17-20 March 2011: Paris, France

Well today we are catching the Eurostar to Paris.  We arrive at Kings Cross St. Pancras with plenty of time and buy some snacks for the train, go through check in, whizz through security and Scott has his passport stamped with no fuss or problems – this is so much easier than the airport.  Unfortunately we thought it would all take a bit longer, so now have about an hour to wait for the train.  There are several trains heading out of London tonight – Brussels, Lille and Paris, so the terminal is busy with people milling around.  The building is gorgeous, however, the refit for the Eurostar has tried to make it very minimalist with furniture and stupidly no rubbish bins, so of course, rubbish is strewn everywhere with staff just milling around doing nothing.  There isn’t a lot going on until an american man comes running in trying to catch the train to Brussels which is just departing and is mightly upset they won’t stop the train for him.  The fact the ticket tells you to get to the station with 40 minutes to spare obviously doesn’t apply to some people.

17 March 2011
St. Pancras Train Station gearing up for the 2012 Olympics
St. Pancras Train Station gearing up for the 2012 Olympics

Finally the train is ready to board and we get our seats easily with minimal of fuss.  Only problem is that they are near the door which is constantly being opened and closed as people wander up and down the train.  As the windows are tinted you also can’t take pictures.  Not that there is must to take pictures of we you litteraly whizz by the countryside before going into the tunnel.  When we pop out into the French countryside it is starting to get dark, so we settle down, eat our sandwiches and read our book.  Before you know it you are in Gare du Nord, Paris.  Now comes for the fun bit – the announcement is made – no smoking within the train station, unfortunately that doesn’t count for all the smokers who now block the exits of the train as they are busy lighting up.  I understand it is an addiction, but honestly have some consideration for other people.

We find the ATM and get some Euros.  I think we really need to be a bit more prepared and travel with some currency for the countries we are going too.  We then stand in the huge taxi rank for what seemed like a lifetime.  Of course I have everything, but a map that shows me how close the hotel is to the train station.  So when we get in a taxi, the taxi driver is extremely unhappy and rude about the short distance to go.  Luckily when we get to the hotel, the staff are wonderful, very helpful and have everything all ready (Hotel Pavillon Opera Lafayette).  We drop our bags off.  The room isn’t very big nor that flash, but has a bed, shower and a window to watch the world go by from, but as we don’t plan on staying in, it is well situated to all the sites.  We ventured into Montmartre and find a little restaurant for dinner  (Le Carrousel on Rue de Rivoli) where I had a huge salad full of beans, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots etc and Scott had French Onion Soup.  Full and happy after having some of the local French wine, we wandered back through the streets taking in the views of Sacre Coeur before calling it a night.

18 March 2011

Well today looks relatively sunny, so we have the continental breakfast of coffee and croissants before heading out to do the sites.  We have a huge day planned.  We set-off into the quite streets of Paris and head down towards Notre Dame, which obviously we soon realise we have got wrong and actually end up at the Louvre.  It is only 10am and already there is a huge queue, so decide to bite the bullet and start queueing, which is moving slowly, mainly held up by the security procedures you have to go through.  Strangely enough they didn’t even ask us about our full water bottle, so not sure how rigid they are. 

The Louvre
The Louvre

Inside the Louvre we then need to queue up for tickets which is all automated and isn’t particularly user friendly, but we eventually get two tickets out of the machine and then head to the first lot of galleries.   The Egyptian displays.  Always on my bucket list is a visit to Egypt, but we want to let the recent turmoil settle down a bit, so instead here we are in the museum which has a good display (lacking some of the big items that the British Museum has) and we also realised in hindsight that we didn’t get the audio display and absolutely nothing is in English.  Still we can decipher enough to keep us happy and even better you are allowed to take photos here – not meant to use a flash, but that doesn’t seem to be policied in anyway.  What you can’t do is touch the displays which some people don’t seem to get.  We eventually came out of into an older part of the Louvre where the building is by far the star of the show.  The ceilings and adornments are so much you can’t focus and end up walking around trying to look up, down and sideways. 

