A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Day 1

Melbourne to Singapore

large_SAM_0270.jpgFriday 25 May was really wet in Melbourne. The prediction was for a month’s rain in a day. We certainly seemed on track for it when we lifted off at around 4.10 pm, some 40 minutes late. The late departure was due to the inclement weather requiring all aircraft to use the one runway taking off to the west. We arrived in Singapore on time at 9.30 pm. It’s marvellous how these pilots manage to find shortcuts to make up lost time. The flight was uneventful. We watched a few movies and passed the time pleasantly enough.

Singapore was warm and humid, around 27 degrees upon arrival. The airport processing was as efficient as always and we were quickly through and in a short line to get a taxi. Our taxi was old but delivered us safely to our hotel at a reasonable cost of S$23. We were initially taken to the wrong room type but this was sorted out quickly. The hotel was rated 4 star but it would only get a 3 at best from us. The bed was the hardest we had ever encountered. Facilities were spartan. We had to ask for a kettle and tea making facilities to be delivred to the room. We were a little hungry after the trip but room service closed before we arrived. So I went for a walk and found a 7 11 that was open and bought some chips, nuts and water. Problem solved.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 22:40 Comments (0)

Day 2

Singapore

large_SAM_0278.jpgWe had breakfast at the hotel and checked out mid-morning, leaving our bags with the concierge. On impulse we caught a train to Orchard Road area and visited several malls. The first one (Singapura) had some model dinosaurs (see images). After lunch we caught a hop on hop off bus and rode it to the Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel. We lined up and within 30 minutes we were on our way.
Many photos later we alighted and visited the souvenir room. We then returned to where the bus dropped us off and proceeded to wait 75 minutes for what was supposed to be a 30 minute interval service. In the finish we gave up and caught a taxi back to the hotel. We had a drink in the bar and then headed out to find a restaurant for dinner. We found a chef’s kitchen just down the street with plenty of locals eating there. That was enough recommendation for us.
Darlene’s hot and spicy soup got the better of her. She got about a third of the way thought a very large bowl which ironically was the small size. After dinner we returned to the hotel. Ian changed for the flight and we caught a cab to the airport. We boarded the flight a few minutes late and it eventually left just over 20 minutes behind schedule.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 23:07 Comments (0)

Day 3

Travel & London

large_SAM_0327.jpgNeither of us slept well on the flight. They followed an interesting flight path over Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan then into Russia, Poland, Germany, Holland and England. On the screens it did not appear to be the most direct route but somehow they made up the lost time and had us on the ground 5 minutes early.
Bronwyn and good friend David Hudd kindly met us at the airport around 5.45 after we cleared formalities. David drove us to Bronwyn’s flat in Fulham. We ate breakfast (again, after meal served around 4am on plane), freshened up and headed out on a bus to Notting Hill with Bronwyn as our guide.
We walked the streets there and had delicious lunch at a fresh food chain called Pret. We then caught a bus to Harrods and along the way observed locals sunbaking on the grass in Kensington and Hyde parks. The 27 degree day was unprecedented and the warmest in Bronwyn’s 16 month stay so far.
We visited the tribute to Princess Diana and Dodi El Fayed and covered a lot of territory inside the store. We found a few things to buy before Darlene hit the wall. Too much walking yesterday and today with insufficient sleep in between had us returning to Bronwyn’s flat for some much needed rest ahead of dinner at Crabtree Hotel on the Thames booked for 6pm.
Our table was on an outside deck directly overlooking and just a few metres from the Thames. With such a wonderful setting and unusually warm London weather it made for a very pleasant evening. We chose a French Pinot Noir to accompany our delicious meals. If the rest of our holiday is as good as this we are going to have a magnificent trip.
Eyelids started drooping from our 31 hour day around 9pm local time and we crashed around 10pm.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 00:01 Comments (0)

Day 4

London

large_SAM_0338.jpgIt was another warm and sunny day, more reminiscent of Queensland than London. Forecast maximum of 27degrees, the same as yesterday. Someone must have been spreading mis-information about the weather here to keep the tourists away :-).
We started the day by catching a bus to Hammersmith to a foreign exchange shop to convert some Aussie dollars to Pounds. From Hammersmith we boarded a bus to Trafalgar square. We ate lunch upon arrival at another of the Pret franchises and Bronwyn met us there.
We took a few snaps in the square including one in front of the Olympics countdown clock. From there we progressed on foot to nearby Picadilly and Leicester Square where we visited the M&M store. Spread over 5 levels it is a large store that is an attraction in itself.
We caught our first tube train two stops down the line from Leicester Square to Embankment and emerged at the base of Big Ben. We took snaps there of Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, London Eye, Thames River and Westminster Abbey.
Then we caught a London Cab to the Wolseley Hotel. We walked past the Ritz hotel (next door) and into the parkland on the outskirts of Buckingham Palace. We returned to the Wolseley and had High Tea with Bronwyn. Sandwiches, Scones, Sweets and Tea were included.
From there we returned to Bronwyn’s flat via the tube to Hammersmith and a bus. I am sipping on an Aussie red wine as I write this. Time for a refill – more news tomorrow.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 10:42 Comments (0)

Day 5

London

large_SAM_0406.jpgIt was warm and sunny once again. London has brought out its very best weather for us.
After breakfast we caught the 74 bus into Marble Arch where we joined the hop on hop off bus. Our tour took us past various attractions to Buckingham Palace. We got off there and witnessed the changing of the guard ceremony through the black and gold painted iron fence,. We were not ideally positioned and whilst we were close enough to the fence, we were quite a long way from the action and had some parked vehicles inside the grounds obscuring part of the view. I had seen enough after a few minutes but Darlene enjoyed it and saw it all. There was a huge crowd in attendance and a very gruff female guard berating people for climbing up on the fence rails to get a better view.
We re-boarded the bus and travelled past various attractions to the Tower Bridge where we planned to meet Bronwyn and tour London Tower together. It took nearly 2 hours to get there and we needed a lunch stop ahead of tackling the tower. Suitably refuelled we bought tickets and entered as a guided tour was starting. We tagged along. The commentary and guided tour takes about an hour and gives you an introduction then leaves you to explore. It is a walled community of ancient buildings dating back to the 1200s and remarkably well preserved. It is rich in history and truly a top value for money attraction. The crown jewels are displayed in one of the buildings. No photography is permitted in there and a few other sensitive areas. Other than that there is a series of towers around the perimeter and an old chapel where Anne Boleyn’s remains are buried. There is also the former royal residence where Kings and Queens lived for over 500 years. That building is set up as a museum spanning 4 or 5 storeys with swords, suits of armour and various other relics.
We spent around three and a half hours there then we re-joined the bus tour and sneaked Bronwyn on with us. We rode the bus to Trafalgar square and walked to a bar for a few drinks. We met up with David Hudd and went to a restaurant where Bronwyn had won a meal for 4. After tea we walked to Bronwyn’s work where David had parked his car in the basement. The building has an elevator for the cars to get in and out. David kindly drove us past the end of Downing Street. The street itself is blocked off. He then drove us out to Windsor Castle. We got there just as they were locking the gate and light was fading around 9.30pm, but what we saw was impressive. I had reached my limit and dozed on and off in the car both on the way out there and back. A long day with a lot of walking, stairs, good food and wine had taken their toll.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 00:16 Comments (0)

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