All posts filed under: holiday

From My Holiday – London at Random

My flight back to Sydney from London was at 9:30pm and I had a late check out from my hotel. So I was able to relax on my final morning in London. I slept in after my late night out at the theatre and had a late breakfast, then headed over to St Pancras station to pick up a few touristy things. It was there that I ran into someone from home. That’s right, in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world, I ran into a guy I’ve known since primary school. Also, his parents used to own the house I lived in for almost 10 years, he works across the road from me, and we occasionally catch the same train to work in the morning. Despite this, we’re more like casual acquaintances than the best of friends, but we always say hi when we see each other. When I first saw him waving at me, my brain didn’t really process the fact that he was waving at me, so I just thought …

From My Holiday – Art at The National Gallery, and seeing Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘Hamlet’

I spent the morning of my final full day in London at The National Gallery, located in Trafalgar Square. I had the nicest walk from the hotel to the gallery; the sky was overcast but the sun was trying its hardest to push through, and the streets were packed with people going to work or being a tourist like me, and it was just the best being a part of that hustle and bustle. I hadn’t already fallen completely in love with the city then I would have on this day. I didn’t loiter around in Trafalgar Square for very long, as I was on a very strict time limit for sightseeing since I was off to the theatre that night, but I have to say it’s a pretty impressive place. There were loads of street performers at the front of the gallery too, including one band who played current pop songs using classical instruments – definitely take the time to stop and listen if you see them. As it happened, there was industrial action …

From My Holiday – The Wellcome Collection

After wandering around the Hunterian Museum for a few hours I headed back to my hotel, stopping in at the Wellcome Collection on the way. The Wellcome Collection explores the relationship between life, medicine, and art. If you can manage to do what I did and visit the Hunterian and Wellcome Collection in the same day, then you really should. There are many links that can be drawn between the two, and I found that the information I learned at the Hunterian enhanced my experience of seeing the artefacts in the Wellcome Collection. Henry Wellcome (1853-1936) was a pharmacist and philanthropist, as well as collector of interesting things. He was one of the co-founders of the Burroughs Wellcome & Co. pharmaceutical company, the first to give the world medicine in tablet form in 1884. In later years he would go on to assemble one of the world’s largest collections of medical and health related paraphernalia. On display here are a wide variety items from different cultures around the world. Along with an impressive display of pharmaceutical …

From My Holiday – Read This → Go There (a book to read and its London connection)

This post is inspired by the ‘Read This, Watch That’ posts on River City Reading (a great blog that you should check out if you haven’t already). In this post I’m going to give you a quick rundown on a great book I read a while ago and then tell you all about a completely obscure museum I visited while in London that turned out to be a surprise literary point of interest for me. Read This → The Giant, O’Brien by Hilary Mantel Published in 1998, The Giant, O’Brien by Hilary Mantel, is a fictionalised account of the life of Charles Byrne (O’Brien in the novel), largely focusing on his time spent in London. Standing at 7ft 7″, Byrne towered above the average man at that time (5ft 7″ on average), hence his nickname, ‘The Irish Giant’. He took advantage of his height, travelling around Britain and displaying himself at fairs for money. He arrived in London in 1782, where curiosities and novelties such as himself were a well received and lucrative business. It was …

From My Holiday – The British Museum (and, a little about The British Library)

The day after my adventure in the rain, I made a trip to The British Library, which wasn’t so much a trip as a stroll across the road, as my hotel was basically right next door to the Library. I’m nothing if not an efficient planner of accommodation in relation to tourist spots. The Magna Carta exhibition was on while I was there, which was to celebrate 800 years since the Magna Carta was first agreed on June 15, 1215 (which just so happens to be my birthday) (the June 15 part, not 1215, in case you thought I was a vampire or something). It was an amazing exhibition to see, which included two of the four original Magna Carta documents, as well as Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence and one of the original copies of the US Bill of Rights. How many times do you get to see all of those things together? Apparently once in a lifetime according to all the signage. But though that exhibition may now be over, I can still …

