The blog is evolving!

Stay tuned for new features including journey maps, some missing posts, linked photo albums, minor tweaks and ultimately... the earlier trips...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Where are they now...

Sorry the blog hasn't been updated for a bit however the map has been;

View 2010 - England - Honeymoon in a larger map

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 7 - ENG

Cookie says...
We headed north today and had quite a distance to drive. Thankfully the UK motorway system works really well when away from major cities. It was nice to drive amongst civilised drivers too. Slow people kept left, people didn't cut people off, people let others in. It was how driving should be.

Glad I wasn't in Switzerland or Australia or I'd
have been shot, drawn and quarted for this

Just off the motorway is a town called Stoke-on-Trent. While the name might not mean much to most people, anyone who loves their Wedgewood crockery will know that this is where it comes from. We had a look through their visitors centre and demonstration display.

For lunch we stopped in at some services and this time we didn't get sandwiches however I kinda wished we got something else instead.

When we neared Manchester / Liverpool we experienced some queuing (traffic jam). It was due to a minor bingle and it was slow going for a few miles. I have to say though, even the queuing was civilised as no one was trying to chop and change lanes to get in front of anyone else.

We flew past the Welcome to Cumbria sign and then exited the motorway and started winding our way towards our destination. We had been trying to make it to Ambleside by three as England were to play Germany in the quarter finals of the world cup and we wanted to watch it in a pub. Germany were probably always going to win however no one expected the 4-1 pasting that they were handed. Australia shouldn't feel so bad after their 4-0 loss.

This pub was standing room only when England scored
but after four German goals, it was empty at full-time.

For dinner Julz was fanging for a typical English meal so we went for some Indian. A tub of Ben and Jerry's later and we headed to the B&B for our first night in the Lake District.

Julie says...
Well, I am now regretting my decision to demand some other than sandwhiches for lunch... we ended up eating KFC in a service station. I will keep my mouth shut in future and appreciate the M&S sandwiches day after day.

As for today, it contained a lot of driving, some nice scenery, and a pub filled with disappointed Englishmen.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 6 - ENG

Cookie says...
Back on the road today. We didn't really have to far to go however we had been wondering whether we'd wanted to experience some culture. Stratford-upon-Avon was the destination and is the birthplace for one William Shakespeare.

William grew up here before moving to London but seemed to have moved back at some point as he also died here. His wife Anne Hathaway also lived here. It has since become a Mecca for tourist hoards and it was packed when we were walking around. I'd seen his house on my first trip but this time round we walked through it. It has a good media presentation at the start and the obligatory shop at the end.

William Shakespeare's birthplace is on the left

Ice cream was calling us which was across the street and nextdoor to a Christmas store which we'd walked through earlier. The roof was so low even Julie felt like she might bump her head. It was time for some more snoozing and reading so we found a spot in a park.

For dinner we headed to the pub. It was cheap food but it was okay. We managed to take the scenic route home via Anne Hathaway's cottage and started watching the Ghana vs USA game. It was 1-1 when we fell asleep and we don't know what the final result was.

Julie says...
Today's trip was a direct route from Bath to Stratford-upon-Avon (I wasn't about to let Cookie direct us to another 'amazing monument of rocks' like our first driving trip). We found our B&B and then wandered into town. It was quite busy but that wasn't unexpected. Another lot of M&S sandwiches for lunch (ok, so this is now getting ridiculous - I might have to demand real food for lunch tomorrow), and then we saw the sights.

Shakespeare's birthplace tour was alright, although the house is on quite a lean. I'm sure I'd have gotten more out of it if I was a true Shakespear fan, but it was interesting enough.

I then decided I'd had enough wandering around and so we found a shady place to sit and read/sleep (although Cookie's snoring started getting looks from the people walking past).

We then hit the pub for dinner. Nothing like a good couple of pints of cider to end the day on a good note :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 5 - ENG

Cookie says...
Today was a cruisy day. It kicked off with a visit to a laundromat and no trip is complete without losing money to washing machines or dryers. Julz took the opportunity to do some reading and snoozing while I did some more nerd stuff. We sourced some lunch and later in the arvo I snuck out and walked through Bath Abbey and took the tour to the rooftop.

Inside Bath Abbey

The tour was interesting and talked about the bells and clock but it also gave me the opportunity to look over the town from probably the best point of view in the town.

