A Travellerspoint blog

May 2013

Tower of London and ST pauls cathedral :D

rain 9 °C

Wednesday 29th of May

Another early morning this morning, although it was 6:00am today, body is slowly but surely getting into holiday mode. Got myself out of bed and gingerly made my way to the window secretly praying for a nice day, fail, raining and miserably cold, thanks London. We had high plans for today, tower of London and ST pauls cathedral and with the lines we experienced yesterday we wanted to get an early start. The only thing that was going to put a spanner in the works was my foot, it was hurting yesterday, not terribly bad and I can't recall twisting it or anything and just put it down to too much walking but this morning upon getting out of bed I could barely put any weight on it, it looked ok so took some aspirin and sucked it up. Got ready and headed down to the restaurant on level 1 for another hot breakfast and was out the door by 9:00am. 

We decided to go to the tower of London first and caught the tube from Russell square to tower hill. Exited the train station and bam the tower of London was right there in front of us, the buildings looked amazing but it was bone chilling cold as it's right on the edge of river themes an it was windy, my four layers of clothing today went working in my favor. Headed to the ticketing office and with our rail passes we qualified for the 241 offer and got it half price so for the two of us it was 21.40, awesome deal. Didn't have to wait in line as we got there right as it opened so it was perfect. Read on trip advisor that the best thing to do is to head for the crown of jewels first as it gets really busy, great advice as when we finished it was getting quite squishy. Wow, this was beyond what I was expecting, I think I had just envisioned a crown and some jewels but this was so much more, you saw all the baptism bowels the royals used, all their kitchen wear used for coronation, swords and malices used for parliament as so I have learned dukes cant enter without having one present, they are massive gold staff rings which were originally used as weapons. The exhibit also including jewels, broaches and crowns from various royalty. But my favorite was the last piece, queen Victorias crown that she wears for parliament all the time, the gorgeous purple jeweled one, amazing, she had actually only just worn it last week as most of the pieces in the exhibit are still being regularly used, we were lucky to have seen it all. After that spent the next hour exploring the yards, going up various towers and soaking it all in. The buildings are truly amazing. The place is also crawling with ravens which are massive and extremely smart, they live here and always have and it is legend that they will also remain here unless the royal monarch falls. Pretty crazy. Actually had a funny experience with one of the guards who nicknamed me raven because of my blue black hair,  he was quite funny and we all had a good laugh while trying to attempt a photo. 

We finished the tower and exited out the river side and right in front of us in all it's glory was tower bridge. This has to be the most prettiest and awesome bridge I have seen, no offense intended but it shits all over Sydney harbor bridge. I fell in love with it and after several photos went to de freeze our frozen bones in a near by Starbucks. 2.90 got me a large chai latte. Yummy. After the coffee break decided to actually go up the tower bridge and look at the exhibit, thought while we were here why not. Cost us 8 pound each and we spent probably 45min going up into the tower and walking above and over to the next one learning about how it was built, nothing too exciting but it was nice to just get out of the cold for a bit lol. After that decided to catch the train to ST pauls and find Lunch there before visiting the cathedral. While getting out of the station and trying to look for a bathroom, which is actually quite difficult most times, we stumbled across this amazing Asian inspired healthy cafe called ITSU, had this yummy Asian tuna ginger amazing salad and a white chocolate and caramel dessert, was amazing, yum, another chain of stores I want cairns to have. Finished lunch and walked over to ST pauls. 

Wow this building is gorgeous as most cathedrals tend to be, if anyone doesn't know this is the place princess Diana and prince charles got married and this is where all the royal babies get baptized, a lot of history is within these walls. Reached the counter and realized I had lost my rail pass and we didn't qualify for the 241 offer, was really pissed of with myself, someone either pickpocket it or it fell out my pants while using the bathroom. Rookie traveller mistake no. 3 do not put important shit in your pockets. Oh well, no point crying over spilt milk so paid the full price of 18 pounds and headed on in. It was so beautiful, I wish I could have taken photos to show you all but no flash photography was allowed although I sore plenty of people disobeying,  gave a few dirty looks to make them feel guilty lol. We walked around and explored the area using the free quido guide which was great and then Walked the 247 steps up into the whispering gallery. They call it the whispering gallery because one person can stand on one side of the dome and so when someone else is on the other end they can hearneach other even if whispering because it travels the sound so good. Walked down and explored the crypt which had many war memorials to fallen soldiers. It's now 3pm, I had been hobbling around all day like an 80 year old lady thanks to my foot and it was feeling really sore, jenny was tired so decided to head back to the hotel, have a beer and relax and get ready for our broadway show in west end which was booked for 7pm. Caught the tube, picked up a beer from tosco and headed home. 

