Martin's Blog

from a Slovenian living in Bromyard

Tag: London

London visit – day 4 of 4

A shark in the big tank in the London Aquarium

A shark in the big tank in the London Aquarium

Not feeling very well in the morning of the last day, this cold has been getting the better of me and running around London does not help it getting any better. Drugging-up with anti-inflammatories not helped either.

The London Eye - close to the top

The London Eye – close to the top

First port of call was the London eye I booked the previous day on-line. Looks amazing when standing underneath it and the views of London once you are right at the very top are stunning. Wasn’t really sure how they get people on and off – I thought they had to keep on starting and stopping the whole wheel but in fact it just keeps on moving all the time at about 1 km/h and you have to be quick to get on and off. The whole trip takes about 30 minutes. There are two positions in each capsule – if you stand there you can get an automatic picture taken of you at the end of the ride.

Right next to the London eye is the very good London Aquarium. The smaller fish tanks are only a prelude to the absolutely amazing large tank – it is very enormous. You see it from different angles, from walking underneath it – or more like through a tunnel, then at the side of it higher up and even right on top of it with the sharks and like swimming beneath your feet.

After that was a quick jump to Regent street to visit the Apple store to buy some headphones for my iPod. The show is very big and needles to say it was packed – I guess there will be a lot of their gadgets under the tree this Christmas.

If you are in Southwark and close to Bermondsey street I would definitely advise to have a lunch at the Village Deli at the corner with Tanner street. It was on the way from the London Bridge tube station and the apartment I was staying at. I tried their chicken wrap and it was delicious.
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London visit – day 3 of 4

cabinet_war_rooms

The Cabinet War Rooms

I started the day a bit more relaxing by taking a slow breakfast at the local Starbucks at London Bridge station opposite Guy’s Hospital. A friend told me I had to try the frappucino and their panninis. The guy at the counter asked me twice if I was sure about the frappucino? It is apparently and ice-cold drink and it was the middle of December plus I was bearing a very deep and cold-ridden voice so I wisely opted for a warmer beverage – in this case for a mocha.

After that I hit the museums – the Natural history museum was the first. It is housed in a spectacular old building but I quickly got tired of all the crowds and annoying kids. I also got tired of all the dead animals – I remember looking at the stuffed brown bear display thinking – I could see a live one in many countries in Europe.Quite spectacular war the dinosaur skeletons and the robotic T-rex. I was professionally interested in the bones of an Iguanodon that was showing signs of osteoarthritis – a common degenerative disease I see in my patients today. Also there was a display showing an old fracture of the pelvic bone that healed with secondary intention.

The guide from the Fat Tyre bike tour recommended a visit to the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms so that was my second stop. If I understood correctly after the 2nd World War finished in 1945 they simply turned off the lights and locked the doors and left the place untouched until the eighties. Again, as far as I understand, they then just dusted the place, puts some mannequins in to make the whole thing a bit more realistic and opened it to the public. The whole place has that very authentic feel to it. There were also very few people there and the tour was absolutely great – I strongly recommend it. You also get to see a VERY comprehensive Churchill museum. Don’t miss the Churchill’s history timeline and make sure to remember some of his quotes. They make a good joke.

After that I went for a quick drink at the local heavy metal bar called the Intrepid Fox in Soho and after that for an authentic chinese takeway in, where else, Chinatown.

Still bearing the cold at the time I was absolutely exhausted. Time out!
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London visit – day 2 of 4

fat_tyre_bike_tour

After only sleeping a few hours as I only went to bed at 4 am as a consequence from the previous night’s walkabout London I had a Fat Tyre bike tour planned for the Saturday morning. The tour takes place on bicycles you get from the tour company and it starts at 11am just outside the Queensway underground station. Its a great way to see the city as you can see different parts of it without walking large distances. It also enables to see the sights in a more natural “linear” fashion. A lot of tourists will use the underground to see London and the problem with that is that you keep on popping up in different parts of the town without ever getting a true feeling of what the whole place looks like.

John Rutter Christmas celebration presented by the The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and held at the Royal Albert hallThe tour itself was brilliant and the weather was really on our side, quite warm for December and with clear blue skies. The tour was fun however it just wasn’t as fun as the one I had in Berlin but that was down to the very funny and cool guide they had there.

After the tour I did a bit of shop scouting on Oxford street and then headed to the apartment I was renting for the duration of my visit. In the evening I headed for the John Rutter Christmas celebration presented by the The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and held at the Royal Albert hall. I almost regretted it as I was almost singlehandedly lowering the average age by quite a bit.

See full photo gallery from the trip here.
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London visit – day 1 of 4

I soon realised my satnav is going to make me drive down the M4 right into the centre of London – no ifs or butts. Wasn’t that bad really, all I had to do is to imagine I was driving downtown Ljubljana – just on a much bigger scale. And it really went very well except at the very end one of the roads was closed and I had to make up a detour on my own – only to get myself even more stuck into the dreaded London rush-hour traffic jams.

thecomedystoreIn the evening I met up with a vet friend and after that went to the midnight session at the Comedy store near Leicester square. First two acts were quite good (the second one was Steve Hughes), then followed a intermission. After that a chap came on that wasn’t so good but the crowd got really nasty and booed him off. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Although it was clear this was not his night I felt quite sorry for him. Then came an older gentleman that we later found out was a quick replacement for the show. He was so bad, he was actually cool – full off jokes that in most cases would be more suitable for an OAP venue.

During his act a fight broke out, but all I could see was a bunch of security personnel trying to restrain the guy. The last act was a very funny and very good Canadian Tom Stade.

The show ended at about half past two in the morning. Of course all the underground trains do not operate then so I tried getting a taxi – tough as well as they all seemed to be very busy. So I did what I do best  – relied on myself and walked: from Leicester square to just south of the Tower bridge. Took me about 60 minutes and I didn’t get knifed or attacked in any way. Went to bed at about 4am.

During my walk I found a great Christmas scene. As I was crossing the Millennium bridge southward i turned back and saw a big beautiful Christmas tree in the distance with the St. Pauls Cathedral as a backdrop. The tree was decorated with many bright lighs and many of them were randomly flickering – almost like some kind of a strobe effect. Couldn’t take a photo as my camera just wouldn’t pick it up as it should be seen.

My visit to London was also a good opportunity to use my iPhone to help navigate round the many streets of London. The first evening I was shown how I should really have the iPhone 3G S instead of the 3G I actually have. The problem was actually orientating myself in regards to the map. It will show you on the map where you are and perhaps where you need to go to but not actually how to get there – at least not very well. The 3G one does not have a compass and as the phone boxes don’t have moss growing on them on the north side I had a no way of determining where north and south was!

See the photo gallery from the whole trip here.
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Slovenia, November 2007

Although this time I flew instead of drove to Lubljana it still seemed like it took ages, well in fact from the minute I set of from Johnston it was 8.45 AM and it was 8,45 PM when I arrived in Ljubljana, well Gradišče, to be more precise. So it took 12 hours to get here.
There were quite a few traffic jams to deal with and the morning rush hour in Haverfordwest added at least half hour to my journey. The other big delay was on the M25 (duhh).
Then the plane was delayed as there was something wrong with one of the fron wheels and it had to be replaced.
The weather here is a bit colder than in Pembrokeshire and not snowy as it was predicted. Weather aside I realy look forward to meet some of my friends here, especially those I didn’t get to see the last time I was here, in September.

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