Tuesday, December 1, 2009

London Trip (Part 1)

I headed off to London on Saturday. The first flight was an uneventful 14 hours from Brisbane to Dubai in an Emirates A340 - uneventful is a good thing.

The next leg was the 8 hours from Dubai to London and the first flight I've had in an Emirates A380. It's a big plane (you knew that) and had 3 bridges for boarding. I was at the back of the plane on the first floor and it was obvious that these flying beasts take a long time for boarding.

I was always skeptical of some of the airline promos going on - you know, with the idea of bars/lounges, meeting areas and indoor cricket. In reality, the seats and in-seat entertainment screens were slightly wider than those on the A340. Food also took a while to serve - on a longer flight I imagine that the rear seats must be getting breakfast as lunch is being served at the front.

The underground trip from Heathrow to Gloucester Road started off well, with a lady giving me a day-pass as she didn't need it anymore. The hotel proved to be close to the station and the room is quite pleasant. Too easy!

So, with only spasmodic naps under my belt from the past 36 hours I headed out for a quick trip to the London Science museum. It was a cold and rainy Sunday and, you guessed it, the place was full of kids. I don't mind kids (especially those that are stunned by trains and atmospheric engines) and the museum is now free (unlike the last time) so it was all fine. I got a few shots of Puffing Billy, Rocket and the Energy Hall before heading off.

Dinner was at Garfunkel's. I'd never tried it and won't try it again.

Next morning was an early awakening - 4am. After moderating myself at the breakfast buffet I headed out. Yup, out into the wind and rain - it reminded me of London :) I only got so far before stopping in for a coffee and a quick dry...


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My main target was the London Transport Museum to see the displays about the early Underground. It's a nice museum and worth the visit. I was happy to see some stuff on Marc Brunel's tunnelling shield as well as a fair bit on the early underground steam trains. Frankly, I have no desire to have experienced a form of travel that would feel like sucking on the household chimney. Funny thing is, they banned smoking from the underground whilst steam was still in use...

I topped the day with a roast beef dinner and pint at the pub down the road. Happy to see yorkshire pud but wondered if I'd bought the cask's last pint of London Pride. It was about as lively as my old long-term unemployed flat mate. I'll have to find someplace with more than 3 taps...

No pictures sorry - I didn't bring the cable for my camera. D'oh.

PS Love the UK's Yesterday channel's close signal: "Yesterday will return at 6am"