Apologies for not posting last night. I did make a start but I was exhausted and couldn’t keep my eyes open so decided to put out the light and do a double post today!
Wednesday 26 June 2013
It was another late night and I only woke up after 7. By the time I was up Nicholas had already left for work. Yes – I was a little nervous to be left to my own devices in a strange city abroad. Covent Garden seemed a good idea so I googled which lines I had to take and it was all an absolute piece of cake. Before heading to Covent Garden though, I strolled up and down Bond Street and checked out all the sales. I was tempted but in the end didn’t buy a thing!
It was about lunch time when I headed to Covent Garden, had a bit at a small pavement cafe – Eggs Florentine which was surprisingly good. The coffee wasn’t bad either! On previous trips to England I could not eat in the restaurant but something has changed in 16 years – I haven’t had a bad experience yet!
Covent Garden is just the best place ever. There is constant entertainment from street mimes and performers and I spent the entire afternoon watching them as well as browsing the stalls. I wanted to go to the Transport Museum but didn’t get that far. I will return before I leave this island.
I have never seen a ferret before but today I recognised one sitting on the lap of a man at Covent Garden! He let me pet it and told me that he has twelve at home. ‘I give them turns to come out with me,’ he said. He also has a pet monkey – but leaves him at home!
I had to wait a short time to meet Nicholas at the tube station and found a lovely Turkish or Eastern European restaurant. I didn’t think they’d let me in for just a cup of coffee but the young waitress was most welcoming. She offered me a Turkish coffee which I haven’t had since my mother used to make it in my teens. She also showed me an array of pastries and I couldn’t resist the bakalva – which the Greeks love too.
Nicholas’s friend Steven arrived to stay for a couple of days and we had roast leg of lamb for dinner.
Thursday 27 June 2013
Today was awesome. I went on a tour of London atop a London Bus. I asked the guide whether it would chilly when the bus moved. “Where are you from, ” he asked. “South Africa,” I replied. “Then, yes – it will be chilly. Feel free to go below if you can’t handle it.” But for most of the trip it was not too bad at all. Toward the end I felt a tad under-dressed! I won’t post pictures as it was difficult taking photographs from a moving bus. It was just great to get an overview of the city and to hear commentary from a knowledgeable and entertaining guide. My travelling companions were an extended family of Mexicans – Grandpa and few mothers and plenty of children. They were a tad loud and the guide had to ask them politely to tone down so that we could hear his commentary. They took it all in good humour and I didn’t find them intrusive at all.
The ticket included a river cruise. It was very cold and I almost gave it a miss because I thought the boat would be open. I decided it would be a pity to miss this perfect opportunity and went and bought a ‘London, England’ hoodie and boarded the boat. One could actually sit on top in the open or below with windows that opened. I chose the latter but was still glad of the extra warmth from my touristy hoodie.
I was able to get a delicious sandwich (ham, cheese and mustard) and a hot chocolate (awful!) on board. I sat with a Kiwi couple who were quite friendly and the trip took us to Greenwich. Once again we had an excellent guide who gave us interesting information about Captain Kidd, The Tower of London, the Cutty Sark and other interesting landmarks along the way. I won’t bore you with the details. But when you go to London – don’t miss the River Cruise – it is really well worth it.
I got off the craft at Greenwich, went to see the museum there and then went aboard the Cutty Sark. The entrance fee is 12 pounds but I got in for 9 pounds and 50 pence because I am a senior! Still rather expensive but I loved it.
By time I was done exploring Greenwich I had to get a bus to North Greenwich Tube Station – quite a distance away. Isn’t it great that with the Oyster card you can get on the bus or the tube anywhere at any time. As I boarded the bus a young girl called out – Hey – Today’s my birthday. “Happy Birthday,” I said, “Are you fifteen?” “No sixteen,” she said. She was with two friends and they were in a high state of excitement. They were off to the movies. I told them my destination and asked them to help me get off at the right stop. “No problem – that’s exactly where we’re getting off” How lucky was that! They were also excited because exams were over and tomorrow is their Prom!
One of the girls said,”I love your accent. Where are you from?” I told her and she was thrilled. “I knew it,” she said, ” I have family in South Africa!”
From North Greenwich, I took the tube to Bond Street and went shopping! I explored all the shops and their fabulous sales but ended up getting a few shirts and t-shirts from Marks and Spencer – definitely the best selection ever!
Nicholas had a tough day today and was held up in a meeting. I had a coffee and chocolate croissant at the station and then travelled to Neasden and waited for him to catch up to me there. We then went out for Chinese. The Spring Roll were divine and I should have just settled for those because I could not do justice to the duck and rice that followed.