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Convent Garden, British Cycle Tour Finish, London

Street Entertainment on a sunny Sunday

sunny 20 °C

After a sleep in we decided to catch the underground to a subway near Prince Edward Theatre. Once we found the theatre where Miss Saigon was being held we headed off to find a booking office, several near here. We found one that was selling tickets at a good price. It is a bit different to years ago when you would have to queau for tickets. There were so many shows on in London. There were lots I would have liked to see but a decision had to be made and we hadn't seen Miss Saigon before. It was a sunny Sunday and I knew we were close to Convent Garden. With the help of my phone we soon found it. What a great way to spend a sunny Sunday. As well as the colourful interesting markets there were lots of street performers of a high standard. We spent a long time watching the street entertainers. We put a donation in the containers of those we spent time watching. There were the knife jugglers. One of these was on a ladder with only one rung it was a long way off the ground. He took off his shirt, not sure why he did that we had to watch his quivering flesh. There was a good Mr Bean Impersonator. He was charging for photos taken with him. We liked the dog in the kennel he was funny. I posted a video of that on my face book page. The Charlie Chaplin Impersonator was very good, he did a long stint and was funny. He certainly picked on people in the crowd so we were keeping our distance. There were various other acts as well. We watched a sculptor sculpting a young boy. I was very impressed with how still he sat. His mother dressed very fashionable and he looked very smartly dressed as well. We eventually headed off to find barriers everywhere and we were marooned. I am not sure how we missed this action earlier must have approached from a different angle. We stood by the fence and chatted to some nice young English people and found out it was the finish of the Cycle Tour of Britain. Fancy that, first we catch the end of the Tour de France in Paris accidently, now here is the finish of the British Tour. Events just seem to follow us around. We decided we might as well stay and watch. They certainly fly by and it didn't take long for each round. It was fun watching the support vehicles whizz past and the ambulance where the passenger seemed to be hanging on around the corner where we were. People realised that the finish was across the street but by then you couldn't get across, we wandered around and found net barriers on our side, someone had conveniently torn a big hole in one barrier. The interesting part here was watching an angry young man have an altercation with a security guard on the other side of the barrier. Obviously angry about the netting he tore a big hole in another screen. The security man was right in his face and was well out of order when he took a swing at the young man's nose. Luckily no blood. The security man about to take action but of course by then the young man had disappeared into the crowd. Why put the net up in the first place the barrier was enough. We finally walked to an underground station and found a train to take us back to Kings Cross Station. Six flights of stairs to negotiate to our room, at least we now weren't setting off the fire alarm.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:27 Archived in England Tagged city siteseeing Comments (0)

