eu2011

Bratislava and Budapest: 12th September

We were sad to leave Prague, if only for the simple reason that it was actually hotter in Budapest. We had a very nice lunch stop in Bratislava (yeeeees I always have lunch in Bratislava daahling. I don’t know, it just seems weird to be able to say I’ve had lunch in Bratislava. ANYWHO) which is very pretty.

We had lunch at a very nice italian place before taking a wee look around the main square of the old town.

Oh yeah - speaking of I <3 [insert here] signs, we found this in Bratislava:

Needless to say, I Tomato Pizza was not the Italian place we went to. 

After Bratislava, we made our slow way into Budapest (freakin’ 3 and a half hours or something. Stupid Budapest traffic). We arrived at our hotel to find that none of the aircon units was working, in the 30-oddº heat. After the initial stress of this, and the slightly heartening discovery that the windows did open, we had a lovely, relaxing evening cruise on the Danube, to see Budapest’s magnificent buildings lit up. 

This is their Parliament. I’ve seen it before, in the daytime, but it really is spectacular at night. Even this photo (which I am very happy with, it is the only one out of about 27 which wasn’t blurry) can’t do justice to how beautiful it was. 

(I know, dreadful photo, but it’s the only one I could get of the Liberty Statue)

The cruise was wonderful, the breeze was cool, the food was nice, and the information provided by Sophie (our local guide) was interesting (and she had the most charming way of speaking english I have ever heard. She said ‘we used to have a rebellion’ instead of 'we had a rebellion.’ Which must be what I sound like when I attempt tense in French). 

After the cruise we headed back to our rooms so we could lie awake in the heat and the noise for the whole night. I won’t call it sleeping.

Yes, Minister and Much Ado About Nothing - London: Saturday 3rd September

We began another glorious day with a wander around Westminster, all the time expecting to see Sir Humphrey Appleby and Malcolm Tucker wandering along the street, arguing vociferously. 

Boudicca oversees the debacle that is London traffic and no doubt tries to keep Westminster and Whitehall in check.

Even though I know it’s just a clock, I always get a little thrill when I see Big Ben and the rest of Westminster, such a beautiful building (they know how to house their leaders in London - so much nicer than the Beehive).

This next one is my favourite photo of the bunch - 

- apart from perhaps this one!

The place was heaving with people, all snapping pictures. I feel sorry for Londoners who have to walk by Parliament on their way to work, through the obstacle course of tourists.

The lines for Westminster Abbey were huuuuuge, so we settled for some pics outside:

We wandered along towards Millbank, taking a gander at the HQs of both MI5 and MI6, before heading across the river.

We had a marvellous lunch at a place next to the Globe called Tas Pide - mine was a traditional Pide (middle eastern pizza-type thing) with garlic sausage and fresh tomato. Just to make you jealous.

After lunch, I headed next door to the Globe (well, really the Globe v. 2.0 - the original burned down) to see Much Ado About Nothing!

It was absolutely fantastic and I managed to get a terrible picture of the musicians before being told to put my camera away:

Benedick and Beatrice were particularly good, as well as Dogberry and Verges (Verges actually got a bucket of water emptied over his head while on stage).

I was a ‘groundling,’ therefore had to stand in the yard for the whole three hours, hence this slightly bemused-looking self-shot from the interval:

On my way back across Millennium Bridge towards the tube, I spotted an odd thing - little padlocks attached to the cables of the bridge.

Apparently this is also a thing in Paris - people leaving little padlocks with messages of love, names and other things written on them! So cute :)

Such a lovely idea :)

We were boring and had wagamama for dinner. Just if you cared. Which you probably don’t..

The Midlands: 5th September – 8th September

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Don’t be fooled, the Midlands are very very exciting.

Cough.

No, but really, we stayed with my Uncle Alun in Catherine-de-Barnes, a lovely wee town near the seething metropolis of Solihull (cough). We mostly just relaxed and read books (I read the first two Hunger Games books in about 36 hours - my goodness they’re good), but we did head out into the wide world once.

We visited a gorgeous wee town called Ironbridge, which is apparently where the Industrial Revolution began (something to do with iron I think..) and is a lovely little place.

It looked like a biscuit-tin scene, with the Severn running through the town and the little church on the hill.

The bridge itself was built by the nearby ironworks and is stunningly beautiful

If I look a little less-than-elated here, I think it’s probably because the following night I got stung by a (f#$%&^%#ing) wasp the night before, so spent most of the night sitting with the light on and the insect spray at the ready. I cheered up immensely when I got some food in me (The Malthouse Pub, had a brie, tomato and bacon baguette, which I swear had about $10 worth of brie in it - I’m hungry just writing about it).

We went into this dinky little museum which had a gigantic diorama thing of the whole of the town, so I spent about ten minutes trying to take artistic tilt-shift hipster-type photos of it. This is what resulted:

After that we headed to the Blists Victorian Town, which is a little town kept in all its Victorian glory, with people in period costume acting as the apothecary, the postman etc etc. It was very sweet, and lots of fun to look around. 

I had the most fun in the sweetshop, where I bought an ounce each of sherbert lemons and mint humbugs and conversed with the local paperboy, who was very interested to know whether I came to the UK from NZ in a horse and cart. 

(That’s my Uncle Alun on the left)

(That’s a rooster)

Who’d have thunk the midlands could be so exciting! (I’m just being mean really, we had a marvellous time). 

We have been awake since 5am NZ time (about ten and a half hours now) and still have about three hours to wait ‘til our next flight. I shouldn’t complain though, because I am thoroughly enjoying the luxurious Qantas Club Lounge (na na na na na na) with its endless supply of ginger ale, free booze, cheese and amusingly small individually wrapped ice creams.

This is a picture of Sydney from the lounge window, taken with my brand new camera which I bought in about ten minutes at AKL airport. (SHINY. SHINY SHINY). Not too bad, eh?

It looks like we might have a seat between us for the long flight (touch wood, no jinxes, currently praying to anything that’ll listen) which means: oh yes! The ability to actually have my feet above knee level occasionally (that makes no sense, but what do you expect? I got up at 5 this morning).  

Anyway, Sydney looks pretty in the distance and it’s quite fun watching the planes take off. 

Next time I post will probably be from London! Insert reference to your chosen Clash song here!