Well, it’s been a year since we left the UK so we decided to use the last leg of our round-the-world ticket and head to the UK to catch up with friends. A brief visit – 2 weeks including a few days in Hong Kong, but nonetheless definitely worth it.
We flew out on a Friday and got to London Saturday arvo to instantly be reminded of some of the nasty things London has to offer. I had to top up our oysters and given the machines weren’t accepting my credit card, I went to a booth. The guy was extremely rude. He literally THREW the receipts and oysters at me then when I put them in my wallet he yelled at me that I was supposed to sign that one. Nice of him to tell me. I shook my head then had a good bitch to Kim about it.
Next we headed to Knightsbridge to see Jono at work. You’d think peoplem would get out of the way of two people with massive packs on. Nup, we’re in London. Grrr.
So we finally got to Jono’s office and gave him a massive hug! We had a great chat then ordered a taxi and off we went to his flat. And then our taxi broke down. hehe. Luckily for us, we were right near Victoria station, so we walked down there caught a tube and bus to get to Crystal Palace (otherwise known as Bumphuc, Idaho). Jono gave us dinner and although we thought we were up for a movie and so excited to be back in London, I was soon asleep on the couch.
Next day we were up and heading out for Yum Cha with Brig and Neil in Canary Wharf – Royal China is THE best! We had a great lunch that went for quite a few hours and then we all hopped on a clipper after Kim and I realised we’d never actually been ON the Thames! It was a great ride (even though I got stinky Thames water on my face out the back) all the way to Waterloo where we jumped off and headed over to Trafalgar Square.
I then had an idea to go visit Buckingham Palace (something I’d always intended to do when we lived there for 2 years). So we headed through that big arch thing, discovered where they do the horse thing, walked through Hyde park and bought 50p loaves of beautiful bread on the way. Oh, we also took a photo of the Poms baring it all in Hyde park in the sunshine!
The sun was shining – it was such a beautiful day! Buckingham palace looked the same as it did when we were there in 2005 – not surprisingly really 🙂 We then headed through Green park and along to Liecester Square where we got a Haagen Dazs – yummo!
We said a goodbye to Neil and Brig and headed home with Jono where we went out for a cheap but awesome dinner in Crystal Palace.
Next day we were up at sparrow fart to get to Romford to rent a car. We got there on time, but they opened late and stuffed around. Meanwhile, Brig was waiting for us as she was loaning us her camping gear. When we got there, we made a single trip to get all the gear she had into our tiny little astra. Man, they have some camping gear! We bid her farewell as we stared at the puzzle we had on the sidewalk – how were we gonna fit it all in?!
Well, we managed and after a quick stop at the supermarket, we were on our way. We got on the M25 – something we had only ever heard about before then. Slow? Oh my. Roadworks EVERYWHERE and exactly when our GPS decided to go awol. She was dead to us. And we were still in London! We managed to manually find our way down to New Forest – with our GPS occassionally making an appearance!
New Forest was lovely – ponies, cows and donkeys making their way around unfenced, the way it should be 🙂 We actually missed our campsite because we were so busy looking at them on the road! Thinking back, maybe one of them was in front of the sign. hehe.
We pitched the tent, had some lunch, and then it started raining. So we jumped in the tent and before we knew it, it was 9pm and we had just slept through the afternoon. Damn jetlag. So we got up and had cereal for dinner and went back to sleep 🙂
Next morning we were up early (suprising huh) and we headed out to explore New Forest. We got to Burley where we sampled the local clotted cream fudge, had a cream tea and bought some local apple juice and cider.
We considered a bike ride, but it was threatening to rain and we just knew we’d get caught in it, so we took a drive instead. We headed all around New Forest visiting little towns and along the way saw a whole bunch of horses running wild and across the road into the fields. It was so beautiful! Oh and the bunch of shetland ponies we saw along the way – so gorgeous! We also met a donkey (ass) and I asked Kim to stop to take a photo of him. I got a nice close up as he and his buddies wanted to say hello to me and popped their heads inside the window to have a looksy 🙂 Kim was scared they’d bite off my fingers lol! I gave them a quick pat before Kim took off haha.
We had lunch at the White Buck Inn near Burley which was yummy. The cider I ordered made me sleepy while Kim felt like all the posh old ladies were looking him up and down!
We wandered around for a bit before heading back to our campsite. When it started to rain again, we felt a repeat of the previous day coming on. Yep, asleep again and woke at 9pm to have cereal for dinner! We were making a habit of that!
Up early again the next day, we headed to Monkey World. On the way in, we got another reminder of why we left the UK. A racist teenage boy got the dirtiest look I could pull after a disturbing comment and I was ready to pounce. Kim held me back, lucky for that kid. &*$%^.
So, Monkey World was where we visited all the apes and monkeys who had been rescued from various situations. Some of them looked so very sad 🙁 There were gorgeous Vietnamese ones who were so curious to see us! And another guy who just wanted to annouce himself to the whole world!
Next we headed to Lulworth Cove where both my Physio back in Melbourne and Brig had told us we must go. The pretty little bay is in a perfect horseshoe shape and the waves lap gently on the stone beach. We had an ice cream while watching all the many MANY dogs who were visiting with their masters.
We then noticed all the people climbing a big hill. So just like a Pom joining a queue, we headed up to see what they were doing. It was steep. And the army guys who were training by running up and down it could have testified to that. It took us a fair while to climb up it only to realise we had to walk down another hill to get to the surprise – Durdle Door. But it ended up being quite worth it as the white cliffs were stunning (when the sun came out especially) and Durdle Door itself was quite pretty. We did have a laugh when we saw the Asian tourists arrive with a body board and guitar. It was freeeezing – most of us had beanies on!
So we hiked back up and down the hill before deciding to drive North and stay in Herefordshire for that night. Amazingly, our GPS came back to life just in time to show us the way. We didn’t have much faith in her though at this point.
We drove up towards Wales then headed across a beautiful suspension bridge where we actually entered Wales. And boy did we know it. The signs had the weirdest writing we’d ever seen. How the read that stuff we’ll never know I guess!
Anyway, we found a cute little town called Monmouth where we stopped for a nice coffee. The hot chocolate I had was AMAZING. Seriously, the best I have ever had! The town was gorgeous and clearly a walled city with a moat and all. It was adorable and we explored only a small section of it!
We then headed to our campsite, Doward Park or something similar to that. Although the owner was quite strict and very well organised, the campsite was lovely enough and seemed to run quite well. Unfortunately, in the words of my mother “if you farted, the neighbour could hand you the toilet paper” because the campsites were on top of each other. Ahh well, it was only for the night. We had a lovely walk, found some range to call Jono then settled in for the night after we cooked our dinner.
Next morning we were some of the first up and we packed up and headed to Snowdonia.