Pictures don't do it justice - but this is one of the ceilings in The Louvre
Pictures do not do it justice, but this is a ceiling in the old part of the Louvre

Of course the next big item on the list to see is the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci.  He has a few paintings in the Louvre, but this must surely be the star attraction – it is like a rugby scrum to get a picture.  Scott took pictures instead of people taking pictures of the painting.  I don’t think most people were that interest in the actual painting, just having a picture of themselves taken.

Realistically who is going to get a decent photo - better to buy a postcard.
Realistically who is going to get a decent photo - better to buy a postcard.

We continued walking through the museum, but Scott was getting picture/art etc overload.  Not his strong point, so we decided to venture back outside.  We were now extremely pleased we had gone in earlier as the queues were massive and snaking all around the entrance.  If you are planning on visiting the museums etc here in Paris make sure you get here early.

Next we walked to Notre Dame Cathedral which is a beautiful building and also home of the myth of Quasimodo – well Scott thought it was a myth, but I was still undecided if there was some truth to it.  We walked around the outside of the building as the queue again was down the whole length of one side.  I do find a lot of churchs you can’t take photos etc, so admiring the architecture from the outside can be a whole different perspective, plus you get to study (or stare) at people.

Notre Dam - the home of Quasimodo
Notre Dame - the home of Quasimodo

After this visit we walked back along the Seine and stopped at a small cafe for lunch.  My waiter was very upset I was vegetarian, but Scott made up with it by ordering duck and a bottle of wine.  My omelette and salad were lovely, so tasty and interesting.  Scott seemed to thoroughly enjoy his meal almost licking the plate clean. 

So happily stuffed we hit the road again.  This time it was the walk up the Champs Elysees, where Scott was planning where he would be standing on the last day of the the Tour De France. 

Avenue des Champs Elysees.  The finishing line for the Tour de France.
Avenue des Champs Elysees. The finishing line for the Tour de France.

This is a long street full of loads of shops, which are no different these days to anywhere else we have been in the world.  What is different is the amount of homeless and beggars – they are much more prolific than even India, plus they just beg and the item of choice to beg with is a dog.  It is sad and you do wonder about their life and how they ended up here.  A lot of people looked like they were immigrants and it is hard for me to comprehend that their life in their home country could be much worse than living on the streets of Paris in the winter.  I know a lot of European countries are having financial problems, but there must be alternatives somewhere for people.

At the end of the Champs Elysees is the Arc de Triomphe.  Scott did wonder that France would need it for due to their recent battles in history, but it was obviously for Napoleon and before, although my history is a bit limited.

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe

Walking back to the hotel we stopped for a quick fortifying red wine (Medoc and Bordeaux) at La Tour D’Auvergne on Rue Des Martyres which was a great spot, inside and warm, to watch the world go back and everybody shopping at the tiny little food stores along this part of the street.

I have to say after all this walking, eating and drinking we are feeling a tad tired, so start the long trek back to Montmatre and the possibility of a very short afternoon nap.  Besides it was getting cold and as usual we were underprepared with hats, gloves and jumpers in the hotel keeping nice and safe.  After a super short nap we were up and rugged up ready to hit the streets of Paris at nighttime and get to see some of the sites in a different perspective.  However, in the short time we had a snooze it had begun to rain.  That wasn’t in my plan of sightseeing in Paris.  Luckily after living in London for the last few months, we now carry umbrellas with us wherever we go.  We still decide to head out and find another local restaurant (Le Paprike on Avenue Trudaine) that served French/Hungarian food.  I had a delicious mushroom risotto and Scott had hungarian goulash along with a lovely bottle of Bordeaux AOC, just the thing to take away the rainy blues.  The restaurant had a constant turnover of people and it was fascinating to sit there and watch all the different types.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of tourists, mainly french people.  The same for our hotel, we were the only English people for breakfast that we noticed, everyone else either spoke very good fluent French or were French themselves.  So fortified with wine and food we made a dash for the very seedy district surrounding the Moulin Rouge.  This is reminiscent of Kings Cross, but sadly even more tacky, if that is possible.  We ended up the night standing in the rain taking photos before giving up.

Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge

19 March 2011

Another early start with a croissant and coffee, ready to cover the other side of the Seine and some more sights.  So today we headed up first to the Musee D’Orsay which is a magnificent building housing the impressionist era paintings.  We usual there was a queue, which moved very slowly even in the ice cold freezing weather.  The security here was a lot slower (only two people checking bags), before we got our tickets and were toasty and warm inside the art gallery.  Disappointingly you can’t take photos inside the Musee, which is a shame as the building inside is so impressive and outside it is under renovations.  However, I spent another few hours dragging Scott from one Monet, Manet, Degas, Rodin, Seurat, Gauguin, Pissarro, Sisley etc until he looked like he was going to collapse with boredom.  He it totally nonplussed with art, although did begrudgingly say he liked one of the Monet’s.  So we re-rugged up and headed back outside.  This time with the Eiffel Tower in our sights.

The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace

We walked along the Seine past the Grand Palace which is a huge glass conservatory building flanked and surrounded by columns of gold statues, amazingly intricate light poles and any and every other type of ornaments you can think of to decorate the bridges, statues and columns.  Scott did think it was probably a good thing the revolution happened as the profligate spending must have been crippling for those who weren’t in the royal family or their mates.

There is sometimes no end to the decorations you can put on a lamppost.
There is sometimes no end to the decorations you can put on a lamppost.

You may think that Paris is all relatively old architecture designed by Haussman in the last century, but there is actually some new and very interesting designs.  Around the corner from the Eiffel Tower is a large green building, with vertical green walls which is also attached to a large conservatory/greenhouse that houses  a restaurant.  Not sure how the plants survive the cold, but it seems to be thriving and does not look out of place amongst the classical architecture of previous times. 

The new and the old
The new and the old

Finally we made it to the foot of the Eiffel Tower.  Scott was disappointed, it was much smaller than he thought, but the intricate work within the building is fantastic.  We decided not to go up, as it is now very cloudy and bitterly cold, so you can’t see much, the queues are horrendous and we were starving.  All good motives for moving on to the park behind the Eiffel Tower and taking in the views from a distance out of the wind. 

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower

We found a lovely restaurant around the corner where we soon bunkered down to thaw out and watch the world go by – a fantastic passtime that I love.  Unfortunately the table next to us was soon taken over by an American family who eventually decided there was nothing on the menu at all they could eat, so they were off to McDonalds – honestly what can you say about people who won’t try the local food.  We have hated that in lots of countries, isn’t the point of travelling to experience the local culture and cuisine.  If you can’t or don’t want to, stay at home and let us keep it to ourselves.  Anyway after a moan about rude westerners we decided to head off, taking a longer route back to the hotel which would take us up through the smaller parts and side streets in A 2e.  Although we stopped along the way for Scott to make sure he knew where he wanted to be for the final stage of the Tour De France.

