Plumstead – Cambridge – Orpington, Kent
Friday the 22nd June 2012
Our last day in Plumstead 🙁 We slowly got packed up and ready to go. It was a really restful mini-break in the middle of our megamoon. We still saw a lot of the English countryside, but it wasn’t too hectic.I managed a quick meadow jaunt in my Aunty Irene’s welly boots, so pretty out there.Â We waved good bye to the relies and programmed up Bonnie and headed on! We were bound for Cambridge – student and college central. It was about 2 hours from Irene and Dave and rained a little on the way. We arrived, parked and spent a couple of hours wandering the city. Due to exams the colleges were closed to the public – you can usually wander around for a pound or two. We went to the river to watch people have a go at punting – you have a 110 percent chance of falling in doing it! Even experienced punters still fall in quite often. I would like to spend a day or two exploring that area – it’s very pretty, but chock full of students!
We continued on to face the terror of the London traffic – it took quite awhile to get over the Queen Elizabeth II bridge (Great Uncle Peter tells me it’s known as the “Betty” bridge) – it was a great view, which we had time to enjoy as the traffic was so slow. We eventually got over and through it and arrived in Kent – which is in South London. We were welcomed in by Great Aunty Barb and Great Uncle Peter – I have met them before – but not as recently as Irene and Dave. They are great fun and very lovely! I still have not been able to figure out why my Nanny says “ucka ducka doo” and cackles a lot, because neither of her sisters do it! Anyhoo, we also met Deborah – who is Barbara’s daughter. We sat and had a few vinos then settled down to Aunty Barb’s lasagna – which to Greg’s delight had bacon in it! (OK , so I hoed into it as well!)
Saturday the 23rd June 2012 – London City
We wakened in the morning to be greeted by a knock on the door and a cup of tea presented! Both my Great Uncles are gentleman that’s for sure! Sitting in bed enjoying a cuppa before you start the day is almost as good as Darwin knocking on your tent with a cup of coca tea…;) We had breaky – the English seem to like their plunger coffee accompanied by toast and cereal. (well, the English I have met anyhoo!) and got a semi-plan formed for the day. I must admit, still having a bit of a cold, I tuned out and gasbagged to Barbara in the kitchen while Peter and Greg sorted out maps and trains and all that.
We took the train into London – it only takes around ten minutes on the express line from Orpington. You are greeted by the large majestic building both old and new as you trundle along. London has the most eclectic mix of building we have seen so far – both old, new and downright odd. We arrived into town and wandered along the riverside near London Bridge train station (yes, I totally hummed the song). The HMS Belfast is moored along there – it is an Imperial war museum, very cool to gander at. We didn’t go in though, as we had plans to go to the Tower of London.
We walked across the the Tower Bridge – it’s a very, very cool bridge! (What more can you say, it has great views). We arrived at the Tower of London ticket box and had a quick bite to eat before attempting the lines to get in to the Tower . We also checked out the possibility of going to a show – but nearly everything was sold out for the weekend – Dang!
After waiting only a little while, we got our ticket and strolled in. What can I say the place is huge – if you are committed to seeing everything, reserve at least 3 to 4 hours. If you are say, on the end of a major holiday and possibly a little over large tourist attraction, you can skim the best of it in an hour or two!
Anyhoo, we saw the Crown Jewels exhibit – very pretty and interesting. I liked the look of some of the gems! We spent ages trying to figure out what a bunch of people were looking at in one window – it was a giant punch bowl that holds 144 bottles of wine! What else..hmm.. there was a regimental section – full of weapons and suits of armour from the Kings of old, a special exhibit on the history of the Crown Jewels… and all sorts really.
You can take a guided tour with a Yeoman guard who will belt out the history of the place at the top of his lungs whilst walking you around the grounds – good entertainment! We sort of eavesdropped on them as we wanted to scoot through at our own pace. You can walk the guardsman walls which affords pretty views of London – it’s kind of odd as the castle is so old and then you look out onto some very new buildings with double decker buses tootling past.Â There are also actors in period dress entertaining all over the place. We didn’t get to go into the war museum or the dungeon due to fear of large crowds syndrome. Still, Tower of London was very good and well worth a visit!
Hmm, what next. (Apologies – writing this late at night!) – we wandered around London a little. We were going to attempt walking past Buckingham Palace – but the Olympics means everything is ker-plunky in London, the short route was closed. We instead stopped in and had afternoon tea for two in Garfunkels! Tea, sandwiches, cupcake and scones – yummmo! We wandered over to the Eye to check out the line, decided there was too much fear, then went and confirmed our booking for the cruise on the Thames the next day. The area around the Eye is very busy! So many people dressed in ao many costumes trying to get your money on the street! Shrek, Daisy, Minnie Mouse, Jack Black, Spongebob, Surf, Smurfette and the list goes on and oooon!
We caught the train home and cosied up for the night Spent a bit of time chatting with the reli’s and crashed. We did establish that we needed to acquire some nice pants for Greg to wear on the cruise – luckily Peter had a spare nice shirt and shoes for him to borrow. The plan for the next day was Marks and Spencer shops in the AM, rest then head into London in the afternoon! Awesome sauce!