I've been quiet recently. Firstly I was flat chat getting ready for us to get new visas, then we went and got new visas and then had to get over the jetlag!
No excuses now though, we've been back for a week.
We were lucky enough to visit London, the London, the one in England. Again! We had such an excellent time! I walked and walked and walked. My poor feet nearly fell off. Thank heavens the weather became glorious after the first few days and I could wear my Tevas.
|Can you guess who lives here? Not in the flower beds, silly!|
I sorta wonder why I like London so much. I think it is the energy. London isn't sad and dirty anymore, it is alive and doing stuff. So many things happening there. Of course it is a very big city with a lot of people so I guess there should be things happening all the time. We've also been blessed with the weather we've had in our last two trips there (though I did get to wear both the raincoats I purchased specifically for this trip!). But why like London more than say Paris? Paris is more scenic, but for me also more confusing - I need to understand, read and speak better French, I need to understand the culture better to be comfortable there. At least in London I can read the signs and understand what people are saying to me!
|Houses of Parliament and Big Ben|
We got to hear Big Ben bong.
Anyway I just have to boast. We went to London! I had a lovely holiday, DH did some work, we got new visas.
Kudos where it is owed though - it now takes longer to fill out all the forms online and get photos and stuff than it does to go to the embassy, stand in line, go through screening, wait for your number to be called, do the first part of the visa interview, wait in another queue and do the second part of the interview. We were out less than an hour after we went in - I barely got to knit any sock at all! - and it would've been shorter if the Iranian guy ahead of us wasn't getting the third degree. Well done, US Embassy London! Also flying in to Seattle meant that we didn't have to stand in enormous queues for what feels like hours waiting for customs to eyeball us and decide whether or not to let us in.
I did a day trip to Brighton - oh I do love to be beside the seaside! - and DH and I both went to Oxford, Bletchley Park and then Cambridge (Cambridge was a very last minute decision). The trains were excellent, well except for the one from Brighton. It was already late and I had to stand in the first class section cos they only opened one first class carriage, then just when I got a seat, someone fell ill and they had to get the paramedics at the next station and said it was going to be ages before the train moved, so we should go and get a different train. That would've been fine if we had known that if we chose the wrong overpass to a different platform (at Gatwick airport's station), we had to pile into a lift to get to the platform! Anyway, eventually I got on another train and had to stand in second class instead, whine moan. I had paid six quid fifty (p) extra for a first class seat and they had totally failed to deliver on that trip back. But the other trains were great.
Brighton itself was the most amazing mix of fabulous and tacky. I don't think I've been anywhere like it, not even Blackpool was like this!
|So many little shops to explore, some good some ????|
|Rent a deck chair and bask in the glorious sun!|
But it was sunny and I had a lot of fun exploring the little shops in the narrow streets on the way to the beach, and I rode on Volk's Electric Railway (a weird little tram thing) and discovered that I did not like the marina one bit, and I walked on the pier and marvelled that it can take the forces generated by the fun fair rides at the end of it... And took many pics of the interesting buildings like the Royal Pavillion.
|Street mosaic - couldn't see the chip they were flying for!|
|Endless water. No I don't know what the thing sticking|
out of my head is...
|Beach and ferris wheel|
|Pebbles! Not much sand at all.|
The beach is all pebbles - flint pebbles in the main. It isn't very fun to walk on bare foot. There was also a warning that the water is cold enough to induce hypothermia rather quickly, and I will own that it was pretty chilly!
|Not me, a Russian dude. Madness I tells ya.|
(He didn't go in any further....)
|Toes preparing to repel invaders|
|Yep, that's pretty cold|
|Yeah, that is really cold, not going in any further!|
|Brighton Pier and beach|
|Volk's Electric Railway|
I need to do a bit of catching up. Some posts about other places that we visited. Some posts about finished things. Maybe I'll even remember to blog some of the trip and the other stuff.