Daily Archives: October 2, 2013

Hola España

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So it was time to leave London and head for Spain. I have found the people of London to be very friendly and welcoming. Yes, there is always the odd one out but on the most part I have been treated very nicely by British people, particularly men.

I got up early this morning and repacked, I was very excited about new adventures. Sarah kindly drove me to the station. The train station near her apartment is very well serviced by the London railway system. Which , while we are on the subject, is pretty damn good. Metro trains has a long way to go before they are anywhere near as good as the Parisian or London train system. On London trains there is a toilet on most carriages and a refreshments trolley. Drivers keep you up to date why things are delayed the seats are nice and in general the vibe is good.

The train to Gatwick is easy, the train to the northern terminal is easy, negotiating the terminal is easy. Except for the man in the WHSmith! he is dead keen on upselling. I had three UK stamps left so I bought three postcards and a pen. He said

Would you like to buy a bag with that – Me: no

Would you like a chocolate bar with that- Me :No

If you buy another postcard you will get one free- Me: No I only have three stamps so I only want three cards

I can sell you two stamps so that you can buy a card and get one free- Me: All i want is what I have put in front of you.

But if you buy one more card you get one free-Me: No. I just want what I have put in front of you and now I want a receipt.

A man behind me said “are you Australian?”and I said “why? ’cause i am arguing with the man trying to up sell me?”  Welsh guy: No ’cause your voice goes up and down like a wave.

Apparently, how English people so easily recognise us (Australians) is by our voice modulation. I never realised we had such a pronounced one. It is not the first time that has been said to me during my week in the U.K.  Maybe I over modulate?

Anyway the newsagent man got me in such a sweat I thought I was going to end up on “Border Security” as they search the very sweaty and wound up person’s bags, but no, once again, it was a breeze. I had allowed myself a lot of time to get through Gatwick and thank god I did as the luggage drop off was not a quick process.

I had breakfast at Jamies Italian at Gatwick. It must be where they send all the staff that aren’t quite up to scratch. Really bad service. I would swear, but I swore in the last post.

I had paid 10 GBP to chose my seat on my British Airways flight, the seat I chose was an exit seat and had lots of room but they changed planes at the last minute , so instead of having leg room I had my knees pressed into my chest for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Now I saved 155 GBP by buying my ticket when I did but that does not mean I won’t try and get my 10GBP back. They should just compensate onboard by giving you duty free goods or plying you with alcohol or upgrading you.  Had I not have paid for a specific seat they could have moved me anywhere and I would not have been so annoyed.

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what I could see when Percy wasn't blocking the view.

what I could see when Percy wasn’t blocking the view.

Barcelona airport was very warm, there was not a pay phone in sight and I had to ring the apartment manager. The UK sim didn’t call overseas numbers and I couldn’t get the sim out.  If I could have used a phone I would have got the bus into Barcelona but I needed someone with a phone so I got a taxi. The taxi guy so really nice , let me use his phone, explained things that we were passing,and wouldn’t accept me giving him money for using his phone.

My apartment is amazing! I have the top floor to myself and it has a 50 m2 terrace that has lighting and wifi. Do I have to leave?

Malcolm and Henry ( my cousins) are here as well for a few days so I caught up with them which was lovely.We went to a restaurant with some VERY relaxed service it still had a nice ambience to it. All the boss cared about was the football between the Celtics and Barcelona.

One night in Barcelona and I am already a football fan. How do they do that?

Tomorrow it is off to a market tour/cooking class in the morning. 😀

A few more things done in London

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Today was my last full day in London, I wanted to see some more sights and post some things back to Australia. When I bought souvenirs for my niece and nephew I didn’t take packing into consideration. So 1.3 kilo of stuff is on it’s way back to the land of Australia. Next holiday I will know better. There are a whole lot of things that I will know better next time, but that is what it is all about.

I headed off into the Victoria Square station and got a breakfast burrito. The young man making it must never have tried the hot sauce as he is way too liberal with it. I have a pretty high tolerance to hot,this was close to inedible. I ate it anyway though ;). Then off to the Post Office to send off my stuff. The young lady was very helpful thankfully. I was very close to Buckingham Palace so I thought I would go and have a tour and perhaps a sly gin with M’aam. I entered through an entrance and paid 8.50 GBP not realising it was the entrance to the stables .

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Her big car

Her big car

a gift from Australia to the Queen

a gift from Australia to the Queen

Not sure if 8.50 GBP is really a fair amount for what was on display but there you go. So that was done and dusted fairly quickly. ( 15 minutes including a pretty thorough security search). I went down to the next entrance  ( maybe I should have researched more 😉 ) and there as the Queen’s Gallery that had a display of tudor and stuart clothes.There was a bit of a queue and after the last “exhibition” my restless ways sent me off looking for a hop on hop off bus instead.

I should have got myself on a hop on hop off bus at the start of my week in London. I was on one with a guide that was commentating as you drove along. I learnt little things that I wouldn’t have known had there not been a guide. The other bus I got on just had a recorded guide not so much fun.  A couple of the little bits of trivia I learnt, there are dragon sculptures around London, if they are facing you , you are in the city of London and if they have their backs to you , you are in the city of Westminster. Black cabs are black as when Prince Albert died at the young age of 42 ,Queen Victoria was so consumed by grief that she ordered all the cabs to be painted black. Most of the railings around the city are black as well. If you buy a hop on hop off bus ticket you get lots of discounts around the city. I only want ones that have the real life guide though. The whole thing that they are too touristy is all a state of mind. I am a tourist so go forth and be touristy.

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one of the dragons

one of the dragons

Queen Anne was quite partial to gin

Queen Anne was quite partial to gin

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a squirrel in hyde park for Juzzy

a squirrel in hyde park for Juzzy

don't know what this was but it looked quite majestic.

don’t know what this was but it looked quite majestic.

Princess of Wales memorial fountain.

Princess of Wales memorial fountain.

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for Katha and Celia

for Katha and Celia

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We went to a lovely local pub for dinner that was really yum and went home and had a” couple” of sambuca shots

It was lovely hanging out with Sarah for the week, I am sure the cat she is cat sitting is going to miss shitting me. 😀

Thanks for having me Sarah.