OE - Ireland & England
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Grand Canal, Dublin
Fri 7-Nov 03 Dublin
My 30th Birthday!
Not much today (movies, shopping etc) but did pop across town to the Grand Canal to finally take some photos of it - and with lively autumn colours too!
The Grand Canal, Dublin
Patrick Kavanagh and Me (Jason), at the Grand Canal
The View of Dublin Castle from
Fri 14-Nov 03 Dublin - saw Tommy Tiernan @ Vicar Street
Went to see my first full show of the comedian Tommy Tiernan (I had seen him previously at a 'Barry Murphy's Comedy Circus' show in July). He is very talented and of course extremely funny. According to the Vicar Street website, Tommy and Dylan Moran (of "Black Books" fame) went to the same school and lived on the same square "but, uninterestingly, didn't know each other particularly well" !
Last minute packing for trip away to London tomorrow for 9 days!
I left Ireland (for the first time since arriving in February) for London Luton Airport at 8:30am this morning. After negotiating a bus, train and the London Underground ('Tube') system with my luggage, I finally arrived at a B&B/Hotel in Paddington - rather stressful! I dropped my bags off and jumped on an open-top double-decker tourist bus (The Big Bus Company) to get my bearings and to take advantage of the lovely fine day. Saw lots of sights familiar from TV and the Monopoly board - Hyde Park & Marble Arch, Baker Street, Regent Street, Oxford Street / Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Parliament House & Clock Tower ('Big Ben'), The London Eye / Millennium Wheel, Tower Bridge - and got off at the Tower of London to do a river cruise up the Thames back to Westminster.
The Tower Bridge, London
The Tower of London
The London Eye (or Millennium Wheel) & "Big Ben"at Parliament House / Westminster Palace, London
After getting off the cruise at Westminster Pier I then rejoined the bus tour (The Big Bus Company!) to continue the circuit - this time seeing Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace & The Royal Mews. Finally it was back to Trafalgar Square to join a Ghost Walk tour (Ghosts by Gaslight, run by The Big Bus Company) - quite good and quirky.
Sun 16-Nov 03 London - Another Fine day!
Another lovely fine day! Got up reasonably early and walked through Hyde Park (very pretty with Autumn leaves) to the Marble Arch. I then continued along Oxford Street and onto Trafalgar square to go on another walking tour - had to get my monies worth from the 24-hour ticket from The Big Bus Company!
London Street Map
The Marble Arch, Hyde Park
London Double Decker Bus on Oxford Circus
The tour this time was a Royal London Walk to see the changing of the guard at St. James' and Buckingham Palaces. The walk started at Trafalgar Square, and we made our way through St. James' Park to St James' Palace where we saw one of the old guard on duty - and then the start of the ceremony as the old guards left St James, heading down 'The Mall' towards Buckingham palace to meet the old guard from there. We followed in a fast walk, accompanied by their live music. There were literally thousands of people milling around at Buckingham, most of whom probably couldn't see much!
Royal Guard, St James' Palace
Changing of the Guards, St James' Palace
A lot of pomp and ceremony as the incoming guards came closer - very cool to see. A good walking tour to follow the guards and see what was actually happening, instead of just going straight to Buckingham Palace and getting lost in a swarm of people!
The incoming 'New Guard'
Next I went on a nice long walk from Westminster bridge along the South Bank of the rivers edge to Tower Bridge (actually further than I had first thought!)
London Black Cab
The River Thames, St Paul's Cathedral etc
I did a tour of Tower Bridge which had great views of the City, especially as it was a lovely day. Afterwards I waited outside the Tower of London, waiting for the bridge to open at 4:40pm as I'd had been told, and were lucky enough to see a great view of a tall sailing ship (the Australian Endeavour Replica), coming through the open bridge, even firing it's canon's! Picture postcard perfect.
London as seen from Tower Bridge
Views from Tower Bridge (Tower of London etc)
Endeavour Replica going through Tower Bridge
After the excitement of being fired at, I then went somewhere a little quieter - The National Gallery. I aren't really an arty person and so this was kind of interesting yet a bit boring at the same time - too much damn religious stuff for my liking! There are only so many naked babies pointing at the sky or lying on clouds that I can stand in one afternoon!
Finally for the day (after dinner) I went on a very good, although over-crowded, Jack the Ripper walking tour (with 'The Original London Walks') around the East end of London. A very busy day in all!
Mon 17-Nov 03 London - Raining :-(
The whole reason for coming to London was actually for me to get a Work Authorisation (for Ireland) - thereby effectively extending my work permit so that I can actually complete the contract I was currently on (which runs until the end of June 2004). Therefore, this morning I went along to the Irish Embassy's Visa office to apply (and convince them that my degree was in fact real!) before returning to sightseeing. Due to pick up my Passport with the new Work Authorisation on Friday.
As it was just across the road, I then had a nosey around Harrods (at £450 soup bowls etc - that's over NZ$1200!). Realising that I was really out of my league I then caught a tube to Tower Hill to join a tour of The Tower of London. After starting a tour with one of the Yeoman of the Guard ('Beefeaters') it got rained out! To shelter from the weather I wandered around the various exhibitions in the White Tower (a large display of weapons and armour etc) and then into the Jewel House to see the Crown Jewels - both very impressive.
A 'Beefeater' (Yeoman of the Guard), Tower of London
The Tower of London
The Jewel House, Tower of London
A Raven, at the Tower of London
Due to bad weather and some bad timing, that is all to report for today!
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