From My Holiday – Getting Caught In the Rain and Visiting Shakespeare’s Globe

My first full day in London was probably my favourite whole day in the entire trip. I’d been to the Charles Dickens Museum that morning (my post about it) and after stepping out of there I was met with a drizzle of rain, which I expected and was prepared for because it’s London and that’s what happens in London. I was heading to the Imperial War Museum, which was about a 30 minute walk away. That 30 minute walk was turned into a roughly 45 minute walk by the torrential downpour I got caught in and which I had to take shelter from more than once. But even though the rain made it very difficult to navigate in a foreign city, it was just the best. Here are some photos I took on my walk, the mostly grey one is the view as I walked across the Thames: The rain had eased up by the time I reached the War Museum. I won’t be doing a full post on this as I didn’t really get …

From My Holiday – The Charles Dickens Museum

After my final wander through Paris, I hopped on the Eurostar and set out for London. The Eurostar was so great. The trip lasted for a little over 2 hours, the majority of which was spent travelling through the French countryside. As I was holidaying on my own, I thought I’d splash out and buy a standard premier seat (which is the next level up from the cheapest seats). In these cars you have your meal brought to you and there are sockets for charging your electronic bits and pieces (if you desperately need to). The meal I got was pretty great – it was a selection of cheeses with an onion relish, a bread roll, a passionfruit tart, and a little bottle of wine. And then another little bottle of wine. The time really did fly, even that spent in the darkness of the Channel Tunnel. When I arrived in London it was surprisingly warm. Luckily my hotel was just around the corner from the St Pancras International train station, but after walking 5 minutes …

From My Holiday – Searching for Quasimodo

On my very last morning in Paris, I woke up feeling sad that I had to leave but happy that in a few short hours I’d be on the Eurostar to London. But before I left I had one more VERY important thing to do – visit Notre Dame Cathedral. So after a hurried breakfast I made my way down to the Seine and over to the Cathedral. If you’re ever in Paris I can highly recommend staying at the Hotel Abbatial in Saint-Germain – the Seine is roughly a 5 minute walk and all of the other major attractions are no more than a 45 minute walk away. And in my opinion, walking really is the best way to see the city. Although I visited Notre Dame on my last trip to Paris, I really wanted to go again as it’s so magnificent. It’s probably one of my most favourite places I’ve ever been to. Last time I was there I lined up at the entrance with all the other tourists, had a walk through and then …

From My Holiday: Visiting the Musée de Cluny

After wandering around the Musée d’Orsay for a couple of hours, Nat and I hopped on a bus and headed down Boulevard Saint-Germain to the the Musée de Cluny. This is one place I was really excited to visit, as it’s all medieval stuff. It’s also one of the few museums in Paris that Nat hadn’t been to so it was great to see it for the first time with her. This place was a proper looking castle and is formed by two buildings – the Thermes Gallo-Roman baths that were built at the end of the 1st century (yes, 1st CENTURY) and the Hôtel des Abbés de Cluny that was built at the end of the 15th century. The jewel in the crown of this collection is the series of six tapestries known as ‘The Lady and the Unicorn’. You probably think you haven’t seen it before, but it’s one of things that you’ve probably seen or read about without even realising. It was really amazing to see the tapestries and they are just as beautiful in real life as in pictures. …

From My Holiday: Visiting the Musée d’Orsay

After some very much needed sleep (after the Louvre and being hungover the next day), I met up with Nat again and we hit a couple of museums – the Musee d’Orsay and Musée de Cluny (I’ll write about Musée de Cluny in another post). We had a really great day together and it was nice just to hang out and do some more catching up. It was the most perfect weather as well, and after walking through the dimness of the Musée de Cluny, we grabbed some iced beverages and pastries, and sat in the sunshine in a little garden near the museum. Then I waited with Nat for her bus and we said our goodbyes. I was heading to London the next day and we wouldn’t be able to catch up again before I left. It was sad to say goodbye – but I know I’ll see her again in the near future because I actually can’t stay away from Paris! In terms of the actual building itself, the Musée d’Orsay is really beautiful. It has a …