London et al

14 02 2011

As I said before, this weekend I went to London. I flew out on Thursday evening and came back to Dublin this morning. Ann, my sister, with whom I was staying has some information on her blog. However we did not spend all the time together. Thursday night, as soon as I landed I went straight to St Albans, where my sister, brother, sister’s bf and most importantly BERNARD were waiting for me at the train station. It was a coincidence that my brother had to be in London (or close enough) in the same week I was flying in (though he flew back out on the Friday) for work commitments, so we had to meet. The others had already had dinner…I did arrive at 9:30pm after all. However we traipsed to another restaurant we found open (an Indian restaurant), where I had some dinner, and the others shared some platters. After dinner we said our goodbyes to Stephen and the rest went to Ann’s place to settle down and sleep.

Friday saw Bernard and myself wake up early, since we had to get a coach to Birmingham from Victoria Station at 8am, which is around 1hour away from my sister. Why go to Birmingham if we went to London? Well the University of Birmingham had a postgraduate open day, which Bernard (and myself (A) (A) ) were interested in. Overall it was good to see another University, and we got to meet the course coordinator who was really nice and got on a tour of the University led by a PhD student there. However, I felt there were some things to be improved…especially the absence of the Civil Engineering Department in the Postgraduate Research Fair.

After Birmingham, we again caught the coach back to London and had a wonderful (heqq hmmm cough splutter) trip back. We met Ann and Michael in the centre of London, where we had dinner at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen near Covent Garden. The food and service were great I must say and I was pleasantly impressed. After dinner we went straight to the Savoy for LEGALLY BLONDE. We really had a fun night out and it was made all the more special to spot an old friend we knew in high school in the cast. I think it was an excellent show. After the show we went for a short walk along the South Bank and then back home to sleep.

And sleep we did…so that Saturday we had a late (or lateish start, at about 10am). We did some shopping in Kilburn, including glasses for Ann and some shoes for Bernard and myself, then went to the centre of London, had some lunch and then visited the Transport Museum. My favourite poster there…this one below:

London Transport Poster

It really sets you in the frame of mind of how important the use of public transport is. Bernard also like the children’s activities (me too…and I won at Guess Who WEEEE).

After that we went to St Paul’s and sat in on part of the Evensong and then went for a long walk on the South Bank to Tower Bridge. We had dinner at Zizzi where the food was really good, but I would have appreciated slightly larger portions. After that it was to the Tower of London for the Ceremony of the Keys. I had been before, and at least Bernard was happy cos he got to see his version of the Beefeaters, who are actually guards. And obviously the Beefeaters themselves. Then back home to sleep.

On Sunday, Ann and Michael decided to stay home. So myself and Bernard caught the tube to Greenpark. First up…look for breakfast. I had been wanting an English Breakfast, which Bernard had mentioned the night before. We spied The Clarence pub and saw they had and offer of £10 for a breakfast for two, including a hot drink, which was a good bargain I guess. We got 2 sausages, 2 eggs, toast, baked beans, a mushrooms, a tomato, bacon and a hot chocolate…MMMMMMMMM. After that we made our way to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guards. We found a good place and waited for around 30minutes until everything started (if you want really good location however you need to be there much before). In my opinion the Ceremony of the Keys is a much better Ceremony, particularly since you get to have someone explaining what is happening. In the changing of the guards you just watch but do not understand.

After that came shopping in Oxford Street, and I guess we did some minor damage to our pockets, but enjoyed ourselves. Soon it was 5:30pm and time to go home in order to go out to dinner with Ann and Michael. We walked to Bond Station and whilst going down the stairs, I suddenly found myself flying down the stairs on my bum. Yeps, I slipped, and I have a nice big purple, red, wine coloured bruise to prove it. We went home and tried to book The Wet Fish, but they told us they were not taking any bookings. We nevertheless went to West Hampstead (free on the Tube Replacement after all) and looked for a restaurant. Hard headed Ann as ever (and I do not blame her) still went into The Wet Fish and Yippie they had a table for 4 available. Dinner was really really good (and thanks to Bernard’s mum who sponsored most of the dinner for Bernard and myself…sorry Ann and Michael had to pay their own way hihi).

After dinner, it was home to pack and get ready for today. After a short (very short) sleep, we woke up at about 3:15am, said good bye to Ann and Michael and left to the train station to make our way to Gatwick. I said my goodbyes to Bernard who was travelling from the North terminal, then made my way to the South Terminal to wait for my flight, which was 2 hours later. I had some breakfast and then found a bench with no arm rests and had a good nap :). Once the gate was announced, it was onto the plane and back to Dublin.

Till we meet again everyone (in about 8 weeks I guess 😦 ).

Thank you for a great weekend!

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