Published: June 22nd 2011June 1st 2011
anyone up for some sun baking?
We actually had wonderful weather!!
A place where dreams are built and realised; or so I've always believed.
On my first trip to London, the buzzing city with that awesome vibe, with its magnificant old buildings, its tree lined streets and black taxi cabs, it surely didn't dissapoint. This made me happy.
I guess the fact that I reunited with mum and dad ensured I had a great time. It wasn't as 'Hollywood' as I'd expected it to be...the reunion that is. After my few sicknesses in South America (which led to yes I'll admit a tinge of homesickness) and months away I thought I'd get quite emotional, that they might be a littl emotional but it was all very civil. There was no running towards each other with open arms, no dropping of the bags to do so; this was partly due to the fact we didn't reunite in an airport but more due to the fact that I rocked up to their hotel door to greet them. I think I did manage to surprise mum though but it wasn't the wow Hannah it's great to see you type of hello, more like the I thought you'd been killed by a UFO on your way
here and I'm glad you survived kind of hello!
It didn't take long before we were talking about the normal things in life and after a few beers with dad and then a few more at Pride of Paddington (where we ran into Zac; oh it's indeed a small world!) I felt well and truly at home and yes it was great to see them! xx
I've struggled to write this blog for the past couple of weeks and even as I sit here now, listening and watching the people of Chartres go about their daily lives, I am again finding myself struggling to find the right words. Why is this blog so hard?! I have plenty to write about, I had an amazing time in London; loved every minute. Maybe I'm afraid it won't transpire onto paper, those feelings that I felt only minutes after landing. Maybe it's everything and anything that has to do with London. Maybe it's the fact that I haven't really experienced London yet and whilst I had such a great time I just want it to be even greater.Either way I'm forcing myself to write this and soon enough the words will flow....
has always been a dream of mine, travel in general, yes, but London,there's been something about this place thats drawn me to it. I've always wanted to go as have so many other Australians before me. Is it the fashion (yes I did hit up Camden) or is it the indie/rock scene, the fashionable people (I had my first experience in Topshop too!) the gorgeous old cars, the magnificant parks, the men, the hairstyles, the accent, the pubs?! Maybe its just a combination of everything. But there's just something about London and I can't wait to find out more. As soon as I landed I wanted to get out and explore and within hours of being 'in the city' I knew that staying here for the year wouldn't be hard at all. Dad even mentioned to me that evening that he wouldn't be surprised if I never returned home. We'll see about that.
I'm getting the hang of it now, you know that feeling when the words just start to spill out, or generally in my case spew out at a hundred miles an hour until I become tongue tied and so lost in myself that when I read over
what I've written i find myself transfixed although most of the time bewildered and so as they say in showbiz on with the show, or in my case the blog.
I arrived. I surprised. I got organised. I drank beer. I talked. I ate. I slept (oh how I needed that sleep) I probably dreamt although I can't remember much (by the way the beds in south america definitely trumped this one....terrible!!) I woke (at about 5.30, thanks mum) I showered, I enjoyed a buffet breakfast that included something other than bread....porridge finally!!! oh and a nice cup of English breakfast tea, mmm. After that I was pretty much rejuvinated and ready to get my adventure on; family style!
Today we were doing the absolutely, without a doubt necessary sightseeing tour around London. We had beautiful weather (and this isn't a joke! it really was a lovely day, the perfect welcome to London type of weather). Minus a few degrees and just like in New York we opted for the hop on, hop off bus to see the sights. "The best way to see a city" according to dad.
So we basically bused our way around the Monopoly board
and ticked off many wonderful sights including The Tower of London, St Pauls Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey you know the all the post card shots (all very worthy by the way)We also managed to squeeze in a ferry ride, numerous touristy photo opportunities and a Beatles walk complete with our awkward tour guide and his "bloody back pack" . By the end of the day after "too much walking" ( I decided to walk from "Buck Palace" to Trafalgar Square which dad isn't really all that far!) we were ready for bed but first, of course we needed to eat. There was an Indian restaurant around the corner and we all agreed that would be fine (with a 6 pound special we couldn't go wrong) well we almost couldn't; it figures dad isn't the biggest fan 'spicy food'; coughing which lead to almost choking, runny noses and watery eyes just aren't his thing, or so it seamed!
