LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN FALLING DOWN FALLING DOWN LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN DOOO DEEEDAAA DAAA DEEEE… that is all I had in my head on the plane from Bangkok to Heathrow airport. ANNOYING!
England is the first civilized western country we have been in for three months, werid feeling. Everyone is in heels, have advanced versions of iphones and there is so many people in one space trying so hard to ignore each other. Cities.
Brooke saved our jetlagged arses when we found her waving out to us at the airport, we would have been so lost otherwise. She sorted us out an oyster card which let us use all means of public transport for the week and got us to spuds house. In a completely sleep deprived daze we explored a small section of London.
Our UK trip was broken into three sections. First was Bristol… to visit SARAH! Such an amazing time, we went out to Sarahs friends house where we had a few casual vodkas and prepared for the night ahead. In the loose loose English way. We ventured to a classic English pub made out of old bricks with a low ceiling. We sampled the large quantities of cidar (which seems to be the drink of choice around here) it was deliciously dangerous! We hit a few different pubs meeting the monopoly man (well at least he looked like him with his top hat, moustache and walking cane) and got loose with the poms. EPIC NIGHT!
we woke the next day with thumping heads and were looked after amazingly by Sarah and her fiancé Gil with brunch in bed and OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE. Incredible first night in the UK!
Back in London we went out with Brooke and Spud to a place called Joe cools. You pay 5 pounds for free drinks between 7 and 9, the challenge is to get through the crowds of people at the bar to keep refilling your drink, Brooke had it down getting refills almost instantly, spud.. not so much! We went out for a late dinner at an Indian restaurant… MMMMMM CURRRYYYY!!!
Time for Wales.. we jumped in Spuds work Truck which is a gigantic delivery truck with three seats in the front and a windowless trunk at the back. We took off to the Wales beach to hopefully get a surf. We were running a bit late due to a small case of a hangover so we stopped in Chippenham to watch the All Blacks Vs Australia. This town is small lined with cobblestone roads, old markets and a small tranquil river with huge white swans.
We viewed, we won, we left. Onward to the beach… we arrived at the beach a few hours later driving through skinny countryside roads traveling by cows and horses. It really did look like New Zealand, farm animals and huge green paddocks were everywhere.
My feet sunk into the sand… YAAAYYY SAND.. though it was quite muddy, and the surf looked like god had thrown up waves of foamy beer but at least we were at a beach. Since the waves were lame and there wasn’t much sun we decided it was time for some drinks. We had a few quiets at a local cottage looking pub then Brooke and I jumped into the back of the truck armed with a bottle of vodka and spuds delivery equipment as we headed for Cardiff.
After a few vods in our tommy tippie cups we spied the massive rolls of bubble wrap… yeeehaaaaaa bubble wrap outfits.
The night in Wales was so loose, we were buzzing and throffing in every club, dancing into the darkness with crazy welsh accents and some famous author. The night ended in front of a castle, sprawled out on the concrete making hilarious phone calls to New Zealand.
The welsh have the craziest language, we met a couple who I loved to listen talk. The names are randomly tounge twisting, it’s the coolest language I have ever heard. The best part about it is they are in the United Kingdom and still keep the welsh culture alive. The town is vibrant, unfamiliar and friendly.
Hungover, Spud drove us back to London via Bath. Its astonishingly beautiful with it’s honey coloured terraces, cobblestone streets, castle looking houses, colorful buskers in the courtyards and architectural flare. We walked past the roman spas which sadly you can’t bathe in, and listened to this Switzerland musician play a metal dome looking soothing instrument. IT was truly beautiful.. even if half the population were unimpressed with my no shoed bare feet.
With only two days left in London we decided to see some of the sights. One ‘must do’ on our list was to go to Jimi Hendrix apartment on Brook Street. So we searched online the directions to his house. An hour on the tube later we were in no mans land. A random hick town outside of London. We walked the streets trying to find Jimi’s house and found Number 23 Brook Street. It was a dingy flat with a rubbish bin outside… it didn’t seem right. Confused and little pissed off we worked out that Jimi would not have lived out here and we had spent the last couple of hours venturing to nowhere.
On a happier note we did get to see the London Dungeon, the London Eye and A film Museum.
The London Dungeon was awesome, it is a museum but it’s like being part of a play. Actors dress up as numerous scary people throughout history and take you through the great London fire, the plague and Sweeny Todd murders. We went through prison cells, watched a surgeon slash at a body, we were sentenced to death for petty crimes, went on a boat ride through dark caves, had our hair cut by Sweeny Todd and watched witches burn to death. The best part was the end where you are strapped into a ride similar to a “Big drop”. You are lifted meters off the ground in complete darkness. A man appears in red and yellow lighting as looped ropes hang in front of you. We were being hung. He explains our crimes then we drop, rapidly speeding towards the ground and jolt at the bottom… just as if you were hung. It was pretty f***ing cool.
We went to check out the London Eye, had a stroll around and spied Big Ben. We came across a film Museum with heaps of props and costumes from movies. We saw the costumes from Superman, Batman, Ali G, Band of Brothers, Star Wars, Night at the Museum etc. The best part was driving the Chitty Chitty Bang bang car. LOVE IT
Our last day we dedicated to actually seeing Jimi Hendrix house, we had been such naïve London virgins the day before and had thought there would only be one Brook Street in London… turns out there was about twenty.
We finally found it in central London and saw Jimi’s home. There was an exhibition held there for his 40th anniversary since he died. Photos, posters and clothes lined the walls. There was his scribbling of lyrics on pieces of paper and one of his Gibson guitars. It was pretty wicked to see.
We also ventured to Saint Pauls Cathedral. It’s beautifully haunting with a high roof that has been designed in amazing detail and thought. It is the place of reflection, religion and history. It is where Princess Diana was married and where thousands of people gather in crisis like 9/11. We went down to the underground floor which is called The Crypt. There are tombs and memorials of significant people in History, it’s spiritually airy. The second floor is called the Whispering Gallery where you can overlook the dome where everyone sits for the service. It also has an amazing view of the architecture and art on the roof. It is about 500 stairs to the top of Saint Pauls and each stairway is different. They range from wide well lit curved hallways to skinny concrete staircase spirals. The last set of stairs to the roof are made of black metal and as you climb higher the ground slowly disappears from your feet letting you know any wrong step can send you falling.
The view of the top is amazing, a birds eye view of the city. I believe it would be the same as the very top of the London eye as we seemed directly parallel to it.
We spent our last night in the city eating at an english pub before heading to the theatre to watch Ghost stories. It’s a play about believing in ghosts and playing with your fears. There was screams throughout the whole stadium during the show as they reenacted three ghost stories the professor had been told. It ends with a twist which I swore I would keep a secret.
Just as we were leaving the show we walked past a red carpet being packed up, the premiere for Will Ferrels new movie had just been right next to us.. dam I wish we knew so we could go see Mr Ferrel in the flesh.
We arrived at the airport two hours before our flight, good timing I thought. We went to check in and were told we were at the wrong terminal… no biggie. Being the naïve virgin Londoners again we forgot how big this airport was. We are used to New Plymouth airport where the four gates are actually through the same door, not Heathrow To get to our actual gate we had to walk to the train station and jump on a train to get to our terminal.. what the f***. Everyone knows Heathrow Airport is massive but train rides between terminals… WOW… this airport was the size of New Plymouth.
Onward to Mexico… fingers crossed we do not get shot.