Our 2007 UK and Europe Trip
16 Jun 2007
Monday: Went into the city and picked up our HSBC cards from the bank. No more extravagant charges to our ANZ account by greedy Aussie banks. Walked down Regent, Carnaby and Oxford Streets and had a look at the beautiful shops and lunched in one of the nearby lanes.
Tuesday: Caught the train from Kings Cross to Welwyn Garden City and met our December/January home exchange couple. They are a delightful pair with a beautiful cottage in the countryside. We couldn’t hope for anything better. They showed us around the city and then had lunch with them. It was a very enjoyable day.
Wednesday: Off on the Underground again to Covent Garden to watch the State of Origin at the Walkabout Pub. There were lots of league fans there and going by the result a lot of Queenslanders. It was fun to amongst the crowd. We had lunch at the nearby Belgo restaurant. I had their specialty of Mussels traditionally cooked and the boys had sausages and mash. The waiting staff were dressed as monks which was most unusual.
Gary and I then went to the British Museum for three hours and barely scratched the surface of the exhibitions. We went to the Egyptian section first and were amazed at the artifacts.
The next section that grabbed our attention was the “Parthenon Marbles” shipped to England by Lord Elgin in the early 1800s. The Greek government has been trying for years to get them back to their country. The British justify the taking of the friezes by saying if they hadn’t done so they would now be all ruined and beyond saving. When we visited Athens in 2002 we went to the Parthenon and I had no idea that these sculptures were missing from the building. It had been a great day.
Thursday: Gavin joined us again this morning for a while on our trip to the Imperial War Museum. The gallery at the entrance is full of mind blowing examples of machinery of war. A real “Boys Own World”. There were so many exhibitions to see. We went through the WWI and WWII sections. So many pieces of history – it was amazing that so many items had been retrieved. The interactive WWI trench and the WWII London bomb shelter were very good. You really thought you were there. Although we spent five hours there we still didn’t get to see everything but we were feeling pretty weary so we headed back to Belsize Park.
Friday: Went into Covent Garden for a look around during the day and bought some theatre tickets for that night. Gavin also came with us to see “Spamalot” a new musical in the West End that has been running for about 4 months. It is a musical adapted from the Monty Python movie “Search for the Holy Grail”. Three of the songs were from the movie. We enjoyed it so much and would recommend it to anyone wanting to have a good night out at the theatre. There were all the silly things that go on with Monty Python and singing along with “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. Outside the streets were really jumping with young ones out for a good time on Friday night at the pubs and clubs. The underground was packed just like peak time.
Saturday: St Paul’s Cathedral was our destination. We had morning tea at “Paul” with exceptional pastries. We spent three hours admiring the interior of this beautiful cathedral. It is in the best condition it has been in for a long time with the smoke and grime removed to reveal the colours of the huge mosaics. We went down in the crypt and saw the burial place of many of Britain’s wartime heroes including Nelson and Wellington. There were flowers at the base of the shrine of the Falkland Memorial as there had been a service that morning marking the 25th year since the battles. We had the first rain in London from a storm. We have been remarkably lucky with the weather so far but I believe that could change tomorrow when we go to Paris.