Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Finally a New Years not being bored at home

New Years Eve, we walked around Soho Square as we like the park there *wink and then we headed over to see Stella McCartney's shop it wasn't open. Laurie decided she wanted a relaxing afternoon because of the pub walk tonight and fireworks. I explored some more of the area went past Apple at 3 Saville Rd for old times sake. Memories of hanging out to see the Beatles, back in the early 70's, ah those were the days

3 Saville Rd


I decided to hop a bus and head towards the Tower of London on the way realized I was passing St Paul's Cathedral so I decided to get off and snap a few shots and then remembered the Salvation Army had place near by so went in for pot of tea turns out they were closing early and I just made it so had my tea and headed out walked a bit on the Millennium Bridge but not very far as it was very cold and I had crossed it before. After that walked a bit and then hopped on the tube over to Tower of London. Wanted see the Tower Bridge as I adore it and then watched the skaters. I saw an ice-cream truck and despite the cold decided to get an ice cream whippy cone the first of the entire trip. What can I say love my whippy. 

Tree in front of St Paul

St Pauls Cathedral

I was walking along looking in shop windows when I suddenly fell on my knee OUCH some guy walking by with his woman came and helped me up I hated the help but knew I had to. I was very thankful they helped me.  I rested awhile and decided to have some fish and chips and then took the tube back to Oxford Street to look in some shops as was trying to find a really KEWAL coat. Then I hopped a double decker bus and enjoyed the view from the top of the Christmas lights on the way back to the Hovel.

lights as seen from the bus

I rested a bit (30 mins) and then got ready to go on the New Years Eve Pub walk it was lots of fun we went to 3 pubs we didn't have a drink at the first one but at the 2nd one we had a glass wine and already it was getting warmer out. The guide was really fun he was full of life and the more he drank the better he was or was it the more we drank. He had lots of interesting stories to tell. The last pub he started singing "Oule lang syne" and we all joined in. Then we decided to try some mulled wine and it was really good.

After awhile headed for Westminster to see  the fireworks but by the time we got on the tube they were announcing that area was now closed as it was full and it wasn't even 10 pm yet. We decided to try Waterloo Bridge it was crowded but not too bad, we found a perfect place to stand where we could see the EYE quite well with Big Ben in the background, what a view. It was getting crazier there was a girl near us who was quite drunk and she was getting pretty obnoxious. Finally Big Ben started chiming midnight as the fireworks began it was quite a show and we had a great view.

We started heading back to the Hovel, the bridge was covered with bottles there were some young guys wishing people Happy New Years and we were talking to them when out of the

blue someone crashed into Laurie and knocked her to the ground, it happened so quick we never even seen the person luckily she wasn't hurt. We were unable to take the Underground as they had them blocked off and high security I guess they were worried about all the people rushing for the trains and someone getting hurt. Luckily I remembered the way back from when I walk Christmas Day. We got in around 1.30 and had a drink before we headed off to sleep.

Tower Bridge

Ice Skating Rink the Tower

Stella's store

New years Eve as Big Ben Strikes Midnight

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Day with Henry

I set off to Hampton Court I had been there several times years ago they were having a Christmas with Henry 8th event so I had to go, seeing as how I am a huge fan of Henry It was a nice train ride. I got there just as the festivities were beginning. They had several of the famous characters of Henry's time. It was the court come to life and I was enjoying every minute of it.

I walked around the various rooms and was  watching Anne Boleyn lead a dance
I wanted to participate but sadly had no partner, Henry showed up in disguise to dance with Anne. I was walking through the courtyard as Henry came by one time and stopped so I approached him did a courtesy and asked if he would pose in a photo with me. He told me I did a nice courtesy and thanked me for being proper and asking and then posed.

I also walked the grounds and took photos and ran across some different looking ducks the
water on the ponds had turned to ice from the cold and I watched as some of the ducks attempted to walk which was almost like ice-skating . I also watched the skaters having fun on the ice rink wishing I could join in but afraid I would break my leg I headed back to London and had dinner it was a nice day.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I love Paris in the Springtime

We got up early and after a nice breki of bread and tea we headed out to Norte Dame we walked along the Seine and finally came upon it, was beautiful to see. The Statues and carvings were so beautiful. It was already getting crowded we took some pics and then spotted a Public Toilet and went to use it however it was not open until 10 am and it was about 20 to so we looked around some more and decided to get in a line for the toilet. 10 am came and went and no sign of someone to open it the line certainly was growing now people waiting and impatiently looking at their watched. At 10.15 we gave up as we were wondering if anyone would ever come to open up what it if was their day off? So we went in search of another toilet. We couldn't find any and someone suggested that we should go in a cafe order coffee and then use the Ladies. Sure drink coffee need to pee even more so I spotted a sign for a hotel so we went to find it. We finally did and walked in like we belonged there look around and saw a sign for a toilet so we opened the door and what a mess it was dirty and no toilet seat but beggars can't be choosers in desperate situations. Note to Self: Walking tour of Clean Paris toilets.