Madam Tussuard's, Primrose Hill and Swiss Cottage

Revisiting some favourite places in London

sunny 24 °C

It was Saturday in London, we set off first to visit Madam Tussuard's. We found our way to Kings Cross Station. At our entry point to our underground destination they had just stopped the train line due to someone on the line. Police and medics running everywhere, we never did find out what happened. Plan B. We found another way to get there with one train line change. At the beginning of our big trip when we were in London we found the buses worked well from our accommodation. But as we were near Kings Cross Station the underground certainly worked better for us. Kings Cross a local and international station. We headed to Madam Tussuard's to join lots of other tourists on this very sunny Saturday. I enjoyed my last visit here about 10 years ago. The displays are constantly changing. It always surprises me that you can get up so close and personal with the wax figures. David Becham no longer in footie clothes and pose but now in a fancy suit posing beside his wife Victoria, famous for the Spice Girls and now her fashion empire. Kylie Minogue on surfboard replaced with Miller Cyrus sitting on a long tongue. There was a feature of some of the young singing stars. Beyonce was the head feature with 3 models of her along with Lady Gaga who wouldn't have existed on my last visit. Also Britanny Spears looking very glam. I was amazed how small Madonna was she isn't very tall, she always seems larger than life in real life. Freddie Mercury still there, his Song Barcelona with the Spanish Opera singer still the best Olympic song ever. A little bit of home New Zealand's legendary rugby player Jonah Lomu striking a great pose, possibly on display with the Rugby World Cup taking place in England. With my interest in art it was good to see some of the famous artists on display. The Royal family pose now controlled with an official photographer. You can still take your own photo. Of course I had to do that pose for my late Grandma who was such a royalist. It is rubbing off on me as have had a rather Royal time this trip. Lady Diana no longer attracting queues but replaced with queues to do the selfie with Kim Kardashian. I admit I did this pose. Interesting how the moody Kane is relegated to the back. There were all the usual world leaders, sports stars too numerous to mention. A new area was showing the making of the wax figures, with Beyonce featured here. Also there was a display of the history of Madam Tussuard's. She was the tiniest little lady. We did the London Taxi ride through various displays that flash past. Soon we were queuing to head upstairs then waiting upstairs to go into the 4 D theatre. We were so hungry by then the only drink we could find was some sugary icy drink the cup was threatening to collapse we had with a bag of crisps. The 4 D was based around saving Buckingham Palace. You got sprayed with air and mist at the correct time, jabbed in the back by your chair, vibrations through the floor. Puff of air where you would least expect. After this we ended up in a Star Wars exhibition. I am not sure how this got added to our ticket. The Grandchildren would like this part. We had a very late lunch. Afterwards we decided to walk through Regent Park to Primrose Hill. Daughter Janine and Tim's old stomping ground. London rather flat, Primrose Hill gives views over London. A few families up here, lots of tourists and the younger generation up here. Young lovers of every orientation up here as well relaxing. Londons certainly enjoy lapping up the sunshine when they get it. Then there was us the two oldest up the top of Primrose Hill. For nostalgic reasons we then decided to walk to Swiss Cottage where Tim and Janine lived while in London and later along came baby Joe, now a big boy. We spent lots of happy times at Swiss Cottage on our previous 3 visits to the United Kingdom. We found new apartments, the favourite Costa Coffee Shop still there as is Alex's Hairdressers. There were lots more restaurants across the street from the flat and a very nice restaurant at the nearby sports Centre. We found our way to the underground where we used to catch the Jubilee Line, here we managed to find a train heading to Kings Cross Station.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 12:56 Archived in England Tagged city siteseeing Comments (0)

Walking the walls of the walled city of York

It would be a good idea to start with a map

sunny

We caught the bus into the city. The bus stop was just across the road. Buses came past about every 10 minutes. It was good not having to find a car park. I had a well over due hair appointment, I had the compulsory dye test the Friday before so was all set for a colour and cut. The lady did a good job, the end result was good. That will get me home. It was expensive though. Eighty pounds, when you convert that it would have been around 200 NZ dollars. It was just convenient to get it done in York, I guess I would have paid less if I had used a Salon out of the city. It was then time to find some lunch before heading off around the wall. Finding the first part was easy as started near York Minister. It was quite fun at the beginning as you could peer into the backyards of hotels and houses. The city of York has the most complete example of medieval city walls still standing today. Beneath the stonework lie the remains of earlier walls dating back to the Romans. The Roman walls survived into the 9th century when in AD 866 York was invaded by the Danish vikings. The Vikings buried the wall under an earth bank topped by a palisade - a tall fence of pointed wooden stakes. The wooden palisade was replaced in the 13th and 14th centuries with the wall that stands today. We finished the first part of the wall but finding the next part not easy, not helped with road closures. We searched for a while eventually we found some others looking for the wall as well, eventually we found it. The other young couple started on the wall with two elderly ladies. They didn't get far as one of the ladies didn't like heights. We continued on our way stopping to take in the sites along the way. The wall then finished. We found the museum and a information Centre and got a map. I pointed to a historic bridge but Geoff decided to walk the other way. I finally decided we were going no further till we knew where we were. We walked towards the historic bridge and over it and found the wall once again. It took us a while to work out our map. This was probably the longest section. Lots of twists and turns. At one stage we saw an ambulance go by, then we peered over the wall to see what looked like someone trying to revive someone. It was a homeless group, Whoever was helping was getting lots of verbal abuse. Soon the ambulance came back to sort the situation, we made our way around the wall. We exited and finished the last bit when we found the entrance, we had walked this bit before. Wall conquered. It is about 4 1/2ks around with our detours it was a lot longer. It is great that so much of this wall still remains today, it certainly gives a lot of character to York City. We enjoyed all the time we spent in the city of York. Soon it was time to catch the bus home, prepare dinner and start packing for the next day.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 12:47 Archived in England Tagged city walled Comments (0)

