....I suppose it's possible, they had huge range rovers carrying lots of people and weaving past us on the narrow cobbled streets. We enjoyed a lovely pizza in a little restaurant by the sea where the boats were anchored in the sand. Saturday and sunny meant all the English were on the beach in their rented deck chairs, eating clotted cream icecreams and some were even in swimming. We didn't see any knotted handkerchiefs on their heads unfortunately but it certainly was a very different scene to summer at the beach in NZ. Lovely friendly people, smiling and happy with the weather today, lots of them braving the sun in their summer clothes but we still had our coats well and truely zipped up. An absolute picture postcard town is St Ives.

2 Hours drive back to Plymouth where we went to see the Mayflower Steps, very close to our hotel followed by a boat ride around the harbour with the captain pointing out all the historic buildings, boats and even the submarine, one of which is nuclear powered.

Dinner was a night on our own so we went back to the docks and found a very tiny but extremely tasty Thai Restuaurant. We then walked around the older quarters of the town going back to 1400s. The rest of the town was heavily bombed during the war so it is all rebuilt in boring styles of the 1950s. Outside the window of our hotel stands a church from the 1600s which is just a shell as it too was bombed in the war.It apparently stands as a memory to what happened here. It is so forlorn and sad looking, with weeds growing out of it and the floor inside in just grass now.

Posted by RitchieOE 12:29 Comments (0)

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