Scott has his place for Le Tour already marked
Scott has his place for Le Tour already marked
The fountain at the start of the Champs Elysees
The fountain at the start of the Champs Elysees
Of course while Scott was making sure and checking he would be able to see the riders, I was busy looking at some of the architecture.  Even the lampposts have the most beautiful engravings and moldings, you forget that they themselves are a piece of history and architecture – and even better they have not been vandalised as would happen in some many places.
Lightpost
Lightpost
Beautiful copper and gold engravings and moldings
Beautiful copper and gold engravings and moldings
A view from the Fountain to the Eiffel Tower
A view from the Fountain to the Eiffel Tower
Walking back towards the hotel you are aware of the hold that Sacre Coeur has on the city, it towers above everything and all streets seem to hold a view of even a small part of it.  I do think Paris should be renamed city of churches as there are so many and they are huge.
A view of Sacre Coeur on the way to the hotel.
A view of Sacre Coeur on the way to the hotel.
After a small sojourn into a local fromagerie for a small sample of cheeses and wine – you have to, it would be rude.  We stopped at the pub near the hotel for Scott to watch the Italy vs Scotland 6 Nations Rugby game.  This is a tiny pub and the highlight being two chickens who roam through the bar/main eating area.  This is strange and not sure how it would go in Perth in relation to food hygiene, but it was funny.  Of course unlike our chickens these ones didn’t poop everywhere and were extremely tame and interested mainly in what was going on outside the window in the street. 
Yes there are chickens in the pub
Yes there are chickens in the pub
After game number one of the day, we headed back out to a different pub to watch the final two games on the 6 Nations where we managed to have something to eat/drink and enjoy the local vibe.  We won’t talk about the game as it was not the best outcome for England. 
Tonight it is meant to be a full moon and also the closest it has been to earth for a while, unfortunately it is also cloudy and we caught the smallest glimpse.  However, we still went up to Sacre Coeur for some night time photos.  The front of the Basilica was full of music and groups of people – all watched over carefully by the local army with their machine guns.  Inside the church it is meant to be silence, but people can’t even follow that simple rule.  You can’t take photos inside, but the main pulpit area is a huge painting of Jesus in blue and gold and surrounding that are what look like paintings, but are in fact mosaics.  The main noise in the Basilica does unfortunately come from the donations machine which is somewhat like a slot machine.
Sacre Coeur at night
Sacre Coeur at night
So after walking to the top, we of course walked down past the buskers and a million little stalls selling the same extremely tacky Eiffel Tower ornaments – must get one of those.
20 March 2011
Last day in our flying weekend to Paris.  So we got up and had the traditional coffee and packed our little daypacks and hit the streets.  Not before Scott was able to watch the world go by our local Patisserie and buy a baguette.
It would be rude not to have a baguette
It would be rude not to have a baguette
We decided this morning to go to some of the local markets.  There seems to be one in every suburb and we wondered what they would be like.  In addition to market stalls, the shops also have extended areas where they put out different items.  These strawberries looked amazing and we tried one and they were so juicy and tasty – nothing like the strawberries at home that tend to taste of nothing.
Yes they are as good as they look
Yes they are as good as they look
There is also a huge range of heirloom varieties on sale.  The prices, however, off all items seemed to be expensive but the variety is fantastic and there was no shortage of people at both markets we went to.
Not your usual varieties of fruit and veg at Parisien markets
Not your usual varieties of fruit and veg at Parisien markets
Just to remind ourselves that it was springtime in Paris, we visited some lovely gardens.  Paris has a lot of concrete and built areas, but the parks we wanted through were well keps and full of flowers.
Just to remind ourselves it is spring
Just to remind ourselves it is spring
Blossoms and flowers everywhere
Blossoms and flowers everywhere
Decided to visit another market and the last two monuments on our list we also ventured by the Pompidou centre that houses a large museum/art gallery, as usual, although it was early on a Sunday morning, the queues were already snaking around the building, with people patiently eating pastries and drinking coffee until it opened and they could venture inside.
Pompidou Centre
Pompidou Centre
The Bastile Monument is in a horrible part of town, although it appears to be one of the older parts of town, you are inundated yet again by the amount of homeless people and beggars.  However, this area also houses a huge open air market that was packed to overflowing and if you can’t buy it here, I doubt whether you can buy it anywhere.
Bastile Monument
Bastile Monument
We enjoyed our coffee in a sidewalk cafe where you just sit and watch everyone going by.  Of course if you are going by you are stared at as well.  There didn’t seem to be any restrictions where you can sit, as a lot of the roads were blocked off to cars, they were only busy with pedestrains and cyclists, so you weren’t dying of fumes.
Drinking coffee on the sidewalks
Drinking coffee on the sidewalks
Our last main monument was the Republique monument celebrating the creation of the French Republic (different to the Bastille Monument).  This was again surrounded by the prerequisite beggars with dogs and variety of homeless people.
Republic Monument
Republic Monument
We found our way to Gard du Nord and had a lovely lunch at La Maison Blanche, including a bottle of very good wine (Bordeaux) – not that we haven’t had anything else other than good wine, but it certainly helped us face the journey back to London.  We then headed into the terminal to board the Eurostar train back to London.  A fantastic weekend away and made all the better that they let Scott back into the UK with only a couple of questions.  Maybe the rude immigration officers at Heathrow should take note.