Had a relax and got ourselves ready for the show, it was playing at the Garrick theatre in soho and decided to head in a little early to hit up the pub before the show. After initially walking down the wrong street thanks to my crappy map readng skills, found the theater, picked up the tickets and went to the bar. Had ourselves a jug of prims and finished it just in time. Another beer at the show and we were seated. The theater was small and gorgeous, very intimate and perfect, was loving it before it even started lol. We went and saw "rock of ages" and I can't praise it enough, it was the best sow I have seen, I am so so so so glad we saw it, me and jenny had a blast singing along to all the songs and laughing until our bellies hurt. After the show we were quite hungry and needed to refuel on more beer so went to this amazing American dinner style place and had the best burger I have ever had. It was a chillie cheese burger with pickles,  im Sorry grilled but you just got beaten. Was super hot but awesome. Finished up here and decided to head home as it was after midnight and the tube would stop running soon so got one for the road and left :) 

Arrived home about 1:30pm, feet were sore, slightly pissed and still high from the great day we had. A little sad tomorrow is our last day but excited for Paris.

Love cara xoxo

Posted by Caralouise 14:01 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

British museum and library


Tuesday  28th May 

Woke up at the crack of dawn, not sure if that was jet lag or just excited lol but was up at 5:30, did some blogging and chilled in bed until jenni was up. We both got ready and headed down for our free breakfast in the hotel. Breakfast included bacon, eggs, toast, tomatoes, baked beans, fruit, toast and musli. Everything was ok except the tin fruit was disgusting and the toast a little soggy. Finished up and was out the door by 9am. London showed it's true colours and was cold, rainy and miserable although I quite liked it, could have done with an extra layer of clothes but I sucked it up and managed. Our first point of call this  morning was the British museum and with the weather how it was thought it would be a perfect start. The museum didn't open until 10am so went to Starbucks to warm up with a coffee and use there wifi. We are having troubles connecting to the one in our hotel room so was good to catch up with family and friends. 

The British museum is huge and kinda has a roman feel to it with massive big pillars out the front and throughout. I loved this museum, we got in early so wasn't overly busy, don't get me wrong there were loads of people but you never felt rushed. The collection here was amazing but my favorite would had to have been the statues and pieces brought in from Athens including this pristine statue of  afrodite and the Egyptian display, who doesn't love a good mummy exhibit :) I love museums and this was great. We managed to walk through the whole thing in just over two hours, by the end of it our heads were swimming with information. Our next stop was the British library which was only a short walk away and decided to re fuel as it was about lunch time. We found a pret manger (this franchise is everywhere through London) which is this chain of cafes that sells all this yummy fresh salads, coffee, snacks, gorgeous sandwiches and home made soup, I fell in love with this place, I so wish Australia had them. I got a chicken salad, tomato and herb soup and ginger beer, was delicious!! Total cost 9 pounds, bargain.  After a rest and a feed we headed into the library. I loved this place, we had a bit if trouble trying to find the exhibit on their treasured pieces but in the centre if the library they have this amazing glassed off section of book several stories high called this kings library filled with all these amazing ancient books, it was like a piece of artwork its self, my draw literally dropped. After checking out the book store and doing a few laps eventually found there exhibit. I have never in my life been so close to so many unbeilable piece of literature, it's mind boggling. There were so many so I won't list them all but my favorites were the hand written sheets of music from Mozart and written lyrics from the beetles. There was also this amazing hand written letter from issac newton while he was having his breakdown suspected from mercury or lead poisoning due to his experiments to his friend ranting about wanting to forever be alone. There was also a first edition tyndals (I think that's the spelling) bible, this is pretty amazing as these were the first ever bibles to be translated to english, however back then English was seen as a language beneath them and him and his wife were actually executed for it and orders were sent out to have every copy burned and anyone with was in possession of one killed, dramatic I know. This bible is one of only three in the entire world that survived and I got to read two pages of it in person, truly amazing. 

