October 3rd to 11th 2015
Saturday, October 3rd
Sunday, October 4th
Sunny Sunday in London. After breakfast in no. 3 I head into Marble Arch. Time for a nice walk through Hyde Park. A few joggers around this early morning. Then through Green Park and passing Buckingham Palace. Now the tourists have arrived. On to St. James Park and the nice little green bridge – one of the best photo-spots in London. Buckingham Palace on one side – and London Eye on the other. From St. James I head back home to Shepherds Bush.
There I leave my bagpack and my camera. Now it’s NFL-time. Underground to Wembley Park. A great number of US NFL-fans on board. The “wow-effect” is gross as they arrive from the platform and take in the amazing view of Wembley Stadium. Miami Dolphins is playing New York Jets on one of the games that take place in London each year. 86.000 spectators – not a single seat left. Lot of action all the time. The worst thing would be if the spectators were bored for 5 seconds. Jets is the best team today. The win comfortable 28 – 14. All in all it’s a 4 hour show, before the 86.000 leaves the stadium. Impressed how they handle all these people leaving – without any problems. They have tried this before.
Underground back to my local hood. This is American day, so dinner is at a KFC, brought back to room 206.
Monday, October 5th
Rainy day in London. This means Museum-day.
First stop is Westminster. I will take a visit to the Churchill War Rooms. It’s in the basement under the Treasury. Churchill used it as a safe headquarter during WW2. It’s exciting and educational as well. You see all the room the slept in, worked in and had their meetings. You get an audio-guide at the entrance telling the story. It’s a good thing to get there early. I get into the museum immediately – when I leave, there’s a huge line.
Then on to South Kensington and another museum. The huge Victoria & Albert Museum. It’s a bit difficult to explain what it is. A mixture between an art museum and artwork-museum. Many things on display. As it happens in places like this, I am having a hard time to figure out what to see. So – I just walk around more or less aimlessly with no plan – and don’t really know what to see and why. Including lunch I stay there for a couple of hours, before heading out to Shepherds Bush and a break.
The evening is the huge shopping centre Westfield just next door. Some book-shopping and a nice burger in one of the many great restaurants at the place.
Tuesday, October 6th
After breakfast, it’s time for a London Classic – Tower of London. I was here 35 years ago, so it’s ok with a revisit. When I get there, it starts to rain – a lot. I get in anyway and check out the old castle. Many fine and old buildings. And museums as well with lots of armour and weapons from the old days. The skies clears and it makes it a bit funnier to walk around feeling the history of the place only disturbed by the many schoolkids around. At noon, I’m hungry. I head over to St. Katherince Docks where I get a pint and a fish’n’chips at a recommended pub Dickens Inn.
Then I continue to Oxford Street. Not for shopping as most people do here, but for checking out the Photographers Gallery. It’s a nice little photo-museum mainly about using photography as documentation back in history. There’s also time for a little shopping. In bookstores of course.
Back to the hotel and a break. I was supposed to go to at Shakespeare-piece at The Globe. But it’s raining tonight, and I had to stay up – outside – for 3 hours. The ticket was cheap, so I have no problem calling it off, and go for a Pizza in Westfield instead. So be it – Shakespeare must wait.
Wednesday, October 7th
There has been too many museums so far. It has to stop now. So this morning I do a classic – find an interesting area and walk around. The area is “The City” – the business district of London. I start at St. Pauls. Then on to Smithfield Marked. That’s a meat-market – but that takes place early in the morning. Not there’s no action – but it’s a fine building. Then on through The City. I pass a few churches and the London Guildhall. Then another covered market - Leadenhall Market. Mainly restaurants – and some people doing shoe shining for all the office workers in The City. Many offices around. Some in old grey buildings – and some in modern glasshouses as well. One of them is “The Gherkin”. Some say it looks like a fat cigar – some say it looks like something else. Then up to Liverpool Street and back to the hotel.
Afternoon is sport again – in the passive way. The Rugby World Cup is taking place in England. It’s huge here. Only World Cup football and the Olympics are bigger. But England is out of the tournament in the preliminary rounds. A huge shock for the locals. Today’s match is at The Stadium – the Olympic Stadium from 2012. They have made the venue a little smaller since then, but anyway we are 55.000 spectators for today’s game between South Africa and USA. South Africa is a giant – and USA a novice. Many spectators from South Africa – very few from USA. The US-team look like a bunch of bikers picked up at a local bar – and the loose by 64 – 0. A little fun at the end, as USA approaches the goal line for a try and all 55.000 shout USA – USA….