Back to ND where it was really getting crowded. We went inside
and looked around it was beautiful the thing that struck me was the free admission like Sacre Coeur, yet London charges a hefty admission to St Paul's and Westminster Abbey, thankfully I had been there years ago when admission was free and a donation requested. The stain glass windows were superb We then came out and started walking around snapping photos of the Gargoyles which were all the Cathedral, there seemed to be hundreds of then I put on my zoom lens in an effort to capture the ones up high. We spotted another public toilet which was actually open and decided to put it to use as you never know if it your last chance.

After that we decided to walk along the Seine and also find the left bank, someone gave us directions. We saw a Cafe that had some yummy looking Baguettes in the window so we decided to go in and have one for lunch and I also wanted to listen to Cafe On the Left Bank. The man there was asking why I didn't know any French, and did asked where we were from and when I said I was from the US he started jumping up and down yelling Obama. We ate I sang we left.

After that we continued along the Seine I so wanted to take a book trip but it was so darn cold so I settled at looking at the boats. We ran across a cute little dogie
that was going for a ride in a carrier and asked if we could take a snap. We then continued along the Seine back to see the The Champs-Elysées during the day. My jaw was drooping as we walked with all the imposing building and statues. We walked by the Louvre and took a snap of the Pyramid I had no idea the Louvre was so big I was amazed of course the lines were a million miles long so I agreed the idea of getting in line to go in as it would have definitely taken the rest of the day.

We then ran across some garden? Not sure all of a sudden there were all these statues all over the place and I was snapping away and started singing I Love Paris in the spring time by now vowing I would come back again in the Spring someday. The next thing I knew one of the statues was wearing a Santa Hat
and a bit later noticed people putting jackets on some of the statues. I guess Hugh couldn't take it any longer as suddenly the little pervert was climbing on the statues, I took some photos of this as proof.
We were soon back Champs-Elysées and it certainly was different during the day and all the Christmas stuff was being removed we walked to Arc de Triomphe,  the traffic there was 

unreal it was interesting to stand and watch we had to go through an underground pass to get over to it took pics and looked around a bit but way too crowded to go up into it especially as we had to back to train station by 6 to catch the train back to London. We went headed back to hostel and stopped to buy some dinner for the train I got another Baguettes this time a cheese one and then picked up our belongings and headed back to the train and London.

Notre Dame

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oooo La La PARIS

We got up at 5 am to catch the train to Paris we had to be at the station by 7 am we were 10 min walk away we got there only to discover the schedule was changed to leaving 45 minutes later despite the tickets we printed the night before giving the original time makes sense doesn't it, I was quite annoyed I don't do waiting good so walked back to the Hovel for some tea and scrambled eggs and came back just in time to go through security and get on board.

The ride was rather boring as really nothing to see out the window but suddenly we were in Paris we headed for the Perfect Hotel and Hostel after the Hovel we were staying in London we were worried but not to be it was indeed a perfect Hostel it had a lift and everything it. We through our stuff the room after our fight we the key I am not a key person and I guess at least for this place neither was Laurie we had to call for help to get in and he was mighty cute! We headed for Sacre Coeur as it was right by our hostel. it was really wonderful to see it up there on the hill and it was blue skies and sunshine. Before we headed up I saw a Carousel that was offering free rides so we decided to take advantage of that, so took a ride. Then we climbed up to Sacre Coeur it was really beautiful to see we went into the church and looked around a bit snapping pics.  Then we headed to the Eiffel tower, taking snaps from all the different angles it was quite cold out about 30 F as a cold spell was going on but that did not stop me, from taking my coat off and posing and someone near us made a shivering motion, believe me I was freezing. The lines were too long to try and go up to the top and we decided to try later. We continued along just taking in the scenery.



we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant and then headed back to the Eiffel Tower the night views were even more amazing if possible the lines were still way to long and we decided to fore go a trip to the top. We then headed for The Champs-Elysées lined with lights totally an amazing site to see I had my mouth wide open most of the time trying to capture it on film was just about impossible they also had booths selling various gifts and also home made chocolate crepes Laurie offered me a bite of hers and it was so yummy and so warm I had to get one we walked along The Champs-Elysées looking in shop windows we crossed to the other side my mouth still wide open then quite content at the days end we headed back to the Hostel.

making crepes

Eiffel Tower at night

peeing chocolate

Hugh lives it up

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Little Green Street and Christmas lights

I had read about 500 places to see before they vanish and headed we jumped on a bus out to find Little Green St Kentish Town the houses were built in the 1780's.
they are trying to save if from being demolished, it was a cute little street after that we headed off to Spitafields taking the bus to Liverpool St Station to see Spitafields Church built 1715 to 1729.

We ran across a man having a "Street sale" he had items on a blanket on the side walk and everything was one pound I found hat thermal gloves and a scarf so I was ready for New Years Eve and Day. London was getting very cold, I later heard the coldest start to winter in 30 years.

Emigrant Statue

We then headed out to Golders Green so Laurie could show me the B & B she stays at there and also walk through a bit of Hampstead Heath and then caught the bus back to St John's Wood and then we headed over to Abbey Rd Studios which was nicely decorated for Christmas and took the obligatory photos because it was my nephew birthday I gave him a call

Abbey Rd at Christmas

and a stop by a very famous house

 We then took the bus back to Oxford Street to see the lights and then Regent Street and Hamleys toy store and looked around there a bit it was quite enjoyable and finally Carnaby Street the Giant Snowmen