Monday 3rd September, 2007
Tuesday, 4th September, 2007
Wednesday 5th September, 2007

Monday 3rd September, 2007

Drop Cap ell, today was....interesting! In addition to the Tube problems of the weekend, the rail workers called a 72 hour strike, supposedly from 18:00 this evening but really taking effect from 17:00. We have had an eclectic day.

Little Venice photograph

Little Venice from the Waterbus Stop

Drop Cap e started off with our really good English Breakfast in the Breakfast Room downstairs in the basement (!) After washing out a shirt and bra and hanging them in the shower we walked out to Paddington Station and took Tube to Warwick Avenue and Little Venice.

Waterbus staff photograph

Mac with the Waterbus Crew

Drop Cap e arrived at the Waterbus stop to find it was 10:15 and the timetable said departures at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 etc, so we thought we had missed it. However, the guys on the waterbus came up and said they had been waiting to see if anyone turned up, so we got another private tour to Camden Lock. It was lovely, it has been fine, warm and sunny again today.

We browsed around Camden Market and Mac bought a second hand Canal Companion of the Pennine canals at a bookshop by the lock.

Cleopatra's Needle photograph

Cleopatra's Needle

Drop Cap e caught a Bakerloo train to Embankment and wandered along beside the river to Cleopatra's Needle. The obelisk was flanked by two sphinxes, modern I would say, but on ancient plinths which were damaged by a bomb during the war.

Drop Cap e had coffee and pastries at a café nearby and wandered down the Embankment to Westminster. There was a surprising amount of pleasure boat traffic on the river and we watched and enjoyed the view.

Westminster Abbey photograph

Westminster Abbey

Drop Cap t 14:00 we joined another London Walk, "Secrets of Westminster Abbey". Leading this tour was Chris, who guided us through the British Museum two years ago. She was brilliant (all the guides we have met have been really good value) but the "walk" involved a lot of standing and Mac's feet were feeling as bad as mine by the end.

Drop Cap ut, oh, Westminster Abbey is beautiful, the fabric of the building, not so much of the statuary etc. But we saw Isaac Newton's memorial (shades of the Da Vinci code) with other scientists nearby like Darwin, Florey, Faraday etc and we saw Poet's Corner with memorials to Shakespeare, Dr. Johnson, Ben Jonson, Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde among many others and actors like Olivier, Henry Irving and Peggy Ashcroft. We saw the Coronation Chair, the tombs of Queen Elizabeth I , Bloody Mary and Mary Queen of Scots. And lots and lots of others.

Drop Cap ur feet were killing us as we hiked back to Westminster Station to find we could not get back to Paddington by train. So we took the Jubilee Line to Baker Street and walked home from there. Our feet were dropping off by then, but we made it!

We had an Italian meal tonight at a local ristorante. Spaghetti and Lasagne, very filling.

Don't know what we will do tomorrow.

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Tuesday, 4th September, 2007

Serpentine Bridge photograph

The Serpentine Bridge, Kensington Gardens

Drop Cap ctually, today was quite pleasant - apart from our aching feet. Although we left it till well after "rush hour" it was immediately obvious that we would not get into a bus, they were chockablock. So we girded up our loins (knees, ankles and feet) and walked off down Sussex Gardens towards Kensington Gardens. It has been a lovely day again, sunny, bright and warm. I will probably bring home a suntan!

Sunken Garden Kensington photograph

Sunken Garden, Kensington Palace

Drop Cap rriving at Kensington Gardens we walked down beside the Long Water and under the Serpentine Bridge to visit the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.

This is not your conventional sprays of water type fountain but a lovely representation of a running stream. The water bubbles and skips over the beautifully carved Cornish stone bed of the "stream" and we thought it was great - original and lovely.

We then turned towards the Round Pond and Kensington Palace, passing the lovely sunken garden which was a riot of summer flowers, and the guys with hedge trimmers and cherry pickers giving the topiary a shave and a haircut.

Drop Cap e decided to visit Kensington Palace, as we have not been inside it before. It cost us ten pounds each! The ground floor was entirely taken up with "Remembering Princess Diana", so many photos and some of her evening gowns. I was beginning to get a bit worried that this was all it would be, but of course, being the 10th anniversary of her death, it was natural to make a big splash.

When we had finished with Diana we collected audio wands and went upstairs to the Royal State Apartments. This was more like it. Galleries of interesting pictures and rooms with fabulous decorated ceilings, Queen Victoria's bedroom, exhibits of state gowns and uniforms. It was very interesting, although many of the rooms seemed empty of anything but decorations.

Orangery photograph

The Orangery Restaurant, Kensington Palace

Drop Cap ur feet, which seem to have been badly treated these last three days were feeling it a lot by the time we exited and so we went to the lovely Orangery for a snack. Since we have a good cooked English breakfast included every day we don't need a big lunch, so we had tea and scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. And a couple of cold drinks. The Orangery is lovely, very classic and we enjoyed our tea and scones.

Drop Cap e walked back to the Italian Garden Gate where we came in and proceeded gently home. It was not such a long walk as we discovered a short cut. Feet are still aching though.

Had another meal at Garfunkel's for dinner. It's OK, quite edible for a chain.

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Wednesday 5th September, 2007

Drop Cap o Tube again today! We had a very inactive day because our poor abused feet were still complaining.

Paddington Basin photograph

Paddington Basin on the Grand Union Canal

Drop Cap fter breakfast we walked out to find the Paddington Branch of the Grand Union Canal, which ends in a spacious basin just beyond the railway station. There are lots of visitor moorings, loomed over by tall modern buildings. The signs said they could be used free for seven days, after which they are charged twenty five pounds per day.

Drop Cap here are all kinds of facilities, shops, restaurants, laundry, and it certainly was not squalid as there is ongoing regeneration. The water was beautiful and clear. There were several live-aboard boats moored there and you could almost see the junction at Little Venice. It was very interesting and the towpath had been very well developed.

Norfolk Square Gardens photograph

Norfolk Square Gardens, Paddington

Drop Cap fter this we returned to Norfolk Gardens and sat in the gardens for an hour or so reading and relaxing, then took a load of laundry to the nearby laundrette. We decided to leave it there to be done for us (10 pounds) and will collect it at 17:00.

We bought a couple of delicious danish pastries at a nearby patisserie and had them with coffee in our room. Then some more relaxing - after all, from tomorrow it will be go-go touring.

Drop Cap inner tonight at the Mughal's restaurant opposite, really good Northern Indian with a bottle of Mateus Rose. We enjoyed it.

Tomorrow we battle Heathrow and head to Copenhagen.

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