After a wonderful relaxing time in Westbourne, we shared one last pub lunch with our lovely hosts to celebrate a birthday before boarding a train for the bright lights of London.
We disembarked in Waterloo which was bustling even late Saturday afternoon, and met Dana who had kindly agreed to take us in for the weekend and to show us around. She proved to be an excellent tour guide, starting with infamous pub The Slug, a fave hangout of kiwis abroad.
Feeling slightly the worse for wear but nonetheless eager to experience all we could, the next morning we braved the public transport system to find ourselves at Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard. We acquired two more familiar faces during our roam of the city, Hamish and Fraser, who are also both civil engineers by trade, and received a tour of the city detailed in structural advice perhaps not often found in the average walking tour!
The weekend concluded with dinner, football and catch ups with more familiar faces, Alyse and Hayden before an early night was due.
Monday found us again navigating the London transport system, this time to Gatwick, and immensely grateful for clever aunt Sandra’s advice to buy a return ticket on the way in – a few quid extra at the start ending up saving us from having to buy a ticket at all!
Also a shout out is due to the kind hotelier at fancy Grosvenor who took pity on us and printed out our boarding passes in the Victoria station terminal. Unbeknownst to us, budget airlines over here remain in the dark ages and require physical tickets! Odd, considering we flew 26 hours from little old NZ without needing anything more than a swipe of the mobile.
Our travels have now brought us to the Emerald Isle where we have hired a car and are spending a week circumnavigating the island. We will post for Ireland soon, but for now here are some snaps of our London experience – though not many as unfortunately there was a camera issue! They also don’t do it justice – we had such a great time catching up with friends we hadn’t seen in ages and experiencing London life for ourselves!
Kelly’s pro travel tip: As mentioned above travelling with an engineer can be a refreshing and enlightening experience. Have you ever wondered how a 15th century stone abbey avoids excess settlement? Now you can! You can acquire your own travelling engineer at the base of any large monument or structure. (He’ll be the one slapping the stone foundations and mumbling to himself). Note: Approach cautiously as they startle easily.