Friday, March 31, 2006

Europe Installment #2

Good Evening Everyone!!!

Thank you so much for all of the fantastic emails that you have sent to me! It has made me feel so much better to hear from you all so keep them coming!

Ive been sightseeing quite a bit over the last few days and some very funny/weird things have happened!

Pigeon Man
On Monday David & I went into London to sort out banking etc etc and afterwards walked around the city for a bit. We ended up at Trafalgar Square and started doing the tourist thing taking lots of photos and pointing at everything saying 'How good is that statue' etc etc.... Anyway we were walking through a flock of pigeons and this old Indian man came up to me and put bird seed on my head! The next thing I new I had pigeons landing all over me!!!! It was hilarious. Its lucky I'm not scared of the flying rats because they then wouldn't leave me alone as I started to walk away! It was so random.... the Indian guy was then calling out to David 'you take photo, you take photo' then wanted to see it once he'd taken it! It must be a regular thing that he does because we walked past there again today and he was doing it to another group of people!

Bus driver
Monday night I went to visit Sal (Jenny Ahearn's little sister for those of you who know her/ my close family friend - may as well be cousin). I needed to make my way from Fulham to Tooting Bec which in itself wasn't difficult. I had my tube map in hand and was setting off feeling pretty confident about where I was headed. I jump on the bus and ask the driver for a ticket to Fulham Broadway where I could get a train to Tooting Bec. He started rambling on about how I was going the wrong way then leans down beneath his feet (all the while steering the bus) and gets out his map. He then sticks it through his glass cage (it seems of emotion Dan/Hugo/Charlie/Guy) and asks me to read the stop he is pointing to. it seems he is pointing to Wimbledon - which I then proudly announce but apparently his fingers were so fat they stretched from Putney Bridge to Wimbledon and he had wanted me to say Putney bridge. He then proceeded to rant on about how on earth had I found my way from down under to the Northern Hemisphere but not find the quickest way to Tooting Bec. I just kept laughing - what else could I do??? So he tells me to stay on the bus until he says to get off which I do. When he say 'OK get off here' much to my embarrassment he gets off with me, locks the bus doors and stands me in front of the bus shelter. My new found friend then takes it upon himself to teach me how to read a map of the tube stops/bus stops while fifteen other people stand and stare and the bus load of passengers look like they are about to start throwing things from the bus window as I'm holding them up from getting home!! Anyway despite the embarrassment he did help me find my way to Tooting and when I go there Sal was waiting!

Man under the train
One of the strangest things that I have encountered is the announcements on the tube. They are all so blunt! Firstly it is strange having a train driver that you can actually understand but secondly it is strange being given constant blunt announcements about what is going on. On Tuesday there was a delay (only 5 minutes or so) and the driver announced that the delay was a result of a Man being under the train at the next station!!! I almost fell off my seat! Its no wonder poms whinge so much, they are depressed because of the weather then they hear about someone topping themselves then they look out the window and its still grey! I couldn't''t believe it but sure enough at the next stop I hear loud and clear over the loudspeaker that a man is splattered across the tracks. This is definitely something I need to get used to.

Yesterday I bought a ticket for a The Original Bus Tour of London. It basically drover 4 routes around the city to show all of the major attractions. I saw the Tower of London, The London Bridge, Hyde Park, The London Eye, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey. Being quietly financially conscious at the moment I thought I may as well use this ticket again today - after all who's going to question a smiling Aussie? So I managed to get back on the tour again today and saw the London Guard museum, changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace and St Paul's Cathedral. St Paul's has definitely been my favourite so far and I am hoping to go back for a service later this week. I got some amazing photos. Although London reminds me of Sydney in some senses; I have found the people really friendly so far, its built on water - the list goes on (oh, Delta Goodrem just came on the radio - yay!) one major difference that Ive noticed is that none of the buildings have any colour. It is all so grey. I guess its because everything is built from limestone and is decorated with carvings etc.

The weather
hasn't been too bad although yesterday it was sunny in the morning, cloudy by midday, sunny again, sprinkling then pouring and then I got hailed on!!! Yes, hail in London. And, Ev & LJ I don't believe you about having not experienced thunder storms before because it was also thundering!

Well that's it for the moment. Looking forward to hearing from you all!

Think I might go watch the Tah's on Saturday afternoon - get an Aussie injection!

Missing you all

xx Loz

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hello from Grey London

Hello everyone!

Well here I am on the first leg of my tour of Europe. I am feeling a bit displaced at the moment. It is so surreal having talked about travelling for so long and now being here.

The flight over was fantastic. Despite the airline being somewhat budget (ie no TVs on the backs of seats) the service was amazing. The Japanese people were incredibly lovely - they couldn't have done enough for us. In Osaka we had a one night & half day stopover but couldn't really leave the airport. The airport is built on a pontoon in the middle of the harbour. It was crazy. We didn't realise until we were taking off for the second flight - from Osaka to London but it was literally like putting a pontoon in Sydney Harbour then landing on it. Despite not leaving the airport precinct I was inspired to return to Japan as the people were so lovely & the landscape - from the air amazing.

Arrived in London without a hitch. Brett met us at the airport & took us straight back to his place. After winding down for a bit we had a few drinks & went to a pub at Putney (I think it was called the Duck & Swan or something like that). Met an English man named Jules (how English dahhhrling) and an Aussie named Anthony. Anthony was from Perth & has been here for four years. It was good getting some advice on places to go etc etc.

Sunday morning we walked into Putney (from Fulham) along the Thames. It is exactly as everyone describes it - brown & smelly! Although I was very surprised at the animals. We saw a squirrel & heaps of ducks & geese. There was also a rowing race on leading up to the Oxford to Cambridge next weekend. It was awesome (get it Dan??) seeing so many boats rowing down the river. We went shopping for a bit but were all in a bit of a daze so just picked up some food & sim card.

My number is: +447748548855

I'm feeling a bit homesick at the moment so please message/call whenever!! I'm going to see Sal Ahearn tonight & stay at her place - it will be great to see someone who is like family to me. I'm sure Ill feel more at home when I see her.

Off to London today to sort out banking & find my feet a bit. Kate - you should see the op shops here!!! I know Im not supposed to be shopping but they are great & seem to be everywhere!

I'll email again soon but hope to hear back from you with all the news from home.

Love to you all

Loz xxx