After spending well over an hour here we decided to catch the tube to go to Madame tussauds but everyone had the same idea as us since it was raining the lines were unbelievable, decided to do this first thing in the morning on another day, this area was insanely busy and it was crazy cold. Went back to baker street tube station to regroup. Decided to maybe check the national history museum for a short visit as we were running out of time somewhat as we had high tea booked at 5:30pm. Took the tubue to the museum and the line here was worse, oh my god I had never seen anything like it, I was so disappointed as i was really looking forwarded to seeing their blue whale, oh well. Feeling a bit deflated after traveling around everywhere and getting nowhere we decided to just go to picadilly street, find where we were having high tea and walk around that area. Caught the tube again for like the tenth time today lol to green park and walked along picadilly street and park lane, saw some amazing car show rooms including a crazy astin Martin one and some high end real estate and hotels, felt very poor in this area lo. Did some suveniour shopping, got zack a shirt and headed to our high tea.

This was nothing short of spectacular. It was at the athenaeum hotel and this place was the most pimped luxurious hotel I had ever been in, they had powder rooms instead of bathrooms and your own butler, it was crazy. I felt a little out of place  surrounded by all that money, I was scared I was going to break something lol. all I can say is the service was amazing, the food to die for and the rose petal Champagne was nothing but spectacular, I recommend anyone going to London to do a high tea and definitely one here, I couldn't recommend it enough. It was so perfect sitting and chatting with jenni, gossiping and having quality time with each other, this was a highlight for sure. We stayed here for two hours eating non stop and soaking it all in. the high tea was 36 ponds and worth every penny. 

After stuffing ourselves silly with sandwiches, scones and deserts we decided to try our luck on the London eye, we were hoping that because it was late and slightly overcast the lines wouldn't be too long. Fingers crossed. Back on the tube to Waterloo and short walk to the eye. Our luck had changed and after getting our ticket there was no line and we went straight on, a little pricy at 19.5 pounds but I loved it and thought it was worth it. The sky had cleared up a bit and the sun even peaked through. We got amazing views of london and some lovely photographs, there were only six of us in the pod so heaps of room. It takes about half an hour to go around. Exited the eye and walked back to the station, it was bone chilling cold and gearing onto 9pm but still light, loving these long days. Caught the tube to Russell square and walked to the hotel. My feet were soooooooo sore by the end of today and it was nice to get back into the warmth and rest them. We skipped dinner as we were still so full from high tea lol. Long hot shower and then to bed. 

Wow, what a day. 

Love cara xoxo 

Posted by Caralouise 00:26 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

First day in London


Monday 27th may 2013

So got onto the flight from Bangkok to London fine, was getting pretty tired at this time as it would have been about 3 am cairns time and was hoping to sleep this whole flight and try get onto London time and beat the jet lag.  Had a window seat which I was stocked about, seat 45D at the back of the plane. I was flying British airways this leg and to be quite honest was really dissapointed. Nothing like flying Qantas, the air hostess were not very welcoming and it was a fight to just get them to bring water. Food was terrible. Had pene pasta, cheesecake, water, tea and this gross potato salad, no beer, was too hard to get it. So after being fed settled in for the flight. Thanking my lucky stars that dragging my stupid pillow around this whole time and getting weird looks was totally worth it as there was no hope in hell I would have slept as much i did without it.Managed about 6 hours which was great. Woke up and they fed us a hot breakfast which was disgusting, a omelet I couldn't even manage to finish and then we were flying over London. It was a crystal clear day and we had to circle the city a few times before landing and oh my gosh it was amazing. You got to see everything, I had the most stupid massive grin from ear to ear the whole time getting goosebumps and realizing I was here, I was actually here, completely surreal and the best feeling ever. 

Got off the plane quickly and headed for immigration got through that fairly quickly, nothing like Australia and they asked you loads of questions which through me off a bit. After getting totally confused by the baggage notice board went straight to carousel 7. Stood there waiting, watching everyone walk away, still no bag, started to stress panicking about whether I was indeed suppose to pick it up in Bangkok. Finally the second last bag comes through and it was mine, thank god!!! Did a little prayer and headed for the information desk to wait for my ride. I had booked the heathrow shuttle service for 25 pounds to pick me up and drop me off at my hotel. Thought it was a great idea but after booking realized the service actually got bad reviews, was hoping today was my lucky day, unfortunately not. Waited 15min, no sign of him so called the free number, girl on the line informed me that he was picking up another couple from a different terminal and he would be a few minutes late. More like half an hour and when he finally showed up he didn't even help me with my bag, not impressed! Got in the van and drove to the hotel which took about 45 min. This part was actually really awesome getting to drive through all the suburbs and looking at all the houses, loved it and was really a great way to introduce the awesome city!. Although they are crazy drivers and don't wear seat belts, this Italian guy was driving so fast in these tiny streets I actually hit my head on the glass a few times lol. 

