A Travellerspoint blog

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

Day 26

London

large_SAM_1121.jpgWe slept in today and had a quiet morning at Bronwyn’s flat. Around 9 am Ian noticed some movement in the bushes in the back yard downstairs. It turned out to be a fox. See photo...
We caught a bus and a tube train and met Bronwyn at her office at 1pm as arranged. We had lunch around the corner at a local café and met up with Sheema, a friend of Bronwyn’s. After lunch we headed along Regent Street through Piccadilly, Leicester Square and into Covent Garden. Along the way we visited some stores including the M&M store (again) and Mimco.
We stopped for a iced coffee, did I mention it was another lovely day in London? We took jackets but they remained in the back pack. It was t shirt weather. We then caught a bus to Harrods in Kinghtsbridge for some more shopping. When we could shop no more we caught the 74 bus back to Bronwyn’s flat. Ian walked to the local petrol station (that doubles as a supermarket and liquor store) and bought some bread and a bottle of Aussie Shiraz. Remarkably they had about 20 Aussie wines to choose from.
We ordered some pizza for dinner to go with the wine and had a quiet night in.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 13:36 Comments (0)

Day 27

London to Oxford & back

large_SAM_1135.jpgToday we caught a bus to Earls Court Station and then a tube train to Paddington. At the bus stop and at Earls Court we only had to flash our Oxford train tickets and we were allowed free travel. However, at Paddington the guy at the gate berated us for not having a correct ticket for travel on the tube and asked how and where we got on. We told him and in the end he let us pass, but he wasn’t happy.
We arrived at Paddington and realised we were an hour early, so we walked the nearby streets and had some lunch then returned and boarded the train. It took just over an hour and was a pleasant, quite fast trip but the scenery wasn’t anything special. Most of the time you looked at trees growing along the edge of the train line. There was the occasional glimpse of a canal and a town along the way. We travelled quite fast so anything of interest was gone from sight very quickly.
We arrived at Oxford around 2pm and wandered the streets and shops till 6. We saw many historic buildings associated with the university and took some good photos. It was a lot of walking and somehow Darlene kept going. We arrived at Oxford Castle on our way back to the station and found a revamped eating precinct within and outside the remnants of the old castle. We had dinner at a Chinese buffet and sat for a while then continued to the station and waited for our train. They would not let us board the earlier train.
Bronwyn called us during the day and said she would be working late and asked what time we would be back. She caught a taxi home when she worked late so she diverted it to Paddington station and had it wait a few minutes for us and then took us back to her flat.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 01:45 Comments (0)

Day 28

Last day in London

The weather was overcast and it had rained overnight. We slept in and packed our cases and headed out for some afternoon shopping at the Westfield Mall in Shepherd’s Bush. To get there we caught the 220 bus. To Darlene it was an opportunity to check out all the shops and look for bargains. To Ian it was just another mall. After a few hours we headed back to Bronwyn’s flat.
For dinner Bronwyn had made a reservation at the Boathouse. It is a pub about a mile or two down the road in Putney Bridge. Bronwyn invited her London friends and fortunately had reserved a large table. It was a chance to meet those we had not yet met. It was noisy and crowded but it was a good night. They had a WA Shiraz that went down well. We left there just after 10 and David dropped us back at the flat. We have an early start tomorrow as we fly out to Dubai.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 22:01 Comments (0)

Day 29

London to Dubai

We woke ahead of our alarm and quietly dressed and dragged our cases downstairs. We had no way of knowing if they were under or over the 30Kg limit on the Emirates flight. We woke Bronwyn and said our goodbyes. Our taxi arrived on time at 6.20 am and we loaded up and headed for Heathrow Terminal 3.
Bronwyn had done web check in for us and printed our boarding passes. That saved us some time and allowed us to arrive at the airport later. Fortunately our cases were under the limit. We had some light breakfast at the airport and went to the gate to await our departure.
We left about 15 minutes late but as is often the case the pilot found a short cut and made up the time. We landed about 10 minutes early. Ian watched a movie and then listened to some music and watched out the window. For the latter part of the flight (post movie) we tracked over Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait and the Persian Gulf. For all of that time you could see that the wind had raised dust into the air from the deserts. At times it was so dusty you could not see the ground at all.
In Dubai it was still dusty with visibility reduced to less than a kilometre. We caught a taxi to our hotel. The airport is just north of the city centre and we were staying at the Pullman Hotel attached to the Emirates Mall which is south of the city. On the way we passed the newly completed tallest building on the world. It was approaching dusk and with all the dust in the air it was darker than it should have been. The tower was impressively lit up and temporarily brightened the gloom.
After checking in we wandered into the mall for a light dinner and to look around. This was a Friday and shops are open to midnight Thursday to Sunday and to 10 pm for the rest of the week. The mall was busy and seemed to get busier as the evening progressed. We covered a bit less than half the mall in 2 hours by which time Ian had had enough. Darlene reluctantly accompanied him back to the room for some rest.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 23:06 Comments (0)

Day 30

Dubai

large_SAM_1242.jpgWe slept in a little then had breakfast in the Executive lounge. We upgraded to an executive room upon check in for 20 Dirhams (about $7). The room is similar but it gets us free internet and access to free tea, coffee, soft drinks & snacks 24 x 7.
After breakfast Ian went downstairs to see what touring options were available. We settled on a tour called Dubai top 5.
The tour was departing at 4pm and returning us at 9 pm. That gave us a few hours to finish our shopping so we set out straight away. Fortunately we found the last of what we were looking for by around 1pm. We had a coffee in the lounge and Ian went and bought a late light lunch and we had it in our room.
The tour took us to Jumeirah Road/Beach area where we did a 30 minute cruise in a traditional wooden boat along a 4km long man-made canal lined both sides with residential sky scrapers. The most remarkable thing is that the whole thing was completed in just 10 years.
The bus then took us to see the man-made islands shaped as a palm tree. The scale of the development is truly impressive as the outer breakwater is 14 kilometres long. It consists of apartments, villas and hotels and a monorail takes the locals to and from a multi storey car park at the base of the “tree”.
We then went to a vantage spot to photograph the 7 star, sail shaped hotel. Only guests are permitted inside. Then we headed to the Armani restaurant at the base of the Burj Khalifa tower for dinner. Our seats overlooked a lake with an impressive fountain show on the hour. We have a 2 minute movie but it was too big to upload here. Let us know if you want to see it.
After dinner we entered the tower and went up to level 124 for evening views from the observation deck. The tower is the tallest building in the world and stands 200 storeys high. The view was impressive but a daytime visit may have been better for photographs.
This will be my last blog entry. As I write we are about to leave our Dubai hotel for the airport for our trip home. We do look forward to our return after a month away. A selection of our Dubai photos are now uploaded. We hope you like them.

To those who have taken the trouble to read this, I thank you and hope you enjoyed it. Until next time....

Posted by IanDarleneUK 20:11 Comments (0)

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