Day 156, Friday 8 June 2012, Brentwood
I had a pretty good sleep last night, I think I am pretty much adjusted to English time now.
Today was my first day of adventuring into the big smoke and I bought myself a ticket that allowed me to get to Liverpool St station in London, use the underground all day and then return to Shenfield station near where I am living. I was pretty stunned to find that even the off-peak fare was almost twenty pounds, things have gone up since the eighties !
I seemed to have picked up a blister on the back of my foot from my new sneakers, so stopped at a chemist on the way to the station and picked up some blister plasters, these worked for a bit but four days later it is still pretty bad and giving my grief in all sorts of shoes. I had to buy a new packet during my walks in London as it got pretty painful.
I met my old friend Trudi and her niece Kate at Liverpool St station at 10:00 and from there we took the underground towards the NZ Embassy.
It was very cool walking down Regent St, seeing all the double decker buses and black cabs and the flags from the queens jubilee last weekend. Even though it was a wee bit rainy I was still very happy to walking out there.
The advertising material in London phone boxes hasnt changed though.
I wanted to get someone to certify a copy of my NZ passport as I need to replace my drivers licence which was in the wallet I lost in Laos. Apparently you have to make an appointment to see someone and it costs 20 quid ! Bollocks. I got soaked walking down Haymarket in the pouring rain for that.
We then took the underground over to Borough Market, though there was a bit of construction work going on around there, as there is all over as London prepares for the Olympic games next month. The market specialises in food and there was some awesome stuff around, not cheap either, I loved these big wheels of parmesan, yummy…
We stopped for a pub lunch and I had my first English pint, Brakspear’s Oxford Gold ale – not bad ! The first of a million different types of beer to try, I aim to not repeat a pint, though I am sure I will forget, there are so many options.
Trudi and I went for a walk around the borough station area for a couple of hour, past the almost complete Shard.
Love this – Auckland could do with some…
Finally ending up at the Tate Modern gallery.
Entry was free which was pretty cool, though the Damian Hurst exhibition was fifteen pounds – so we flagged it. We did get to see the diamond encrusted skull though, no photos but still cool to see it.
I mostly enjoyed the gallery, a lot of modern art is beyond me, for instance, the three white panels on the wall behind me… Though I did like a few pieces. crazy eyes !
The outdoor eating area where the only guests are pigeons
From the Tate we wandered across the millennium bridge over the Thames and up to St Pauls.
St Pauls and Borough, were both areas I worked in when I was a van driver for DHL back in 1987, i recognised the odd part, but a lot of London has changed since then, not so much in that area, but the skyline has certainly changed, with the Shard and the Gerkin dominating.
I am using the 16-35mm lens, to get the shots I want without too many poles and trees, shooting at 16mm is probably not the best for buildings ! I am loving the lens though 🙂 The front of St Pauls.
We met up with Kate and her partner David at St Pauls and then nipped down to a local pub to watch the opening game of the Euro 2012 football competition. (One all draw between Poland and Greece)
After a couple of drinks it was off to a local Asian restaurant for some dinner and then I caught the tube back to Liverpool St and the train back home just before dark.
The train stops at Stratford where the Olympic games venues are, there is still a bit of work going on around there, but the site looks pretty good !
It was very enjoyable to beout on the streets of London with a camera, I will be back, by myself so I am not so annoying to those who do not want to stop every ten feet while I take another picture. Thanks Trudi, Kate and David – I had another great day.
Not long to CoastPath Run !