Edit Blog Post
Published: July 13th 2018
Our hotel, Park Plaza Riverbank
We have been wanting to travel the Trans-Siberian railway for over 30 years. Each time we were going to Moscow we tried to add it on but the dates did not fall into place. So this year, as we both celebrate our70ths and in October, our 50th Wedding Anniversary, we decided a trip would be a great present to us. Now, whenever we are coming to Europe we always try to go to London first as we never tire of this great city. Our plans also extended to going to South Wales so I can visit my favourite poet, Dylan Thomas, birthplace and country.
We left Adelaide on Wednesday, 11th, from Adelaide airport and had a 3 hour flight to Perth. Here, after a short wait in the Qantas Club, during which we caught up with Dale Wood, whom we know from the Rising Sun, we boarded the new Dreamliner service to London. This was full and we were near the front of Economy. The seats were comfortable, though the leg room was still restricted and we settled in for a 16 hour flight direct to the UK. The flight passed relatively quickly. I read, slept and watched 3 movies.
The best of these was the biting satire, Death of Stalin as well as the wonderful, Dunkirk. Food was fine and plenty of water was offered. I actually managed to sleep for several hours.
We arrived in Heathrow at 4-45am. It was misty with the sun just rising. We were through Passport Control relatively quickly and grabbed our bags and headed to the Heathrow Express which had us into Paddington Station in only 15 minutes. From there it was a short taxi ride across the Thames to our hotel, the Park Plaza, Riverbank. Here we were greeted pleasantly and much to our surprise, we were given keys to our room straight away which was a great relief. At that hour of the morning very little is open so the ability to have a shower and change clothes, as well as rest before venturing out, was welcome.
We left the hotel about 9am. We have not stayed south of the Thames before, so set out to walk along the embankment and take in the sights. The Houses of Parliament are almost opposite our hotel and we could see Big Ben enclosed in scaffolding as they work on restoration. There
View across the Thames to Westminster
are many skyscrapers being built along here, too. We stopped outside Lambeth Palace, home to the Archbishop of Canterbury and then continued along before stopping at a cafe for a coffee and croissant for morning tea, We went past the London Eye, Festival Theatre, the National Theatre and onto the TateModern. The wind was cold and the sun was struggling to disperse the mist, so I was glad of my cardigan. At the Tate we went inside for a loo stop and to see what was on. We decided not to go into any of the galleries as there was a number of school groups pouring in. Just a few steps away was the Globe Theatre so we went in to find out what was on at the moment. They were sold out for the next couple of days and were performing Hamlet, The Winter's Tale and As You Like It.
From there we crossed the Thames on Blackfriars' Bridge and went to Mansion House Tube Station. We had walked for several hours and I was flagging. We went to Leicester Square and then along Charing Cross Road. Our first activity when arriving in London, is always to trawl
the bookshops. So we stopped at a couple of second-hand places and then went into Foyles which is a six storey store filled with wonderful books. We found a few there and then stopped at a Thai restaurant in Greek St , Soho for lunch. The Patara was great with a lunch menu of two courses costing only 13-50 UK . Spicy and delicious. From there it was a walk up Oxford Street and then the Tube to Picadilly. There we went to Waterstone's and Hatchard's where more books were purchased. After this successful sortie we were both very tired so it was back on the Tube to Vauxhall Station and then a short walk along Albert Embankment. We halted at The Rose, a small pub , for a welcome beer as the sun had broken through and it was very warm. Then it was a stroll back to our hotel.
It had been a very long day so we opted to have dinner at the hotel's restaurant, Chino Latino. This proved to be a good choice. The food was a fusion of Asian and South American so we had a very seafood packed ceviche followed by "small dishes"
The houses of Parliament
of dumplings, crispy duck pancakes and beef skewers. Very sated we retired to our room to finish the Pinot Grigio from dinner. I was falling asleep about 9pm so it was off to th Land of Nod for me!!!.
Tot: 3.176s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 11; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0481s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.5mb