london.

well christmas day has officially come to an end here in germany & i’ve never had a christmas quite like this one. i’ll post photos from that another time. before i do though, i’m off on another wee adventure tomorrow evening when i board a plane bound for ireland. it’ll be the longest trip away i’ve had since being here, and if i find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow somewhere in dublin maybe i might just stay! before all of that though i think it’s best i update this here blog on my last trip two weeks ago which was to london…

it seems that aoife and i don’t have the best of luck in travelling together. our trip to london started off not quite as well as we’d hoped! after showering at 1.30am, a call from aoife let me know snow had delayed our flight by four hours, meaning we could both go back to sleep for a little bit. we met at the main station at 5.30am and waited for the shuttle we’d planned to take to the airport at 6am, arriving to the stop only to realize that it only went at 3am (the one we were to originally take) and 9am. a little panicked, we ran to see if we could get there by train. two trains later and with half an hour to kill before our final train to Weeze, we made a pitstop and arrived back at the platform to see that our train was cancelled. it seems that despite snow falling each and every year, the german train company still doesn’t deal with it, instead simply cancelling trains, even to such vital places as airports!! we’d laughed earlier on about how the train timetable stated beneath that it was “information without guarantee”… anyway, we got there eventually (even if it was a 100 euro taxi ride).

so after all that, arriving into london was very cool! we drove past black taxi cabs, houses that looked like they should be in Love Actually or Coronation Street, and of course street signs auf Englisch everywhere! after four months living in Germany, i think that was probably one of the highlights for me – going everywhere and being able to understand everything, the people around me, being able to read a newspaper, asking for directions easily… and it  didn’t take long for all of my german to be gone out of my mind. when i arrived back here in germany i accidentally ordered food in a shop in straight out English, before stopping and realizing again where i was! i also enjoyed not having to consciously decide which way to look before crossing the road…

highlights of the trip of course included the things you’d expect – seeing all of the classic london sights – big ben, the tower of london, Westminster abbey, Buckingham palace (which was surprisingly smaller than i’d imagined). covent gardens was also a real highlight for me. i saw some really great street performers and found the most brilliant second hand markets, where i heard one guy say in the most british accent i’ve ever heard “’ow much is dis one guvnor?”. i had a wee giggle to myself then because all of the stallholders would give you such detailed information about all of the various items they had for sale, date and place of origin etc, i could well have been in an episode of Antiques Roadshow.

i met up with giles, a friend from uni in Auckland, and we saw the national gallery and the national portrait gallery. the portrait one was incredible! i could’ve stayed there for hours. afterwards, we headed towards Abbey Road where people hold up traffic by walking back and forth across the pedestrian crossing there to reenact the famous Beatles cover photo. it was probably one of the most hilarious things i’ve seen and i can imagine it must be chaos in the summertime. it was a little dark by the time we got there, and rushhour, but we managed to get a couple of pics without holding too many cars up!  i think to get a really good one though would definitely require you to a) ignore car horns blaring at you and b) literally stand in the middle of the road where the cars will proceed to toot at you til you move.
winter wonderland was happening in hyde park so we checked it out before giles headed home and it was pretty crazy to see how similar they were to the german Christmas markets, glühwein and beer gardens even! it was again a whirlwind of a trip where walking for hours and hours all day sees me sleep better than ever, but definitely a place i’d like to spend more time in.

i took a lot of photos…

snow + beautiful sunrise outside düsseldorf weeze airport - i think at this point it was -12 degrees outside.
snow + beautiful sunrise outside düsseldorf weeze airport – i think at this point it was -12 degrees outside.

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snow covered germany beneath us.
snow covered germany beneath us.

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first sights of typically british looking housing!
first sights of typically british looking housing!
my first flat white in four months, and the beginning of a caffeine-overloaded weekend.
my first flat white in four months, and the beginning of a caffeine-overloaded weekend.
amazing leather bags... ohhhh.
amazing leather bags… ohhhh.
riding the escalators in the london underground. they go five times as quick as normal escalators so getting on is a bit of fun.
riding the escalators in the london underground. they go five times as quick as normal escalators so getting on is a bit of fun.
loads of beautiful christmas lights.
loads of beautiful christmas lights.

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italian pasta.
italian pasta.

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marmite!
marmite!

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bound for buckingham.
bound for buckingham.
the palace gates!
the palace gates!

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the changing of the guards. managed to get a reasonably good spot.
the changing of the guards. managed to get a reasonably good spot.

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anzac soldiers memorial.
anzac soldiers memorial.

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just guarding the palace guys, no sweat.
just guarding the palace guys, no sweat.
temporary sculpture in trafalgar square.
temporary sculpture in trafalgar square.

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churchill war rooms.
churchill war rooms.
big ben!
big ben!

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so many english pubs (check out how awesome that cobbled road is eh?)
so many english pubs (check out how awesome that cobbled road is eh?)

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street performer dude at covent garden.
street performer dude at covent garden.
the guy in the background was an australian, with a tennis racket around his body performing to a crowd in a onesie in the freezing cold. dedicated for sure.
the guy in the background was an australian, with a tennis racket around his body performing to a crowd in a onesie in the freezing cold. dedicated for sure.
so christmassy!!
so christmassy!!

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outside the national gallery.
outside the national gallery.

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abbey road.
abbey road.

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the tower of london as seen from london bridge.
the tower of london as seen from london bridge.

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winter wonderland christmas markets at hyde park.
winter wonderland christmas markets at hyde park.

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