1-16 March 2011: London, Bath, Hampshire, Windsor

1-3 March 2011

Not much happening this week, we have decided to actually spend a few nights in and relax.  Besides as usual the weather is pretty ordinary and we have a few busy weeks coming up.  We did manage to go out for a few walks as the trees are certainly starting to change in the area with a lot more greenery appearing, making it actually really lovely.

On the Thames Path.
On the Thames Path.

4 March 2011

I have taken the day off, so we head to The Bulls Head for a late lunch and a walk around the area and  just some general sightseeing and nosey parker looking in people’s windows of their houses.   Luckily there are two ways to the pub, as the way we usually walk along the river is now flooded over with the spring tides.

A bit too deep even for wellies!
A bit too deep even for wellies!

This makes a real change as only earlier in the day we were able to actually walk along the Thames riverbank.  The tides here are phenomenal and fast changing.  Of course it may be spring time ish, we are still rugged up wherever we go.

Thames riverbank
Thames riverbank

5 March 2011:  Richmond

The weather is relatively nice, so we walk to Richmond, which is the next town on the river.  It was a lovely walk past Kew Gardens and we then walked along the river in Richmond and having a good look around and enjoying the busy streets, cafes, pubs etc.  This is definately a lovely area and we will be back when it is sunny, so we can take advantage of the lovely weather overlooking The Thames.  Of course it starts to get a bit grey and cloudy so we take a bus back home.  We had  taken advantage of a free TasteCard a while ago and decided to use it tonight and go out somewhere nice.  However, after 4 restaurants, we had almost given up of getting a table anywhere, when we call a local pub which did have a table.  The gastropub “El Bullo” is in Chiswick and was a lovely pub, the food was good, there was a great mix of clientele and we got talking to a few people and ended up having a thoroughly enjoyable meal.  However, the cold walk home was a tad sobering.

6 March 2011

Cold, wet and miserable – groan.  Not really conducive to going for a walk or doing much, so we had a lazy day and headed to the Coach & Horses for our usual Sunday lunch. 

It is a nice walk everywhere we go near us.
It is a nice walk everywhere we go near us.

Today we were not alone, half of London was there, so we could not get our usual table.  Still the food was good and Scott is really enjoying the variety of bitters.

7-10 March 2011:  Bulgaria

I am yet again in Bulgaria and Scott is keeping the home fires burning in London.  Again Sofia is cold and snowy, however, it starts to warm up and I even get out of the office and head out to some of the restaurants etc.  The weather is definately bringing people out and Sofia seems to be a totally different places to previous visits. 

11 March 2011

Scott is meeting me at Heathrow as we are picking up a hire car to get out of London.  Of course, best laid plans and all – both Scott and my mobiles ran out of credit at the same time and Heathrow Terminal 5 is not the place to realise you don’t have a back-up plan.  However, as I was wandering around aimlessly wondering what on earth I would do, when in front of me appeared a madman in a red hat – whew, I had been found amongst all the chaos.  We picked up our hire car – Ford Feista Zetec and once we got over the shock of actually driving again – it has been a couple of months, we head back to our apartment via the supermarket for some food.  The car is fairly basic, what you would expect from a Ford, but it has a bit of get up and go so driving into the country tomorrow should be great.  I am absolutely shattered after my week away, so Scott has done a home cooked meal and glass of wine, so I put my feet up and got pampered, maybe I should go away more often.

