Day 10 Update

So here’s the deal- I went to bed last night utterly buggered due to a very large day. Didn’t sleep, quite excited, it’s 4am and I’m typing.

Yesterday was bicycle around London day, and it was fantastic.

Ok, a slightly inauspicious start when the gear cable on my bike snapped at Buckingham Palace, so a noisey fixed speed cycle it was to be.

Cruised through Kensington Gardens, spotted a palace, then it was off to Little Venice for the first sighting of the canals.

Made it to Lords for the 11am tour. Brilliant. Checked out the famed Long Room, both change rooms, the grand stands and the media centre. Also checked out the real Ashes Urn in the museum. Made it to the gift shop in time to see the final two minutes of the rugby… Straya!

Around the corner was the Beatles Abbey Road pedestrian crossing. Dicked around there and held up traffic some.

Hooked back up with the canals at Regent’s Park and made our way around to the Camden Lock Markets. Wow. What an amazing place! You could go in there with a lot of money, spend a whole day and walk out very happy.

Continued along the canals, before heading back to the River Thames to drop off Madam’s cycle. The weather was mint for a ride, and there was very little traffic on the bits of road we used.

Walked back up to Euston Station, stopping for beer. Dropped the bike off, and continued walking around, back up to Camden. Not ideal for already tired legs…

Quick 30 minute Virgin Train ride back to Milton Keynes. It turned out the cycle wouldn’t disassemble to go in Madam’s car, so I rode back to Newport Panell. Really nice route on some dedicated paths in the forest. Lovely.

Walked into town for a beer and a pint. Excellent day. Off to Silverstone, stay tuned…

Trip Day 10 London

Kensington GardensKensington GardensKensington PalaceKensington PalaceLittle VeniceLittle Venice
Abbey RoadAbbey RoadRegent's CanalPirate CastleCanalCamden Lock Market
Filling StationLondonLondonThe Doric ArchSpewLords
Huh?Camden Lock MarketLordsLordsLordsCamden Lock Market

Trip Day 10 London, a set on Flickr.

Trip Day 9 London

Harrods food hallMeteoriteGreenwichGreenwichGreenwichCaptain Cook
GreenwichGreenwichGreenwichGreenwichTower of LondonTower of London
Tower of LondonTower of LondonTower of LondonTower BridgeTower of LondonBank of England
British MuseumBritish MuseumBritish Museum

Trip Day 9 London, a set on Flickr.

Day 9 Update

Well then. Started the day with a 15 minute train ride to Greenwich. The fact
that it took 45 was mildly annoying. As was the weather, which for most of the
day consisted of precipitation. Anyhoo…

Walked up the hill at Greenwich to the Observatory, checked my watch and stood
in the east and west segments of the world.

Caught the very fast ferry into the Tower of London. I guess I probably should
have purchased a ticket online, because the outdoor queue (in the rain) was
shit. Plus people were buying tickets in the fashion Lenny purchased a pretzel
from the Pretzel Wagon (look it up).

Once inside, I headed over to the line up for the Crown Jewels. Despite the
fact that the queue outside the vault (in the rain) took an hour to clear, the
Jewels were rather brilliant and worth the effort. Had a wander around the rest
of the Tower, but by this stage my enthusiasm was fading fast (due to the
rain), so I couldn’t be bothered lining up for some of the other buildings,
which also featured long non-moving queues in the rain.

Because I am a fan of money, I hiked up to Bank of England and their museum.
Good show, but the most interesting thing was their reasoning of sticking with
paper notes, which essentially boiled down to “because we said so.” Another
annoying thing about English currency is that the notes are too big to fit in
my standard Australian wallet. At least they’ve gone metric…

Next stop was St Paul’s Cathedral. Having seen some fairly hefty churches on
the European continent, they’ve all got nothing on this place. Wowsers.

A quick tube ride later, and I was at the British Museum.

Now I’m a fan of visiting museums, and I’m a nerd for documentaries on the
teev. But this place has ruined all other museums for me forever.

100 out of 10. What a place! Where in an Australian museum there might be a tin
of baked beans from the 1960s, the British Museum has a rather hefty range of
Egyptian mummys. I cannot believe that some of things they have on show are the
genuine article… if you ignored the signs, you could seriously lay hands on
some of these treasures.

By the time I got to the upper levels of the Asian exhibits, my brain was
pretty spent. If you looked closely at everything, and read every description,
you could seriously be there for weeks.

Tubed it over to Harrods to check out the food and wine hall, which makes the
David Jones attempt in Melbourne look like a D grade kids team. Impressive.

Walked back to Piccadilly Circus, stumbled across a bookstore called
Waterstones, whose range made Autobooks (the leading London motoring bookshop)
look a bit average. Resisted the urge to put myself massively into debt, but if
I’m still cashed up on Monday, lookout!

Trip Days 7 and 8 San Francisco and London

SF Ferry BuildingKids LardBike wine holderGoogle Street View carPharmacy pizzaBay Bridge
Green ParkThe OvalThe OvalBig BenBig Ben10 Downing St
Royal HorsesTrafalgur SquareTrafalgur SquareLondonThe MallRoyal Guard
Buckingham PalaceBuckingham PalaceBuckingham PalaceBuckingham PalaceBuckingham PalaceGreen Park

Day 7 and 8 Update

Cruisey day today in San Francisco. Went to the US Postal Service, which is misleading, as they appeared to have very little service at all. 40 minutes later, I was out the door, and I think my package was put in the mail.