Another sleepless night, another beautiful day. We'd ticked off the 'big ticket' items and so today we were using the bus as more of a means of transport. Mum spent some time in Harrod's whilst dad and I 'ooohed and
ahhhhed' over the British Museum and the Natural History Mueum (I will definitely have to return, it's awesome!) I then got rid of them in Notting Hill and made my way on the tube to Soho, ohhhh Soho. If only. I wandered in and out of the cobble stone streets, peering into almost every shop, people watching and wishing really for an apartment next to one of those little squares where all the cool people hang out!! One can only dream (unless of course dad you're feeling generous?!!!)
We spent the evening reuniting with Pene and her girls; Jess, Grace and Maggie at a lovely restaurant in Kensington, after a rather expensive; albeit novelity ride in black taxi cab. We enjoyed some wine over conversations about Paris and London, work and relatives and then devoured one of the best Rissoto's ever! What a lovely evening spent with wonderful people and a very keen waiter and Jess thanks sooooo much for storing my quickly accumlating pile of luggage, you're a champion!
Cynthia was keen to see the changing of the guards and so we made our way to "Buck Palace" (note that I'm writing Buck, not Buckingham, I found this rather
entertaining; it was Rosco's name for the house of the Queen and every time I think it got a smile out of me, bless you dad!) with the thousands of other tourists to see the guards do 'not all that much'. Still, though a novelty; those guards and their hats, so charming!
Have you noticed I haven't mentioned any shopping yet?!! Its weird isn't it! I'm not skipping it simply because mum asked me not to. It's just that we hadn't been yet. Four days into the trip and not one single purchase (and we're not counting the few postcards...I'll give her that one) It would have to be a record! In fact even mum herself was impressed and so she should be, she managed to walk down the entire length of Oxford Street without buying a thing. I'm very proud mum, very proud. But you do realise this won't fool dad?!!
I think mum secretly loved the fact that I had arrived in London (apart from the fact that I was actually in London with her) for it meant we could go shopping 'for me' considering I'd been travelling for so long without decent clothes and all. I'm not
complaining, i mean shopping with mum is always fun. We ventured into Top Shop which is probably one of the biggest single clothing stores I've ever entered, but to be honest it was overwhelming. I'd been without large, enticing clothing stores for so long that I didn't know where to start and I didn't have a list= disaster. I knew that I was going to walk out with lovely but completely inappropriate clothing and so I stood strong, purchased two singlets, a tshirt and a pair of sunnies. And for that I'm very proud! I did love it though; a DJ in a clothing store, pretty awesome, although I do not miss the crowds, the lining up for change rooms and the dreaded full length, super lit up, dressing room. You definitely know how to make a girl feel bad; but we all know its just the light, right?!
So we got some shopping in without dad. We picked him up later sitting on the steps out the front of the theatre, poor man. We tubed it back to Paddington and crashed into bed; this sightseeing stuff certainly takes it out of you.
Abbey Road, Lords and Camden ensured we
had a jam packed day full of walking and people watching and well some more walking and people watching. We did indeed walk the 'right' way across that famous pedestrian crossing, however we then walked the right way across another pedestrian crossing; next to the sign Abbey Road, just in case the first one was the wrong one and to our embarrassment in front of a few people who directed us in the right direction; thanks, you English lot sure are lovely! So lovely in fact that when you attend a cricket match and dress up in such a lovely way (hats, stripes, red/blues/whites/creams, with your picnic baskets and cute accents mum and dad feel like they've seen a celebrity; we have quite a few photos of these very dapper looking folk just in case you want a look!