12 March 2011:  Bath and Hampshire

We are catching up with some very old friends (Sally and Pete) this afternoon, but in the meantime decide to head off to Bath to see some of the sights.  We we plug in the GPS (how would we be without them these days) and head to this beautiful historic roman town.  Sadly we weren’t the only ones, but managed to find a parking space, locate the tourist office for a map and put our walking shoes on.

We head into the main square which houses the Roman Baths, Pump Room and Bath Abbey.  There are queues and queus of tourists everywhere.  We are presuming that the slightest glimmer of sunshine brings everyone outdoors.  So walk through the crowds into the backstreets to get some photos of the roman architecture.  We walk up the pedestrian malls towards the Royal Crescent and the Royal Victoria Park which is quieter.  The Georgian architecture is still very much a huge presence here, can only imagine it is impossible to do anything to the facades, but having a sticky beak through the windows you can see a lot have been completely modified inside.   

It is certainly a beautiful city and we walked through all the back streets admiring the architecture.  You can only imagine what it would have been like during Victorian times before automobiles and tourists such as ourselves and of course the ever present open tour buses that like to stop just in front of where you want to take a photo. 

British by the Air exhibition in the background - fantastic.
British by the Air exhibition in the background - fantastic.

There is a great exhibition through the streets called “Britain from the Air” which gives you a different perspective of Britain and how fantastic and varied it is for such a small island. 

We find a tiny little pub that is downstairs and although tiny managed to do lunches, drinks and even space for what seems like a constantly moving clientele.  We then continue walking back towards the main part.  We will definately be coming back to partake of the spa baths during the summer months.  We follow the River Avon along to see the Pulteney Bridge which is beautiful.

We get back in the car and head to Yateley in Hampshire, which is not far from the Duke of Wellington’s home.  Sally and Pete are playing our hosts and quickly get Scott in front of the huge TV to watch the rugby.  Francesca, their fantastic chef – waitress (and their daughter) makes a fantastic three course meal and I spend the night laughing and being entertained as Francesca can also play the piano as well as sing and dance.  We hate people who are so talented.  Nevertheless we have a great night and I haven’t laughed so much for ages.

13 March 2011:  Hampshire and Windsor

Yet more food, with a lovely prepared breakfast while Scott gives James (their eldest son) who is off to Australia for a debating competition some camera assistance.  Scott isn’t feeling very well today, so at lunchtime we head off via the royal town of Windsor.  We found a parking bay for 30 minutes, so do a whirlwind tour of the outside of the castle and a couple of streets. 

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle

After the beautiful day in Bath yesterday, today is absolutely freezing, so we give up and head home.  Just in time for Scott to watch England v Scotland in the rugby – I am sure he is planning everything to fit in with the 6 Nations.  Having a car has been great, but in London it is so impractical where everything is within walking/public transport or can be delivered to you.

14-16 March 2011

A quite week is planned as we are off to Paris on Thursday.  So we stay in and relax, with the exception of Wednesday night when we head out to The Bulls Head for a drink and some dinner.  We met some fantastic local people, who have given us some great tips for the Oxford/Cambridge boat race happening next week.

21-28 February 2011: London, Bulgaria, Oxford

21-24 February 2011:  Bulgaria and Oxford

Another week in Bulgaria for Tracy, so Scott is left to his devices in London where he is running and running and more running – not from me, whew, but in an effort to get fit and there is a running track of sorts where we lived (Thames Path).  So although it is cold, wet and sometimes muddy it is an interesting run.  Meanwhile back in Bulgaria, it is snowy, freezing and even colder.   I cannot believe how cold it gets outside.  However, in the office, each morning someone has cranked up the heating to about 30 degrees which is unbelievable. 

