Friday, June 30, 2017

London 30.6.2017

Today we decided that we would go to Hampstead Heath to visit Kenwood House.  We were a little later leaving the apartment this morning, in hindsight not such a great idea as the bus ride to Trafalgar Square that would normally take 25 minutes took at least an hour. Not only was the traffic congested, due to the Changing of the Guards, but the bus driver was very tentative, as though it was his first time driving!!! We changed buses at Trafalgar Square and headed to Camden Town, changed buses again to Hampstead Heath, a lovely village.

John thought that Kenwood House, would be quite close, however after asking around, we needed to catch another bus to the top of the Heath.  In the end it took us nearly 4 hours to get to Kenwood House.  On arrival at Kenwood House, a lovely Georgian House, on an 18th century estate.

There was a lovely man at the entrance, and after hearing of our travels, took us to what used to be the Dining Room, as he thought we needed a rest.  The first thing we noticed was the Self Portrait by Rembrandt on the wall, along with a Vermeer and a Van Dyck.

After a short time we then toured the house, which has a quite a number of amazing artworks, as well as the most elegant library.

In 1910 the 6th Earl of Mansfield sold Kenwood and it was bought by Edward Guinness to house his art collection.  He never lived in the house and bequeathed it to the Nation. We were very pleased we persisted and made it to look at this beautiful House and its contents.

We then came home via Euston Station,
to purchase our train tickets to Tamworth for Saturday.    This statue of Robert Stevenson is outside the entrance to Euston Station.

We then had an early dinner at Zizzi's at Tower Bridge before heading back to the apartment.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

London 28th June, 2017

After a good nights sleep, we left the apartment reasonably early.  We caught the No 15 bus and our  first stop was the Oldest Church in the City of London, Hallows By The Tower.

The church dates back to 675, and was a Saxon Church built on Roman foundations.

  Parts of the Saxon Church are still intact inside. The Norman part of the church predate the Tower.It was bombed during the 2nd World War and only the tower and walls remained, but it has been faithfully restored.  The crypt of the church still shows a 2nd CenturyRoman pavement, which indicates city life on the site for almost 2000 years.
William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was baptised in the church and was educated in the old schoolroom. John Quincy Adams, 6th President of USA, was married in the church in 1797 and the Marriage Resister is on display in the crypt.

From here we went and had Fish and Chips beside the Tower of London.  Back onto the bus and the next stop was St Paul's Cathedral.  We had visited the cathedral before, but felt it was worth another visit.  We took the short introductory tour, and again visited the crypt, where Nelson,  the Duke of Wellington and Christopher Wren (architect of St Paul's Cathedral) are buried.
Next, was the Museum of London, which chronicles the history of London from Pre Historic times to the present time

By this time it was time to head to Fortnum and Mason for our special Afternoon Tea.  From the moment we stepped out of the lift on the 4th Floor, we knew we were in for something special. The room was very light and elegant, the service impeccable, our waiters knowledge of "Tea" was seriously amazing. The finger sandwiches, scones and cream, sweet treats ( all of which were replenished, as often as you required) were delicious.  Towards the end we were offered cake for desert, which we declined, and it was then boxed for us to take home. Our new favourite tea is "Royal Blend", which we then purchased as we left the store.  The store itself is amazing and very expensive !!

After leaving Fortnum and Mason, we walked to Piccadilly Road to catch the bus, and found we were outside Burlington Arcade.It is one of London's earliest covered Arcades, and was built for the sale of jewellery and fancy articles. 

After dinner at a pub in the city we headed back to the apartment - exhausted !!

Albury to London 26.6.17

We left home at 8am this morning and the sun was shinning.  John had received a message from Rob at 6.30am saying that it was clear of fog at the airport and to have a great trip !!! I was a little less convinced that there wouldn't be any fog - I was right !! We drove to Kay's and she took us to the airport, by this time the fog had started to roll in.  The flight was already delayed for an hour.  The fog got thicker and at one stage we couldn't even see the runway !

Our flight was further delayed - we finally left Albury at approximately 1.30pm .  Our flight to Singapore was changed from 1.10pm to 6.05pm. We arrived in Singapore at 12.35 (Singapore time) and the new flight we had been booked on was due to take off at 1.05am.  The flight was then delayed, for over 1 1/2 hrs, waiting for passengers (us and quite a few others)and baggage from the incoming flight.   Both flights were OK, but had stages of turbulence, enough to suspend inflight service.  We arrived at Heathrow in London to long (40min) queues at Immigration.  As I had meet and  assist, John left Immigration and was to meet me at the baggage claim.  There was no sign of him when I got to baggage claim - I collected the luggage and waited and waited !!! After about 15 mins, I was becoming concerned and went to the Singapore Airlines desk, where I was told he had contacted them, as he had walked straight out of the airport without me or the luggage !!! great start John!!! The taxi from Heathrow to our apartment took over an hour (and was quite expensive).  The travel time from door to door was approximately 36 hrs.  After a shower, we caught the No. 15 Bus into Trafalgar Square, had some afternoon tea, wandered around for a while, then decided we couldn't do any more ! caught the bus back, had a drink a the local pub, walked across the road had a pizza and were back in the apartment in bed by 8.15pm.