Got to the hotel in one piece and went in. The foyer looks nice, very old school European style. Couldn't see jenni so went straight to reception. They said our room wasn't ready yet which I figured as it was only 9am in the morning. Told me I could leave our bags so settled on the couch to wait for jenni and what do you know she came through 5min later. Was so excited to see her, big hugs later we left our bags with the some what rude front office staff and headed to the tube station to get to kings cross station to buy our seven day railway travel cards to qualify for all the 241 offers for all the tourist sites. Walked to Russell square station where the guy at the counter told us Kings cross station was actually just down the road and it was easier to walk. Tourist rookie mistake number one, everything looks way farther on the map lol. Followed the signs and made it there no probs and got our tickets with no incident. 

First thing on the list for the day was Westminster abbey so caught the tube straight there, after one slight hiccup, rookie tourist mistake number two, don't rush onto the tube even if it's about to leave without actually seeing where its going lol. All good and we got back on track no worries. Walking out of this tube was nothing short of spectacular, u cant even really describe it. You are literally smacked in the face with London bridge, big ben, the river themes and Westminster abbey, truly amazing. With all the red double decker buses, Black taxis and red phone booths, I was truly in london and this was freaking awesome!!! Had a stroll along the bridge envisioning myself on "28 days latter" (zombie movie) when he is walking across the bridge and it was completely  deserted, this time however it was busy as hell and the streets were cut off as there was some kind of marathon happening and apparently it was a bank holiday and the sun was out and the  whole of London was as well. Amazing!!! Still quite cold but with a light jacket, pants and a scarf I was all good :) walked around, found the abby, took lots of photos and decided to find somwhere to eat lunch before heading in. This seemed more difficult then first thought but eventually found this cute little sandwich  bar and had our first experience of nice welcoming service, the owner was lovely. Ordered a roast beef and horse radish salad sandwich and water which cost 5 ponds, cheap and yum!

After lunch went to the abbey. The line was long but was in the sun and it moved really quickly so actually only lined up for about 15min. Cost was 18 ponds, did a quick bag search and we were in. Wow this place was unreal, more than I expected, the statues, the tombs, the monuments were just incredible, a little freaky being surrounded by so many dead queens and kings and amazing important people, this place was oozing history and we were all over it. Free audio guides were great and it only felt a little cramped in some of the small areas. Explored the whole place which took about an hour and a half.

Decided to head to Hyde park, caught the tube to green park and walked from there. This place was crawling with people and it was so nice to rest our feet on the grass in the sun watching the street performers and watching London go bye, bliss. Tried to rent a bike but the line was either too busy or the machines didn't work, another time. Walked on through to buckingham palace, wow, you only get to see the front, gates and surrounding areas but it was gorgeous and eerie seeing the little balcony were prince William and Kate shared there kiss, very cute. Relaxed here for a bit and people watched some more. Walked through Hyde park again headed for Oxford street, a shoppers delight lol. Our legs and feet were a bit sore by now so only went into topshop and primark which was more than enough lol, got a few things and headed home with our bags. It was just before six at this point and we were thinking of dinner. Caught the tube and walked home. 

Checked into our hotel room which is a little on the small side but apparently that is the norm here. It's clean and has everything so was happy although the heating was really warm and we had to leave a window open which made it a little noisy but I didn't mind. Had a much needed shower, got dressed and found this cute little pub down the road for dinner. Had steak and ale pie with mash potatoes and veges and two pints of beer for 16 pounds, worth ever penny and enjoyed it. By now it's 10pm, traveling for two days straight was finally catching up with me and I was getting a headache and really tired so walked home. Literally changed and passed out on the bed lol, perfect first day in London :D 

Love cara xoxo 

Posted by Caralouise 00:25 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

7 hours in bangokok airport.