The view from the bell tower. Roman Baths bottom left and
the Thermae Spa rooftop pool a little further away

I returned to find Julz asleep so I did some reading of my own. I save my Lone Wolf books up for times like these and am quite enjoying reading them again.

It was dinner time so we cleaned up and walked back out into the town. We're up a bit of a hill so it takes a little effort but hopefully this helps offset our consumption of breaky, dinners and pints of ale and cider. When we found Jamie's Italian last night Julie didn't quite realise it was a legitiment Jamie Oliver restaurant (Julie is quite a fan of him). While she showed no signs of excitement when we found it, she was really looking forward to it when we sat down.

The food was great. I must admit we ate too much but it was hard not to order various dishes from the menu. I think we might have a few ideas for things we want to try when we return home.

Later on we went for a walk to find a spot looking over the town as I was keen on trying another time-lapse. This one I think should work our a lot better.

Bath from the lookout we found

Julie says...
It was nice to wake up today knowing that I wouldn't be aimlessly wandering around looking at monuments. Don't get me wrong - I love travelling and seeing the world... but then I also like to relax on my holidays and not go everywhere. So, I was happy to do some laundry today and then sit and read.

Not even travellers can escape washing.
We made it another reading opportunity.

After getting back from the landromat (which by the way was at the bottom of the large hill we now lived on), I did some ironing (yes, I ironed my husband's clothes - it gives me good wife brownie-points so that he shouts me dinner and cider), and then read for a while. Sandwhiches were again on order for lunch (surprisingly not from M&S this time), and then Cookie went off to see the abbey (I've seen enough abbey's in my travels to discover they all pretty much look the same).

Dinner as an absolute treat! The food was fantastic - Jamie Oliver definately knows how to cook (or at least put recipes together that other chefs can cook that taste amazing). After about 7 courses and a whole bottle of wine, I was feeling fabulous. We wandered our way back up the hill, and then Cookie had it in his head that another time-lapse was in order (yay).

Food, glorious food

Last night's time lapse was a disaster because over here twilight lasts for about 3 hours, and so you have to be out from about 9pm through to middnight to get any sembalnce of a sunset. Cookie thought tonight's time-lapse would be different...we gave up close to 11pm, with the sky still a lovely blue colour.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 4 - ENG

Cookie says...
Bath is a loverly town with sandstone buildings everywhere you look. In the middle is Bath Abby and the Roman Baths. After strolling around for a bit we entered the baths and grabbed the audio guides. It's a pretty impressive site. The ruins that were present have had a building raised around it to give it the Roman building feel plus they have some good displays on life within Bath and the baths.

The main bath in the Roman baths

Upon exiting we walked up to the Circus and the Royal Cresent to check out where the upper class lived. For the third day in a row we had some M&S sangers for lunch and Julz found a Ben and Jerry's where we had some ice cream. It's good stuff. As we had been walking around for a bit and we were pretty warm and tired, we thought we'd treat ourselves to a bit of a dip.

As with Scotland, busking is a little different here

As Bath historically had these baths to bathe in, they also have a modern spa in the form of the Thermae Spa. We bought a 2 hour session and started in the Minerva pool (which was a warm pool and Julie's favourite), tried out the hot shower, steam rooms (my favourite), foot spa, cool shower, moved to the rooftop pool and then finished back in the Minerva pool. They also do treatments and therapies. I was soo tempted to get us a 50 minute massage.

Before we went back too the B&B I had to find the dsestination for tomorrow nights dinner which took a little while. With that located we headed back to base, showered and headed back up to the pub which has become our local.

We headed out again to try time-lapse Pulteney Bridge at sunset but it was taken forever and was a bit of a fizzer. Okay, it was a failure. In fact, the view facing the other way would have been nicer. I'll try another one tomorrow night of the town.

Julie says...
Bath is really nice, however discovering that it is built into a hilly area (with our B&B situated at the top of a rather steep section) was a bit annoying. The Roman baths were fantastic, and the rest of the town had that 'quaint English village' feel. We wandered around for quite a while and then managed to find Marks and Spencers for the 4th day in a row (we clearly are getting a lot of variety in our diet - sandwhiches and then more sandwhiches).

Pulteney Bridge. Site of the failed time-lapse.

