London for Chinese Visas

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October 19th 2007
Published: October 19th 2007
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A bit briskA bit briskA bit brisk

When we left home it was 2 degrees. Judy knew how to rug up!
Friday 19th October

Today our destination was London so that we may obtain visas to enter China in January. We tried to get these in Australia but were told they could only be obtained 3 months beforehand. What a pain!

We arrived at the embassy at 10am after driving for about an hour to Blackhorse Rd station (great names they have here) and then catching the tube into London. Thanks to the detailed instructions Peter had written we found the station, only having to correct our lane position quickly on 2 occasions to keep on the right trail.

The line into the embassy was about 50m long when we got there, Rags, who hates queuing, almost tossed in the idea of going to China there and then.

After about 20 mins without the line moving, he left Judy and went nearby to see about a collapsible bike he had seen advertised. The bike was most impressive but at a cost of A$700 he couldn't justify the cost, both to Judy or himself.

By the time he returned Judy had made her way to the entrance of the embassy and was getting a little worried as she
The sun came out!The sun came out!The sun came out!

And when it did the Tower of London looked great!
didn't have the documents. All went well from then on and we were told to pick the visas up after next Wednesday. This should fit in with our plans as we want to return and explore London some more.

Judy had spoken to a couple of Australians in the queue whilst Rags was away and they told her of a guided walking tour from the Monument. We made our way there by train, getting there about 30 mins before the tour, This gave us time to have lunch and walk around the nearby Thames. We walked across London Bridge, along the banks of the river past the Tower Bridge, taking in some of the sights we saw in 2002. Things have really changed here, or our memories have failed, as we found it difficult to recognise some of the landmarks. On getting home we used good old Google and found it was our memory, the London Eye being further upstream. This will be our next destination when we return next week.

Judy found Petticoat Lane in her notes, so off we went. Bit like any other street market but she did manage to find some glitzy stage jewelry
Tower Bridge opened upTower Bridge opened upTower Bridge opened up

All the traffic stopped when this large yacht went under the bridge.
to take home.

Spitalfields was the name of the area the markets were in and Judy believes some of her ancestors lived here.

Rather than returning to a tube station and going back to where the car was parked, we caught the bus instead, which would take us to Seven Sisters station, where we could then catch the train for the last 2 stops to our station in Walthamstow. This was done so that we could see more of what was around.

The bus was filled with all sorts of people, few of western origin. The suburbs we travelled through had Indian, Pakastani, Turkish, and Hebrew restuarants and shops, reflecting the many races living there. The buildings were old but many weren't cared for.

We arrived home at about 1730, another long, yet interesting day.

Saturday October 20th
Today was a catchup day and a relax. We did a bit of washing, some house cleaning and gardening in the morning before taking off for a walk around Great Bardfield. This ended with some shopping at the local co-op which we had to take home.

There was a wine tasting in the village hall this
Petticoat LanePetticoat LanePetticoat Lane

Judy loved rummaging in Petticoat Lane.
evening so we decided to join in. Wines tasted were Chilean and South African. The compere, Steve, was the previous owner of The Bell pub next door and was quite a character. He was very down to earth as far as the wines were concerned and explained how to judge the wine by colour, smell and finally taste. He made us all take a small sip of wine and then through pursed lips suck in air to get the true flavour. The mouth then had the taste all through it and it lingered in the better wines.
The wines ranged through sav blancs, cab savs, merlots. Interestingly, he mixed the tastings from whites to reds back to whites, the best wines last. South African wines were definitely the better and we found them more like our own.

All was forgotten when the Rugby World Cup started but the initial excitement died very quickly when South Africa took the lead. We left at half time, which was probably just as well, as the game got even worse for England.

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6



Lots of once lovely old homes now seem a little bedraggled.

The market here was undergoing renovation and so was closed. What a shame!

20th October 2007

How very exciting it all sounds ! The pics are great. I was particularly interested in the photo of Walthamstow. If my memory serves me right, that is where my Dad was living when they left for Australia. He used to talk about things in Walthamstow and the hard times they had. So at least one of his ancestors has trodden the ground he thought was sacred !Dad would have been so chuffed to know you were in London. Lots of love

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