Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 84 Last Day!

Day 84 Last Day's Thoughts......

Our last days in London were like living on a real life Monopoly board. We shopped on Oxford Street and The Strand; we ate on Regent Street; we caught the underground trains at Kings Cross Station; I took a Chance card by speeding in Southampton and will have to pay a 'Tax'; we didn't collect $200 for passing 'Go' but did have a win with cheap theatre tickets and Free Parking, Debbie almost got sent 'directly to jail' for trying to smuggle a Finnish hunting knife and a Swiss Army knife through security at Heathrow airport; and thankfully we had no trouble with out Utilities or Water Works.

We loved the theatre in London, especially Henry IV at The Globe, the Jersey Boys and of course Mousetrap - although I did find myself scanning the crowd for dastardly murderers in the subway on the way home.

Well that's about it really. We reckon random touring is defintely the way to go! All you need is a laptop to book the next night's accommodation and a Eurail pass.

Hope you have enjoyed reading this blog as much as we have enjoyed making it.

Tony and Debbie

Days 82 & 83

Day 82 & 83 London
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th September

The highlight of the last couple of days of the trip was our night at The Globe where we saw Henry IV. Put a night at The Globe as a must see on your list! As usual we were a little late in purchasing our tickes and could only get standing room. Standing ended up being the best seats in the house as you are right in the thick of it in front of the stage.

The middle section of The Globe is in the open air and you get a taste of what theatre must have been like in Shakespeare's time. There is so much more audience interection and fun than I had thought - at times the Henry IV was quite bawdy indeed!! This is the ONLY way to see Shakespeare where you are buffeted by actors and mintrels running past, where the cast are obviously Shakespeare specialists and where you can experience the electric (pardon the pun)atmosphere of The Globe.

Left: The Globe from the outside.

Below: Downing Street - very welcoming.
The set of Stomp - a very lively show! Got in trouble for taking this photo!
Winchester Cathedral.

Above: Outside the Calvalry Museum.

Right: Big Ben.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 79

Day 79 Southampton.....Winchester.......Stonehenge
Friday 17th September
No prizes for guessing where we went today....good ol' Stonehenge. One of history's greatest mysteries - how did they get these huge rocks here 5000 years ago, especially the ones from Wales?? How did they stand them up and lift the hanging stones to the top? And what does it all mean? It seems like everyone has had a crack at coming up with a theory. Originally people thought the stones were put there by giants! Others think Stonehenge came from outer space. A more popular theory is that the stones were dragged there, on wooden rollers perhaps?

I think it was designed by the same people who designed MEC! Either way, Stonehenge is an impressive sight as you drive over the hill. Debbie didn't want me to put this photo in. I reckon she looks like Liza Minnelli and I look like....ummm...I'll think of it in a minute

Below: The mounds behind Stonehenge are called barrows - ancient cemeteries.

Here are two more shots of Mary and Michael's house. Nice!

Spent the afternoon in Winchester, a lovely old city with, of course, a magnificent cathedral.
Winchester Catherdral's OK I suppose...it just kept bringing me down though. It just stood and watched as, Debbie and I left town.

Lunch in an upstairs bay window in Winchester.

The Hanging Chapel in Winchester.
Ahh yes....it was Robert Redford I thinking of earlier!!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 77 and 78 Mon 13

Days 77 & 78 Plymouth, England
14th and 15th September

Mary and Michael treated us to a magnificent stay in Plymouth. Not only did they put us up for a couple of nights, they also took us on a fascinating tour (in their flash Jag) of the inland moors and the south coast of England.
Michael and Mary have been successful business people over the years, including owning and running hotels and owning a tile business. They took us to the clifftop Port Hotel, where they recalled the many years of hard work and amazing experiences. The picture above says it all as they proudly look back on their former life there.

The moors of Dartmouth.

Above: View from their beautiful garden.

Tour of Britain... bike race. We got stuck here as the traffic just stopped. There must have been at least 25 police motorcycle escorts - but no-one was on the roads controlling the traffic!

Narrow roads again! This woman did the wonkiest reversing I have seen for a good while.

Mary, me and Michael.

Photos taken around Dartmouth.

Wild ponies on the Dartmouth
moors. The rolling hills of the moors were lush green with a patchwork of brown ferns.

Day 76 cont...

Day 76 continued.... Cardiff, Wales
At the risk of beating my own trumpet, or blowing my own drum, here I am holding up another cup for Aussie rugby in the Cardiff Millenium Stadium. The Aussies were short a player so I happily filled in! ....alright, this is the 2008 cup that Wales won against Australia.
Another press conference. Couldn't understand ANY of the questions. Bloody Welsh accents!

Debbie running out through the tunnel to glory.

The Cardiff Castle is one of the better ones. Very impressive but a bit like a loose woman. Originally built by the Romans (strangely enough) it has been used and abused by all and sundry!! It's been a Roman garrison, a Norman stronghold and a gothic Victorian fantasy dwelling. Almost everyone had had their way with it.

I won't even mention what this hole was for!

Debbie showing her style at 10 pin bowling in Cardiff.
Elise, Owen and James - you will be pleased to know that after mum's drubbing of us at Warrnambool, I have restored things to their proper order. Scoreline:
Tony 3 games : Debbie 0 games. Yes!!!

Day 76

Day 76 Llantwit Major
Sunday 12th September (morning)

Ever wondered what a real foghorn looks like?
Today we took off on one of our intrepid walks, this time along the cliffs of Llantwit Major. This guy dragged us in to a large outbuilding as we passed by the lighthouse. His topic of special interest was foghorns! Can you believe that this whole building, with it's dual diesel engines, big pressure tanks and black oval shaped horns on the roof -is totally devoted to foghorns?

.......Three hours later, we continued our walk.... somehow we veered of the main track...but we found an overgrown and very old house....

Above: Now this place was interesting. Behind this fortified wall are some grand palatial buildings and an old church. Willam Randolf Hearst owned St Donats in the 1920s and used to frequently enterain members of the breakaway (from MGM) United Artists such as Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Mae West, Mary Pickford and so on. Our forghorn man said they all walked these clifftop paths numerous times.

Debbie negotiating the stiles.....

St Donats Church
The walk took 6 hours, so after a final pint at the inn, we left the very friendly Llantwit Major for a place with a sensible name. Off to Cardiff this afternoon.