On Monday Scott headed to to listen to a lecture at Oxford University in relation to Radiation and whether the hype and fear can be overcome in our lifetime.  So he made a dash from home in Chiswick all the way to  Oxford and back in an evening – very committed to the environmental discussion cause and very happy I as he got me the book and took lots of notes.  I am not in favour of nuclear energy, but realise we have to do something different as nobody is willing to adjust their lifestyle or reduce consumption, in fact it is ever increasing and although renewable energy is a feel good source of energy, unless storage is addressed, it isn’t a permanent answer.

25 February 2011:  Natural History Museum

I am flying back to London and get home, change clothes and head straight out to the monthly Friday night drinks at the Natural History Museum and debate with Scott.  We really love this place for something different – you can have drinks, see the museum and engage in a debate with people who are interested in similar events.  Definately one for your diaries if you are in London.  Although after a week of working away, I am totally exhausted and pleased to get into my own bed at the end of the day.

26 February 2011

Well although the weather might be a bit warmer in London, it is also wet.  What is new, our new saying is that if it isn’t raining, it soon will be.  Miserable – no idea why people live here.  So we are trapped in the house deciding what to do when the weather breaks – yes it has stopped raining, so we take advantage and head up to Chiswick High Street for some shopping and the obligatory visit to the bookstore, if only I had a whole container to bring back to Australia, books are so cheap here, it is fantastic. 

Before you know it, it starts raining again, so we pop into the Bow Marley Pub to watch the beginning of the Rugby and end up staying for the game and way too many drinks.  The atmosphere was fantastic, especially with the result going England’s way.  Scott had a great time – he is loving the Rugby here, not just because it is great to go and see the game at a proper rugby ground, but the pubs are interesting.

27 February 2011: Kew Gardens

The weather is nice, sunny even, although freezing.  So we take advantage of the free entry to Kew Gardens for WorleyParsons employees, and wander across the river and into the park.  Obviously it must be spring as the daffodils are in bloom everywhere, someone obviously forgot to tell the weather though. 

London in the springtime and there is even a glimpse of blue sky.
London in the springtime and there is even a glimpse of blue sky.

As usual we headed out without a jumper as we were so excited it was sunny.  So we had a cold walk walk through the park, which is very interesting and full of different perspectives.  Some of the trees are just huge and beautiful. 

Majestic trees.
Majestic trees.

During Victorian times, botanists were obviously flavour of the times with the amount of flora that was brought back from the English travels abroad. 

Huge conversatories are packed full of tropical plants
Huge conversatories are packed full of tropical plants

This has resulted in an extremely diverse variety of plants in addition to the beautiful buildings, conservatories and water features.  The art within the park is also interesting, using natural materials. 

Park Art.
Park Art.

We particularly enjoyed the Bamboo Garden, getting some ideas for a new part of our garden at home.  Also very impressed with the art made from natural materials, again lots of ideas for home – we are of course missing having our own garden, so can only dream.  Eventually the cold weather got to us and we headed out, walking past a family who were telling their young child to try and catch the shadow – Scott thought this was funny as it was probably the first time the child had seen a shadow due to the overcast and gloomy weather.

After our walk, we yet again undid the good work and headed to the Coach & Horses for the obligatory Sunday lunch, pint and paper.  Again it was packed, lovely and warm and a nice way to while away the afternoon.

28 February 2011

After work we did a quick trip to Wesfield, Shepherds Bus, via the worlds slowest bus trip.  We are both convinced that we could have walked there quicker, which is saying much as I am a slow walker.  Anyway we were there to try and get an iPhone cover that Scott could put on his arm, but alas, there seems to be a million of them and none of them offer any waterproof protection for the iPhone and I think it is a bit of an expensive item to let it get wet considering the weather here.  After shopping we visited Wahaca which is a street food mexican restaurant.  Alas it was a very westernised style of mexican food and we were disappointed.  I have no idea why westernised food ideals should dictate such huge changes in a cultures food styles.  So after a disappointing meal we headed back home.