We love your transport system; so easy!! So easy in fact we got back on the underground, hopped on a bus and made our way to Camden Market, much to Dads disgust, for why would he want to be in amongst so many people when he could be working hard back at the farm?! It just doesn't make sense to him.
striding it out just like the beatles...almost
mum just needs to be shoe-less and holding a cigarette and it'd be a mirror image!
Crowds are not his scene and this is nothing new. So again, we left him, this time in a coffee shop with a few good papers and went on our way. A maximum of two hours in the Camden Markets, pllllease! Although mum loves a challenge and so do I. We went seperately; this I wasn't so keen on, mum I have NO money!! But I had a wonderful time. With a full stomach of some delicious West African food I walked and browsed through about 5 different vintage stores picking myself up some (I'm afraid not as cheap as I'd hoped) clothes; all necessary of course!
Sunday would have to be my favourite day as I was blessed with the safe arrival of Rachel aka Pip to my hotel door. A wonderful reunion (although it seems we talk so often that we didn't have all that much 'new' information to cover) over a hot chocolate for me and a simple glass of water for pip. We went out to dinner at Zacs pub (dad's new name for the Pride of Paddington where zac works) before retiring for an early night. Waking up nice and refreshed we decided to spend
the day 'rach and hannah' style; after doing a pre-run of rachels travels to her hostel we ventured down to Oxford street, talked nonsense; purchased phones, gossiped, had our much needed internet time, participated in some more story swapping, enjoyed a nice brisk walk through the park and to finish off the day; dinner from WHOLE-FOODS!! Yep our day really was complete although unfortunately it was the last I was to see of my twin for a few weeks, I was off to Paris leaving to fend for herself in London!!! Good luck Pip, do me proud!
We were off to Paris, can you belive it, it's almost hard to believe that these things are happening; I wasn't looking forward to the stress, but I was looking forward to the experience. I'll try to keep you informed of our movements a little more on schedule but to keep you entertained whilst you wait for my French entry, I'll let you feast your eyes on some of the more entertaining elements on the trip; my dear mother, or for most of you, your wonderful friend Cynthia! Bless. She's probably going to kill me for writing these things down but they simply
have to be recorded....
Now mum told me not to mention the fact that when she wrote down her important information in her book in 'code' that is in tiny little numbers going in every direction, onto different pages and without notes as to what these numbers were for and as a result she had no idea how to interpret it. Meaning it was all useless, for those nasty theives and for her, her book was full of just numbers!!
She also told me not to take photos (although I just couldn't resist!) or mention the fact that she got dressed in such a hurry that she dressed like a dork and walked out of the house with gray socks and black shoes, GASP!! and now these are her words not mine but 'she couldn't belive that she was going to have photos taken of her on abbey road looking like a school kid with gray socks and shoes!!!' classic mum, classic.
I will mention the fact that whilst I love mum's gorgeous brown leather backpack (probably the most sensible thing she's brought with her) that I cannot stand it! The way it hangs down low (remember when you loosened
the straps on your bag in year 8 to look cool?!) but no matter what I do to fix it, it stays that way AND stays with her, even out to dinner! she just cannot part from it and I guess I'm going to have to live with it; if only she would remember she has it on her back and stopped knocking people over with it things would be cool between us! For those that have been or are, in the future to be knocked over, I'm sorry!
Oh now she absolutely told me not to mention this one but its just too funny! I heard mum laughing in the bathroom early one morning and when I asked her what was soooooo funny she replied "i've just put moisturiser on my face, only it wasn't moisturiser it was my bloody shampoo" oh cynth! that will teach you for putting all your beauty products in exactly the same travel bottles.
I don't want to embarrass mum too much, although she is the provider of good solid/wet your pants giggling and these things need to be recorded. And so I will finish off the blog with our train ride to Paris;
mum believes two things;
1. That yawning gets rid of her deafness
2. That only people who use their brains get alzheimers
Thanks London for a great start to the trip; lets see if things go as swimmingly for the next 5 weeks! Yes people I have my fingers crossed.
There are more photos below