Sorry it has been so long since the last blog. We had a quiet time after the Contiki and since we have been being some more site-seeing around London and surrounding areas. The following is a quick few words of where we've been and what we've seen.
One Sunday Lisa went to Kensington Palace, west of London with Kelly and Jess. Did a self guided tour throughout Kensington Palace of where Princess Diana lived. After this you could do a walk through the gardens surrounding the Palace where it was fascinating of how friendly the squirrels were, that were sitting on the garden's benches. Also on our trip of the garden's we saw Prince Albert Memorial across from Prince Albert Hall, Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, Lake Serpentine, and Hyde Park.
We went to Lords to see the group match between NZ and South Africa, both teams had made the next round so the result didn't really matter and it showed, the game was kind of boring but the atmosphere was awesome and the ground special so it was a good night overall, even though we lost!!
One Saturday we went to 'Toast NZ' which is a festival in London for ex-pat kiwis, it was a day in the sun drinking NZ beers, watching NZ versus Great Britain in a game of polo, and then listened to Dave Dobbyn in concert. Surprisingly we only saw one person we knew out of all the people there that we weren't expecting to see.
One Saturday we hopped onto the train to Windsor to see the royal palace, the queen was in residence but I think she was at the races for the day. The castle is massive and very nice on both the inside and out. You're not allowed to take photos of the inside. We walked through the state apartments which has been the living quarters for many famous monarchs. Most of the rooms are decorated as would have been years ago and you just walk around looking at the decorated walls etc and listening to the history of the rooms through a headset they give you. There was also the famous Queen Mary's Doll House, its huge for a dolls house and has everything a dolls house could have (eg plumbing and fittings) and is still in prefect condition! We also saw inside St Georges Chapel which is massive and the architecture is amazing. Its creepy as you walk beside, or over, the graves of a lot of famous monarchs. We walked past the tomb of the queen mother which was the latest person to be buried there. It is still a church today and they have sermons there daily still. Windsor the township is very nice and I think we will go back for a decent look around later.
The other Saturday night we went with friends on what was thought to be a pub crawl, but ended up being a pub walk around the area of Hampstead which was an old village on top of the hill. We walked around the streets looking at the famous houses and listening to who lived where and just the history of the area. It is so hard to comprehend the history that England has and what has gone on in the past that we have read in books or watched on TV actually happened when we are! It was quite an interesting walk as it turned and we learned a few things, we only stopped at three old pubs though and had some local warm, flat English beers at each one
For a weekend we went to Pamplona, Spain for the running of the bulls festival with friends of our Mitch and Kelly who are tripping around Europe in a van. A separate blog will follow about this trip, and photos will follow also as Kelly has a lot of them.
Anyway that's all for now.
Hope everyone is well and looking after themselves.
Hamish and Lisa