After rubbing it in to Sarah that we were eating Ben and Jerry's ice-cream, Cookie shouted us to the spa, and it was the highlight of my day. Floating around in warm water after spending way to much time on my feet was just heaven. I was very happy to come out looking like a prune at the end of it.

Feeling quite relaxed, I thought I would be able to make it up the hill one last time before heading to the pub for dinner. However, Cookie had it in his head to surprise me with some secret destination for tomorrow night's dinner. After walking around for ages (and me getting quite annoyed), we finally arrived out the front of Jamie's Italian restaurant. This is one in a chain of restaurants owned by Jamie Oliver - my favourite chef. And, although I appreciated the thought Cookie put into organising for us to go to a Jamie Oliver restaurant, I was fed-up with wandering aimlessly and so gave him a very anti-climactic response to the destination. But, Im sure I will be excited about it tomorrow night (as long as we aren't doing more wandering beforehand).

Don't even get me started on the time-lapse - I love freezing my arse off whilst watching a camera take photos of the same thing a thousand times. Remind me why I let myself get dragged into these things.... oh yeah, that's right, I married the guy...silly me...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 3 - ENG

Cookie says...
This morning we tubed it to Heathrow where we picked up our car. Originally I had booked a Ford Focus but instead they gave us a VW Golf. It's a pleasant surprise as it would normally cost 4 quid a day more and being a turbo diesel, it has good torque yet it's fuel efficient.

Oxford was our first target but in the interest in saving time (and because Oxford dislikes parking visitors), we decided to keep it as a drive through. Back home our cities have a campus or two per uni however here, the town is the campus with faculty departments all over the place. The town is a bit of a maze but we manage to exit and made our way south in search of some ancient stones.

I was aware that Stonehenge can be an under-whelming experience or isn't what people expect so we went elsewhere. When compared to Stonehenge the Lonely Planet book says '...Avebury is arguably a much more rewarding place to visit.' Even after reading this, I was still wondering what to expect but I have to say though (and I don't mean any disrespect) but think I did a bit of a Mim. After paying 5 quid for parking and then walking to the site, the experience was quite under-whelming. In fact, as we walked past each stone, I could hear the under-whelment oozing from Julie. How's this for odd, the town is situated in the middle of these stones.

Avebury in all it's glory, well, half its glory.
The other half are on the other side of the town.

We walked around a little, bailed and resumed our course. About an hour later we were checking into our B&B and shortly after that, eating Moroccan food at the local pub.

They are a patriotic if a little unrealistic bunch

Mikey, we found you a dining suite

Tomorrow we'll step out and explore Bath.

Julie says...
As navigator of our little driving tour of England, I feel it is my duty to ensure that we visit interesting places, and point out the highlights along the road. However, as navigator, I must also submit to the will of the driver, and navigate a path to whatever town/monument/experience he desires. Such was the case with Avebury. Cookie's description of my under-whelment above does not do it justice. We travelled off the beaten track and added at least 1hr to our driving journey to look at a bunch on rocks in a field behind a pub.

I will not be submitting my navigating skills to the driver again, or we may very well end up driving 6hrs to look at a clump of dirt.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 2 - ENG

Cookie says...
After waking I told Julie I had booked us in for an event. It didn't take her long to work out it was a concert playing at the O2. She sounded okay with seeing this and as you'll expect, I'm looking forward to it.

What's more Londonish than seeing a band like this?

But it was breakfast time and it was the first full day so I figured I'd start with my first full buffet breakfast whilst Julz had cereal. I'd better be careful though as I have recently put on one wedding band and wouldn't want to put on another!

As both of us have been to London before, there wasn't a big 'to do list' so we decided to head in and check out a few odds and ends. Julz discovered that during my previous two visits I had missed the London Eye (remember, this is the guy who didn't see the Mona Lisa while in the Lourve) so we went there first. It was certainly worth the visit.

Third time lucky

For lunch we grabbed some sandwiches from Waterloo Station. Over here there are several places like Marks and Spencer, Costa and Pret a Manger which sell sandwiches but they are all really good. We headed back into the Strand and walked for a bit looking for the Twinings store and museum as Julie loves her tea.

