Saturday, May 30, 2009

Orangutang Moments

So for the 2 of you who are reading this. My parents (Jenny and Alan for those of you that don't know) have just returned back to N.Z after 2 weeks visiting us in the U.K. They may have only been here for 2 weeks but we packed enough into them so that they got a months worth of sightseeing.
Unfortunately our passports are STILL with the home office so we were unable to take them out of the U.K to other parts of Europe but we are holding out on the idea that they may decide to come back and see us again and maybe we will get to show them Europe then!

Right on to London:
We spend 3 nights staying in a hostel in London. We arrived at Victoria train station at 6pm on a Friday night and proceeded to scare the crap out of my parents with the amount of people that were there at that time of the day. Amber and I left them in the station with all the bags and went to sort out travel cards for them on the underground. When we got back around 20 minutes later they looked like deers caught in headlights. We then decided to make it worse by going from there to the Victoria Underground. This was also very busy (x100) and we had 2 connections to get to where we needed to be. When we finally got back up into daylight we found ourselves in a cute little district (which is also the backpackers capital of London) we headed in the direction of where the hostel should have been only to discover that it wasn't there. (Google map fail) after walking around the block a few times, we left my parents once again with the luggage in a safe looking place and went scouting on ahead. Finally we find it and Amber goes on ahead to check us in and I go back to get Mum and Dad and then Amber comes running up the street to inform us that the beds in the rooms that we had booked had broken and they were sending us to their sister hostel to stay. Thankfully this was not too far away. We made to the hostel and got our rooms which we were told were on the third floor. the first two flights were not too bad but the third flight of stairs turned into a mountain climbing expedition. So we dropped off all our luggage and high-tailed it to the nearest watering facility for dehydrated Kiwis! After a few pints we were all feeling in a much better frame of mind and looking forward to the next adventure. I shall now pass along the computer to my lovely co-host to continue the tale.

The lovely co-host (me) felt it was time for a picture :) So, as you can see this is Shelley with her parents on the bank of the Thames with the clock tower that holds Big Ben (for those that don't know, the clock is NOT Big Ben, Big Ben is the name of the bell!) and the Houses of Parliament in the background. This was our first full day in London and we are standing on Waterloo Pier :)
The next BIG adventure was directly in front of us (and above us too). . .
Now, you might not recognise this; but here is Shelley's mummy standing in a capsule quite a few feet above the ground on a GIANT Ferris Wheel. . .In London. . .that's right; it's the London Eye!!! A "flight" (they call them Flights, and they act like it's a flight too, no scissors, nail files or sharp objects and they come on after you leave with mirrors on poles and check to make sure that nothing's been left behind!!!) takes half an hour and will take you 135metres up (and 424metres around) As I'm a "tad" afraid of heights, I was a leetle worried about how I might cope on it, but the capsules are so large and secure that you don't really feel the movement or the height at all! The only time I got a little nervous was when we went over the very top, and even then it was only when I looked at the actual machinations of the thing. The views were amazing cause the way it works means that you get a 360 degree view of everything!

So that was the morning of our first day. . .We then got on a tube or two and headed to Covent Garden

Shelley and her mum went around the square shopping and Alan and I found a street performer spot to park ourselves in front of while they did this.
We then took them to the yummiest french patisserie in all of London. Patisserie Valerie. . .
Where we ate good food and drunk good coffee!!!
On the way back to our hostel, we went to Westfield London in Shepherd's Bush. . .This is the Largest shopping centre in London, and quite possibly in all of the UK. . .Even Shelley and Jenny; who are avid shoppers, could only walk around it with their mouths hanging open. . .Enclosed within the centre is a section called "The Village". Now I know you'll all be thinking M. Night Shyamalan's "red is bad" boring little film. . .but, no. "The Village" in Westfield, London is the "designer" shops, think "Tiffany's", "Gucci" and "Versace". . .You know, those stores that don't have price tags cause if you have to ask, you can't afford it. . .which means of course, that we can't even afford to look at them!
So back to the hostel. . .after our mountain climbing expedition back to our room we had enough time to collapse:

Before us girls got ourselves all glammed up for a night on the town. . .well, ok, a trip to West End to see The Phantom of the Opera, but still, glammed up!!
So anyway; that was our first day in London. . .I shall pass you back to the other lovely co-host so she can continue to tell you about our time in The Big City. . .

Right so err I think we were about to start blathering on about Phantom. It was freakin awesome! I saw Phantom back in NZ in Auckland (it was a big production for the likes of NZ) but nothing compared to this. The sets and costumes alone were worth the cost of the ticket. (By the way, big thanks are to be had to Bank of Dad - A lending institution ever since I can remember for all the amazing adventures we had as he funded the whole trip). Anyway it was heaps of fun watching the show and trying to predict where the phantom was going to pop up next.... he was a very busy little ghostie as he did get round a lot!

Anyway I think I will leave it there for now and finish our London adventures in another post as I think we have been prattling on for long enough.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

.... And we're back!

Hello everyone. It has been a while since we last posted as we have not been doing much until recently. April was rather uneventful as we were waiting for all our Kiwi peeps to arrive. The first to arrive to the Mother Country was Simon we had 3 days with him and managed to pack in London, Brighton and Horsham Bird Park.

The second and third photos were taken at Brighton Pier. Amber and Simon are on a ride called Extreme Scream, and scream she did. I was sitting next to some ladies while they were on this ride and the ladies were commenting on how Amber screamed her head off for the whole ride. She didn't stop once. I don't know how she managed to breathe! Amber said when she got off the ride that she had aged 10 years. I can't say I blame her, the chair went up up up and hung there for a couple of minutes and then swung down really fast over the sea and the pier and all the people on the pier. I think Simon enjoyed it though.

We also took him for a major tour around London but there are no photos for that day as we didn't remember to take the camera. We also didn't take the London map that day and so ended up walking quite a bit further than we meant to and Simon was so tired that he fell asleep on the train going home, but good fun was had by all.

The above photo is Simon meeting Igor one of the owls at the Bird of Prey Centre. Igor is very cool and friendly and as you can see is also quite pretty.

So Simon had to leave us after only 3 days to go on his Contiki Tour. He will be back though in a couple of weeks.

At the moment we have my parents staying with us. I am amazed that they flew half way around the world just to visit us! I am very touched that they thought it was worth it and they have come in time for my birthday! We have them for 2 weeks so watch this space for more adventures and shenanigans.