Back home again – dinner at Westfield. This time sausages and mash. Nothing compares to it.
Thursday, October 8th
Lovely sunshine today.
Time for a day in the country. Daytrip to Hampton Court Palace. Build by Thomas Wolsey in 1515, but so nice that Henry VIII thought he had to take over. In the 17’th century it was build larger. You can get around into most rooms. That goes for the rooms of Henry VIII and William III as well. You can also look at the kitchen and other rooms. You get an audioguide, so besides seeing the place you learn a bit about old British kings and history.
Outside there’s a fine park with lawns, trees, fountains, flowers, plants – and a nice little café that is good for lunch. I spend 4 hours out here, before heading back to Waterloo by train and then underground to Shepherds Bush.
The evening is Mexican dinner and radio transmission from a local Danish football match.
Friday, October 9th
Another sunny day and another London walk. First by underground to Chalk Farm. That is a fine place for a walk down to Camden. Here you find a market, lots of people and streetfood from all over the world. Unfortunately, it’s too early for lunch. It looks great though.
Then I continue along Regent’s Canal. Many houseboats here side by side. The canal ends at Regents Park. I check this out as well. Now I’m hungry. I get a miserable burger at a café in the park. Should have gone for streetfood in Camden instead.
I end down at Baker Street, from where I get back for a break at the hotel.
At 5 I’m off again. First pizza in Westfield, then the underground to Wembley Park and Wembley Stadium. This is becoming a habit – but a nice one. This time it is football – the real deal. European qualifying between England and Estonia. England has qualified – Estonia are already out. 75.000 spectators for a match without meaning – that’s ok. England win by 2-0, without playing very good. Theo Walcott and Raheem Sterling scoring.
Then back– nice and quiet – again – they know how to handle 75.000 people.
Saturday, October 10th
Saturday morning. There’s a famous market close by. It’s at Portobello Road. Not that I need anything, but it’s a fun place to visit and do some people watching. Before I go there I take a stroll around Notting Hill. No Hugh Grant this morning.
Later it’s time for today highlight – yes – the highlight of this trip. We are talking Rugby – World Cup. Australia vs. Wales – a top match. At Twickenham – the Wembley of Rugby. 80.000 people out there. And when they sing the Wales national anthem you get goosebumps – so great. Both teams are ready for quarterfinal, but the match is important anyway. The winner will play Scotland – the loser South Africa - and that makes a big difference.
Both teams try hard for a try but defence is too good. Even when they are just yards short, they don’t get into try-area. Therefore, the number of penalty kick goals is decisive. The Aussies win by 18-6. The crowd applause both teams – because rugby-fans behave. Or so they say. Because a losing Wales-fan next me doesn’t. He wants to fight an Aussie-fan in the same sector. More wise fans make sure they are split with no harm done.
Then back. This time unorganized – but finally I get back home. Last coins is spend for vanilla fudge in Westfield. A great day – now we are near the end of this trip.
Sunday, October 11th
Exit London. A fine and hectic trip. I get up at 6.30. Then Central Line to Liverpool Street and Stansted Express to Stansted. It has improved since last time I was here. Not as chaotic as seen before. RyanAir at 11.25. We arrive in Tirstrup 20 minutes early – time for fanfare. Bus to Aarhus and all the way back to my apartment. Turn on the TV – there’s Rugby.
An action-packed week in London lies ahead. I start in the airport-bus for Aarhus airport at noon. Then it’s RyanAir to Stansted. It’s 3 pm – local time – as we land. Then the Stansted-express to Liverpool Street and a top-up on my Oyster-card allows me to take a Circle Line to Shepherds Bush. I check in at Holland House Hotel. They have very bad reviews on Tripadvisor, but it’s not that bad – though it’s not The Ritz.
Dinner at a local Jamie Oliver Café. A great steak. Evening trip to Knightsbridge and Harrods. Back to the hotel room 206. Instantcoffee, wi-fi not working and England is in a state of trauma losing out on the World Cup Rugby. More about this later.