Julie had found heaven on earth

Last trip I found the Temple Church but it was closed however this time it was open so we had a look through it. We returned to the hotel where Julz had a snooze and I did some nerd stuff while I watched France play South Africa. France didn't deserve to be there as they cheated their way in, ask any Irishmen, but poor South Africa became the first host nation to not qualify for the elimination stage.

Once rested and showered we headed into Westminster and then Trafalgur Square for dinner (more sandwiches) and then onto the O2. It's an impressive venue. It's an indoor arena with cafe's and bars also inside the structure. Kid Rock was the supporting act. I call it an act because he's not very good and pretends to be something worth watching. Fortunately he wasn't on for very long and the real band arrived on stage.

I saw Bon Jovi at the start of 2008 in Melbourne and while the play list was better then, the show they put on this time was alot better. I think Julie quite enjoyed the concert even though she was a little tired. The screens they used throughout the show were incredibly good quality to look at and moved around in different configurations across the night.

They might have started out in the 80's but these
guys still know how to rock

Once the encore ended (which featured Always, Wanted Dead or Alive and Livin' on a Prayer) we bailed and headed home.

Julie says...
Bon Jovi. He has brought me all the way to England to watch Bon Jovi. This will definately put me up there in the 'my wife is fantastic and willing to watch my favourite band on our honeymoon' stakes.

Today I just loved walking around and reaquainting myself with my old life over here. The Eye is always a nice view and Twinings should definately export more of their tea to Australia (I have never seen so many varities!). Sarah was definately jealous when I sent her photos of us eating a Ben's Cookie and cupcakes at the Hummingbird Bakery (a 'must eat' experience for anyone visiting South Kensington).

Inside the Hummingbird Bakery

Sarah started the first Ben's Annonymous
for those who miss Ben's Cookies

And then there was the concert. I must admit, it was quite an amazing concert - Cookie is not joking about the screens (they were the only thing I saw all night due to us having seats on the floor and my lack of height). Although I would never admit it to him, I did enjoy myself, and would even consider going to see them again when they come to Brisbane in Dec this year...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 1 - ENG

Cookie says...
When Julie said that she wanted me to organise our honeymoon and it was to be a surprise for her, I was confident that I could come up with something that she'd like. However, once I had started booking stuff, I was unsure that she would be thrilled with a few things. Firstly, she had wanted to go somewhere she hadn't been before and secondly, I didn't know how she'd like the initial commuting stage.

So, for me today started with some trepidation as we had three back to back flights heading to somewhere she'd already spent 11 months. Both of us had flown with Emirates previously and apart from feeling as though we were in the fridge compartment, this experience was another good one. We ended up sitting in the last row on the plane (courtesy of some bargain basement Flight Centre prices) and had a couple next to us from Burpengary (named after my uncle Gary who used to burp alot) who were also off to our destination.

Over the last few years, Julie has discovered that my superpower is that I will meet people I know wherever I go and this flight was no different. When we were boarding in Singapore after a 30 min stopover, I noticed that we had queued behind Michael Stepenyazi and Sophie. I knew him from soccer and it turned out that they had been married on the same day as us and were travelling to Italy for their honeymoon.

We made it to Dubai and changed planes. This time we noticed that our boarding passes had us in row 79 which if it was on another Boeing 777, we'd have been perched up on the tail wings. It turns out we were at the back of the second last section on an A380. These planes are truely huge and I ended up sitting next to a guy who worked for Emirates who had apparently put alot of money down on another 24 of this birds. He was heading to London to hang out with his mates at the Glastonbury Festival.

Once we landed we had a bit of a delay due to the airbridges not functioning. Border control was easy and the old habits of getting to the tube kicked in. We checked into a place in Kensington and had dinner there too. Being summer it was incredibly bright at 8.30 in the evening but we were so tired it didn't matter so headed straight to bed.

Julie says...
This is the first time I have ever caught a plane at 2:30am, and I must admit when Cookie told me the time we were flying out, I doubted his planning. However, my caution was unneccessary, as leaving at ridiculous-o'clock in the morning worked well for the 3 flights we had to take. On both the Singapore and Dubai legs of the flight, Emirates decided that all passengers should experience an Artic winter, and so even with multiple layers of clothing, I stole Cookie's blanket (having a husband now certainly comes in handy). Otherwise, the trip over was quite uneventful and I was happy to see merry old England again.