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Published: January 14th 2009
Trafalgar Square and Big Ben
Christmas shopping in the cold!
Christmas in the UK is completely different to the beaches, BBQs, sunscreen and ice cream kind of Christmases that we have always known and loved. It is cold and miserable but does its best to get you in the Christmas spirit with the lights, carols, food and parties that you couldn't really avoid even if you wanted to. Christmas time over here is a lot more about Christmas than it is at home, possibly because everyone in Australia is already excited about summer holidays and the great weather and Christmas is just seen as an bonus. An Irish doctor told Lara that once the Christmas lights come down and everyone has spent all their money the weather becomes "suicidally depressing", which was something to look forward to! So we decided it was best to enjoy the cheer while it lasted!
We did our best to partake in as many Christmassy activities as possible - heading to Winter Wonderland, a market/fair in Hyde Park where we drank mulled wine and ate roasted nuts, saw all the Christmas lights and checked out Harrods. Al is a huge fan of Christmas lights and markets so all these activities went down a treat! He
Al and Lara
Eating roasted chestnuts and having plenty of cups of tea - the only ways to ward off freezing
is compiling a list of the number of markets visited in the attempt to then make Lara go mountain biking again! But it was all necessary to get into the English Christmas spirit!
We also had the inevitable office Christmas parties, lunches, drinks, colds, flus and the winter vomiting virus that all come in the lead up to Christmas! But on New Years Eve we said goodbye to the germ ridden tube and caught the train to Portsmouth and then were ferried over to the Isle of Wight where we spent 3 days with Al's friends from Canberra, the Beck family. They had kindly invited us down to the Isle of Wight for Christmas where they had rented a cottage for the week.
On arrival we visited the Needles, a sandstone formation on the coast. It was bitterly cold and everything had closed for the week but we managed to find a little pub to have some old-fashioned English grub - pies, fish & chips and ploughman's lunches all round.
We had the traditional Christmas fare along with the Beck's family traditional Christmas cocktails, whilst doing puzzles, playing games and eating too much. We also managed to
Christmas fair in Hyde Park
get out and see some of the countryside (hence Lara's random pictures). It was a lovely Christmas break and we managed to make the most of it even though we were so far from our families.
We returned to London two days after Christmas, re-packed our bags and two hours later flew off to Gran Canaria for a week of sunshine!
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