I always assumed the term “going postal” was about postal workers getting in a rut with their work and shooting people. The policy to eliminate this “going postal” has obviously been to eliminate the work aspect of the problem. I think it won’t be long before customer dissatisfaction may lead to a return of fire…

Walked down to the Ferry Terminal, where’s there some nice butchers and other food stores. Checked out the Cable Car Museum, before heading back to up to the Westfield shopping centre.

Picked up bags, headed to the airport, where the whole process of screening was really very hassle free.

Had an exit aisle for the 9 hour flight to London, mint! Not so mint was the fact that it was on the sunny side of the plane, and despite departing SF at 5pm, our route via the top of Canada and Greenland had our 747 in sunshine the whole night long.

On this particular big bird, the air conditioning blows onto the middle seat of the row, so it wasn’t a terribly productive flight sleep wise.

Once in London I did the standard touristy stuff- Big Ben, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace etc. Suffering badly due to the lack of sleep, I came back to the hotel for two hours of kip.

Woke up, didn’t know why the alarm was going off, where I was, what I was doing- a pretty out of it 5 minutes of my life right there…

Walked down to The Oval via The Thames for the England Vs New Zealand. Two balls were bowled before it started to drizzle… at least was able to drink beer with Madam and Ashley in the drizzle. The game was eventually called off due to the drizzle, so I walked home in the drizzle. Disappointing England, disappointing.

Day 6 Update

Early start, off to Alcatraz on the first boat of the morning.

After watching a lot of documentaries on the place, to actually see where it all happened is incredible. Neat audio tour through the prison section.

Headed back to Fisherman’s Wharf for a lunch of clam chowder, which was odd, it didn’t seem terribly American as it had no cheese.

Went to Jack’s Bar for one of their 68 beers on tap, before heading over to the historic maritime museum thing. Some nice things, including an old old wooden boat that was filled with old timey wooden cars.

Cruised around for a bit, noticed that there was an Oakland ferry ready to go, so I jumped on it a couple of hours early.

The ferry unloads at Jack London Square, which has a nice glossy website, that paints it as a vibrant hub. Calling it a ghost town would be doing a disservice to ghost towns, as they tend to have ghosts.

With nothing going on, and nobody around, I caught a free-bus to “city centre” Oakland.

Walked around for a couple of hours, found one Starbucks and one bar. There were a lot of tall buildings, but I didn’t check to see if they had doors. Not many people around, and fewer shops open.

Trained it out to the Oakland Collesium to see the A’s take on the Cincinnati Reds. Cool deal, cool facility, but all of the concession stands are as dear as poison.

Had seats in the front row of the cheap reserved seats, which was slightly in the nosebleed section (ie deep left field). Fortunately the A’s brought their A game, and knocked a couple of sluggers over the fence in our direction… missed the ball by 10m! I left with 3.5 innings to go, however nobody scored after I left, with the A’s getting up 7-2.

Last day of cruising around today, off to England this evening. Have a good one y’all!

Trip Day 6 Alcatraz & Oakland

Hole in the rockAlcatrazAlcatrazChowderBeerCable Car
AlcatrazSan FranciscoAlcatrazSeagullMachine GunAlcatraz
AlcatrazAlcatrazAlcatrazOaklandOakland 2013Oakland beer map
Beer and nutsBaseball beardBaseballBaseballCollesiumAmerica's Cup

Trip Day 6 Alcatraz & Oakland, a set on Flickr.

Day 5 Update

Who’s idea was it to set up San Francisco on mountain on top of a tectonic timebomb? Good grief, there are some hills around here. More on that soon…

Time- 4:45am, something went crash in a big way, sounded like a garbage truck exploded. Whatever, I was awake.

With it raining slightly, and knowing how Australian drivers lose all ability when it rains slightly, I decided to head the 61 miles back to SFO and drop my baby Mustang off. Sigh.

Even with some pea soup fog, the Californian drivers all proved themselves to be capable of steering without shunting.

Caught Bart back into the city (it’s the train), dropped bags, and cable carred it off to Lombard Street (the winding one).

Picked up a bicycle, which evidently had zero gears for going downhill or flat, but 21 gears for going straight up mountains. This proved useful on the first mountain. Hard work!

The helpful dude at the bike shop gave me some pointers on the best damage limitation routes regarding hills, and he was pretty much on the money.

Went around Golden Gate Bridge to the beach side, then through Golden Gate Park to the California Academy of Science. It was a neat place (including the most recent America’s Cup winning boat hanging from the roof), but utterly packed with small kids trying to run into your knees.

Weaved back over to the Bridge, which was still covered in cloud, but very spooky/cool. Rode over to Sausalito, cruised around for an hour or so, and caught the ferry back to San Francisco.

Dropped the bike off, lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf, and walked around the waterfront for a couple of hours, including checking out the SS Jeremiah O’Brien.

Caught the cable car back to the hotel. Knackered. Can’t really type too well. That is all.

Trip Day 5 San Francisco & Bay

Cable CarCoffeeAquariumElephantFisherman's WharfSurprise!
#prFostersLombard StreetGolden Gate BridgeBicycleSan Francisco
Golf TeeLegion of HonourLegion of HonourSan FranciscoDutch WindmillBison Paddock
Disc GolfGolden Gate ParkFocult's PendulumAmerica's CupCritterAlcatraz

Trip Day 5 San Francisco & Bay, a set on Flickr.