Well u have exactly 2 more hours to go unti I board my flight to London, starting to get sleepy as it's 1am cairns time and I really didn't sleep at all on the plane here. Bangkok airport is probably not exactly what I expected, yeh it has it's flash duty free shops and a massive statue in the middle bur that's about all, most of the eateries arnt even Thai and there air cons suck, feels like it's 30 degrees in here. I guess I was expecting a little bit more from the top ten placed airport.

Any who straight off the plane I found this fantastic massage place which I had previously heard great reviews of and it lived up to and more. Absolutely amazing and was a gos send for my aching legs from the place. Got a 45min leg and foot massage for 700 baht which is about $25 aud, not too bad and I got to sit in comfy chairs which was a bonus. :)

After the massage went and got pad Thai from this restaurant and a pint of beer, really really yummy besides the creepy guy that kept staring at me from the next table, thanked my lucky stars when he left. Anyway the whole meal cost just under 500 baht which was pretty good, I was happy with that. Killed the rest of the time walking around the shops, got myself some chocolate and tiger balm and have now found a comfy corner to read near my gate and wait out the remaining time. The layover hasn't been too bad and considering I have been here 7 hours has gone by pretty quickly. Not too much to complain about.

Anyway iPad is about to die, Going to get myself settled.


Posted by Caralouise 07:37 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Flight number 2

Sydney to Bangkok


Sunday 26th May 2013

Well my flight last night was good, the sky was crystal clear landing into Sydney and it looked so magical with all it's lights in full glory, was like something out of a fairytale. As I was sitting up front it was a breeze exiting the plane and my bag was one of the first on the carousel so was literally out of the airport in ten minutes. I had to catch a train and a fairy to my sisters place in Manly and I felt like Sydney was prepping me for the London weather that awaits me as it was freezing. I had to catch the train from the airport o circular quay and then a ferry to manly to get to my sisters place but all went without incident and I was showered and in bed by 11pm after a quick catch up with my sister. If only I was asleep by then but as usual with the nerves and excitement I had a very broken sleep but hey, I have a 9 hour flight to take a nap on so no real complaints here. :)

Was up at 6:30am, out the door by 7am to be at the Sydney international airport for my 9:40am flight to Bangkok. Unfortunately there was sine kind of traffic holdup getting into the airport so I was a little anxious to say the least an didn't give me and my sister a lot of time for goodbyes which I was a little bummed out about. So quickly rushed to the Qantas line and it was massive, there must of been a lot of flight heading out this morning as there was people everywhere which didn't help the anxiety, I know silly right? But airports and flying is not my strong point and I felt stressed the whole time. Finally got to the counter and I know it was super busy but the lady was really rushing me and she was talking so fast I had no idea what was going on but figured I would work it out, she practically pushed me out the counter once I was done. Filled out my customs form, thank god I remembered a pen, went through security which still makes me nervous, have no idea why, must be the airport thing. That did take a while and by the time I found my gate there was no hope in he'll I was getting that coffee I craved so much. Damm. Waited 10min and was boarding the flight, cutting it fine I know. This plane is a lot bigger, a Airbus A330-300. The plane is about half full and i am sitting in the back section in the middle with an isle seat, 54D. Seats a little smaller and I don't u derstand why they need to have the aircon on so high, it's freezing!! But it came with a pillow and a blanket, which kind of makes me fee s little silly bringing my own lol, I have mentioned I dint fly international like ever and this is my first time alone. I was starving by now and was hoping the would serve lunch shortly which they did, and a whole lot better the last nights flight, took my one advice and stayed away from the Asia optioned which I thanked god for because when the lady next to me got the fish and Asian greens and rice, it looked disgusting!!   Anyway I got beef with red wine source, carrots, mash potato and beans, was actually pretty good. Along with that was z yummy salad, standard  cheese and biscuits, bread roll and this most amazing chocolate moose with salted caramel at the bottom, I could have eaten 10!! And who could forget the ice cold beer, I know 10:30am is a little early for beer but im on holidays :) 

After finally getting comfortable, relaxing and enjoying a movie thought I would check out my boarding pass for the next leg and am a bit confused, the time of boarding is correct but it doesn't make much sense and the lady didnt also tell me whether I had to pick up my bags or whether they are going straight through, hopefully when we land I can ask one of the ladies to check it all out for me and hopefully there are no dramas. Trying to not worry or think about it right now and just trying to enjoy the flight. Anyway on to the next movie, more beer and a nap. This flying thing is not too bad so far. 

Love cara @ 1:35pm xoxo

Posted by Caralouise 03:16 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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