Obergosgen to Pontebrolla, Switzerland

Heading to the mountains of Switzerland

sunny 34 °C

An early start to do washing and clean the house we have stayed in, in Obergosgen it is on the road for another journey. Anja and Raphael suggested we take a scenic route to Obergosgen their home in the mountains. They suggested we visit Locarno so we left a day early. We booked a room in Pontebrolla on booking.com. We looked at booking it directly through the hotel and it was nearly twice as much. It is peak season with it being summer school holidays. Locarno was very expensive, but we found that Pontebrolla hotel was just a train ride away front Locarnof. Geoff enjoyed the drive to Pontebrolla good wide roads, mostly motorways through mountain ranges, great scenery. The last 7 kms a different story very narrow steets to the hotel but we arrived directly no problem. We were pleased we had stopped for lunch at a service Centre as not far on we were held up for about 1 1/2. The reason for the hold up a two way tunnel with one lane each side. This was the place of the big tragedy a few years back now restricted vehicles in tunnel at all times. We went through lots of tunnels on our journey. Our hotel t3eTerre was very nice breakfast was included. After getting settled in we strolled to the train station very close. Locarno a lovely place full of tourists. A popular band was playing in the middle of the village and while we were there they closed a big area off. We wandered around the village looking at the shops but not buying. We eventually walked along the waterfront and back then down the other side of the waterfront where we found somewhere for dinner. It was very hot and I felt dizzy, couldn't drink wine drank lots of water. It was a long time since we had eaten and I didn't drink enough. After about an hour I stopped feeling whoozzy. A little warning to drink more water. Locarno is situated on the northern tip of Lake Maggiore. The official language of Locarno is Italian. It is an attractive city obviously a popular place with the Swiss and tourists. We caught the train back to Pontebrolla quite late.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 14:08 Archived in Switzerland Tagged city siteseeing Comments (0)

Thun, Switzerland

A day in the old town of Thun.

sunny 32 °C

Thun is a city. It is located where the River Aare flows outof Lake Thun, 30 km south of Bern. Besides tourism, machine and precision instrument engineering, the largest garrison in the country, the food industry, armaments and publishing are of economic importance. Swiss German is the official language but the main spoken language is the local variantof Alemanninic Swiss German dialect. They are now known as Thun has been inhabited since Neolithic age (mid-3rd millennium BC). Parking here was good. Just drove into the old city and found a parking building so didn't have to worry after that. This was a relaxing day as the old town not that large. We watched the river antics as usual. Lots of school holiday fun to be had. Some our age jumping into the river as well. Love the old bridge that spans the river. The flower baskets hanging along the sides well attended. We had some nice toasted sandwiches for lunch. There was a fun park for the young ones to enjoy with a ferris wheel. Heading home interesting. Garmin directed us we saw a sign, couldn't read that spied a points duty man. He stopped us and we couldn't speak his language and he couldn't speak ours but soon realised that maybe our side of the road was closed ahead. Lots of sign language. There was a gate to our right side drove in turned around in a farmers field. We then got to drive down a newly opened road that Garmin didn't pick up. Alls well. Bought some meat at a local garage on the way home. After dinner had a swim in the pool to cool down. A good finish to our time in Obesgosgen. This was a great house swap, very central to a lot of places and not far from Zurich. Many thanks to Raphael, Anja and family.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:06 Archived in Switzerland Tagged city siteseeing Comments (0)

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