Tuesday, 13 July 2010

July 10 2010 – July 11 2010

Being a Tourist in London

So my first weekend in London was a great one, I never thought I would be hot whilst I was here but both Saturday and Sunday were perfect days.


Woke up thinking I would go to Greenwich but realised that this would be pretty difficult to get to so decided instead to go to Emirates Stadium. As a massive Arsenal fan I thought this to be an excellent idea. I was pretty impressed with myself getting to Arsenal Station without getting lost and changing from the District line to the Piccadilly Line without any problems. When you get there you go up onto the road and there is a sign pointing to the stadium. Looks like a normal London suburb and then as you turn the corner it is there in front of you.

Unfortunately the stadium tour was sold out when I got there so I will have to go back sometime. I decided to walk around the stadium and go to the stadium shop. As you walk around the stadium you see giant billboards attached to the sides of the stadium and on them are a badge and famous players standing with their arms around each other. Really is an amazing place and must be brilliant on match day.

From Emirates I decided that as I was in North London I would go to Hampstead Heath because I had read that there were great views of the city from Parliament Hill. Well I can say that there are definitely great views of the city from the top of the hill but the problem is getting there. I got off at Hampstead station and didn’t weather to turn right, left, forwards or backwards. I am really struggling working out where I am without the mountain. So I proceeded to get lost and walk for ages and ages in the heat. Eventually I stumbled upon Highgate Cemetery which was a great piece of luck. You pay £3 and get to walk around the cemetery where a few famous people RIP. The most famous and over the top is Karl Marx just look at his grave and you will understand.

The grave that was really cool was Douglas Adams who wrote “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”. At his grave stone people had stuck pens into the ground. I thought about doing this but the only pen I had was one I just bought at the Arsenal shop and as I haven’t read any of his books it wouldn’t be right.

From there I went on to Parliament Hill and then headed home. I was pretty impressed with myself that I found a direct route b train to the hotel. However I mistakenly confused Kew Gardens Station with Kew Bridge Station. Having got off at Kew Gardens I realised I had no idea where I was so I looked at the map and realised the Thames wasn’t too far away so decided to walk there and then along the river to the hotel but I took a wrong turn when I got to the river and ended walking to the wrong borough which takes my total kilometres of unnecessary walking to 25. I ended up having to take 2 buses to get home instead of one train I thought it would take.


After resting my legs on Saturday night Kelly and I set off to do a spot of sightseeing. We decided to go to Hyde Park Corner and walk down to all the famous sights. We first went off to see Diana’s memorial fountain which was unplanned and put us off track again. The fountain isn’t so much a fountain as a not very steep super tube but it is pretty and a great place for kids to play around in summer. From there we saw this big golden statue and thought let’s go there. It turned out to be the statue or monument behind the Royal Albert hall. It really is an amazing sight and I couldn’t believe all the gold.

Next stop Buckingham Palace but the problem was we didn’t know where the hell we were which, is a common theme of my London trip so far. Anyway not panicking we consulted the trusty map and started walking down past all the museums and other interesting places. We ended up in Knightsbridge so decided to pop into Harrods with the 50 000 other tourists which wasn’t great because it was crowded and didn’t really get to experience the store. We left quickly and headed off to Buckingham Palace. After passing many war memorials and other interesting statues we found it. I wonder if it is drafty. Mrs Queen was home but she didn’t invite us for tea but we briefly saw a few guards changing.

From there we walked down Birdcage Walk towards Westminster Bridge. There we saw Big Ben for the first time. TV really doesn’t do it justice and the whole area is beautiful. We crossed the bridge and saw the House of Lords from across the Thames. I would love to go back at night and take a photo then. It must be awesome. After an excellent day we headed home to watch Armstrong lose the Tour de France and Holland lose their third World Cup final which was a disappointing end to a brilliant day.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

July 6 2010 – July 8 2010

Cape Town to London

I write this sitting on the bed in Kew Bridge Travelodge and feel much better than I did yesterday. As you might have gathered I arrived safely and have settled into both work and the hotel. What can I say about the trip? I know, it was fucking terrible. Firstly if you decide to fly to London from Cape Town avoid the direct SAA flight. It is a really old Airbus A340-200 yes that is the 200. I thought they only flew those domestically but apparently not. The seats were awful and old and there was those drop down screens so you had to watch the movie that they were showing and couldn’t pick what you wanted. They showed one movie the whole trip. ‘Date Night’ thanks for asking. Ah it was ok.

Second reason the flight was terrible was I had a rather large woman next to me whose skin spilled over to my seat over the arm rest. Only saving grace was that I had an aisle seat so I could go to the loo when I didn’t feel like being squashed.

So I arrived in London at 6h12 on Wednesday morning after not sleeping well. A colleague of mine met me at Heathrow and we made our way to the office. I had a shower there and then spent the day looking and feeling like a zombie.

The Travelodge only lets you check in at 15h00 so I left the office at 15h00 and made my way to Chiswick high road to take the 237 bus to Kew or I thought I was going to Kew. I got on the right bus but on the wrong side of the road so ended up going the wrong way. Luckily I realised that it was the wrong way early on so got off cross the road and got on another 237 bus and found my hotel.

The Travelodge isn’t too bad although basically a room with a bed and an old TV. At least it is only for two weeks.

Thursday 8 July

Pretty uneventful day actually, just got up went and fetched some breakfast from a little bakery and went to the office. Then walked home after work and decided to go to a shopping mall. Wow! What an amazing mall, every designer brand you can think of as well as a few shops that cater to someone with my budget and my Rands. Must of looked weird in my Bafana Bafana shirt and mouth open in amazement at the huge shops. Ended up eating McDonalds of all things in the park in Sheppard’s Bush and taking my trusty 237 bus back to the hotel.