13.03.2012 - 14.03.2012
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Wake up for my 8:30 flight at 5am oh how I wish I was still sleeping
Had packed the night before so it wasn't too bad. We get to the airport in no time... we check in then head for security... and I of course forget to remove my nail from my hand luggage so it gets consficated again. Sigh luckily I packed a spare one...
The one thing I had not eaten since getting it i hk is any junk food chain... thank God McDonald in HK sells fillet fish burger for breakfast :-) it made me very happy... Danny the sick one had sausage and macaroni in soup with cheese seriously I looked at it and went wtf! Forgot to take a photo sorry....
Air New Zealand flight to London was pretty good... seats a tad more comfortable than Qantas and the food much better and simpler.... for breakfast there was a choice of omelette with chicken sausages or stir fried noddles with dumplings.... it was airplane quality food but it was bearable. Slept through half the flight and spent the other half watched in time which was OK and then watch twilight it was a much better experience than watching the first twilight but still felt wrong.... 2 hours before landing they served lunch, we had a choice if chicken and mash or stir fried pork/mushrooms with rice. The chicken choice was really good...
Next thing we know were waiting in line for UK border security for an hour since they only had 2 lines for other passport holders there was 4 lines working but at any one time 2 were held up being suspicious looking people. We finally are outside the departure gates and need to find out a way to the hotel. My tip is do this way before hand. Don't ask the hotel desk there as his two suggestions were pretty bad either catch a £90 taxi or use express train and pay £34 return to paddington then cab it. Turns out it was cheapest and easies for us to catch the normal underground train to Gloucester Road station. We had prepurchased a travel card valid for 7 days with the London Travel pass and this was really helpful. Now the London travel pass is really good if you want to do your own thing... warning is that you need to do a lot within 6 days for it to be valuable... for us probably spent the minimal value to make it worthwhile.. for more questions just ask me when I'm back....
Back to the trip. In London we are staying at the Eden Plaza Hotel in Kensington its less than 5 minute walk from Gloucester Road station and its along a road with lots of other hotels.the hotel room is OK. But the room is very very small you have a double bed and less than that of walking space. Highlights: nice tea bags, clean and generally what you would expect for a 3 star hotel. Lowlights: small room and no fridge (this has meant can't buy food and keep it for very long.... though cheese on the window sill with windiw opened slightly has done the trick for short periods of time).
As soon as we got into the room we crashed and slept..Danny woke up later and tried waking me too but jetlag and time difference had hit me and I wasnt going to wake. So Danny went out by himself and did a bit of exploring... during this time he did find a burger joint similar to Grilled in Sydney and bought two burgers one for himself and one for me... he did his best to wake me up but I had sucuumbed to jet lag and like sleeping beauty wasnt going to wake up....
The next morning because I'd had so much sleep I was up pretty early. Not eating for over 12 hours had me starving we walked along Old Brompton Road and came across a few cafes the first one didn't serve anything hot so we moved on to the next eventually ending up at La Brioche. They do awesome ciabattas, paninis and foccacias! I had a chicken escalop with cheese and sweet chilli sauce that was toasted and it really hit the spot this was accompanied by a huge cuppacino. Danny had a freshky cooked bacon and egg muffin with a very bitter mocha which he spent the rest of the day raving about.
we then headed to the national gallery. The paintings are so amazing. Some had the most vivad blue paint used and the paintinfs did not look after 200 years old. I really enjoyed the newer paintings as they were more portrait type paintings. The much older paintings were more religion inspired.
For lunch we wandered around the gallery between some pubs we found a random sandwich shop, food was OK but the service pretty bad, the waitress gave Danny two forks instead of a fork and knife. I had a salt beef (silver side like) which had dills and mustard mixed in on a baguette. The meat was pretty salty but its not something you'd likely find in Sydney. Danny had a bacon and Brie panini, which went pretty well with my salty sandwich.
We then made our way to west minister so we could visit the jewel house (which ended up being closed). We saw the west minister abbey first so we went there. The abbey looks much bigger on the outside but it was still a long walk around. As part of our London travel pass we got free entry plus free audio guide, which I would highly recommend it was very interesting to learn so much about the abbey's history.
We went back to the hotel for a short time and snacked ob the burger I had missed out on (the temp here is pretty cool and so the Burger was still OK to eat
, in Sydney this probably would not have been the case). We changed into some nicer clothes and walked to the Royal Albert Hall to watch the orchestra. Earlier I had signed up to be a friend on the rpo (royal philamonic orchestra) this gave us two free tickets to a concert which made it cheaper than paying for two tickets. Thanks to Jo from the rpo we had two really awesome seats in a private box with an awesome view if the orchestra and the choir. If they are playing whikst you are visiting definately recommend going to a concert. Since I have a membership I can purchase ticks for 50% off for the next year if you need tickets let me know. I was so not used to walking around the whole day towards the end of the concert I was drifting in and out if consciousness.
During Danny's earlier exploration he found a restaurant he wanted to try as they had a pie menu but didn't offer take away. The place is called Bumpkins.... it kinda reminded me of Orto Trading in Surrey Hills. They had run out of a few things by that time as it was pretty late. We ended up only ordering mains for the same reason. We had the Sheppard's pie and roasted venison. Both were good, though the venison was much better. The pie was made well but it had nothing special about it. It was served with potatoes, carrots and cooked cabbage on the side. The venison which was served on brocollini, carrots and dressed with a juniper gravy was executed well. The gravy really tied the whole dish together. The meal over all cost about £80 which wasn't expensive for a decent meal.