A Travellerspoint blog

January 2007

Visit to Windsor

overcast 6 °C

Saturday we went out to Windsor to catch up with my uni pal Sally and her English boyfriend Phil. It took us about 35 minutes on the (overland) train, which was a nice trip because we have become so used to catching the tube (and not being able to look out at anything. You get tired of staring at othe people on the train).

Sal and Phil met us at Windsor Station and we walked through Windsor to Eton, seeing Eton College (where Princes William and Harry went), saw the shop that makes their uniforms (a black dinnersuit displayed in the window), the Queens personal bank, as well as the Castle of course. We did not have a whole day there and they were taking us out for lunch so we did not go in or take many photos, but plan to go back for a full day soon. Though we hung around at the gates of the castle, we saw no sign of life, though Sally said she has seen the Queen a few times.

They took us out to an awesome little pub called The Two Brewers and bought us lunch. We actually both ate Haggis and Black Pudding for entree (AND WE LIKED IT!), after being strongly encouraged by the two of them, and then had massive mains as well (I had a beautiful steak and Stephen had a Lamb Salad). Loving having huge warm lunches.

After lunch we went back to their place for coffee and a chat before getting back on the train home again to Earls Court.

Looking forward to moving into our new flat tomorrow (its in Parsons Green which is a great green area. Its a really nice flat, we are in a huge double room in a tame house-share with another Aussie couple and one single guy. Its great, will send pics when we move in (and when we replace our laptop - probably in coming days. Check out Parsons Green at http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/tube-parsons-green.php.

Alright gang - hope everyone is going well - stay tuned for updates. Now that we have a safe place to leave our stuff - we might actually be able to get out a bit more and enjoy London properly!

Take care,

Jen x0x

The Castle

Posted by StephenJen 02:30 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Frozen assets

life on the Russian front

snow 0 °C

Hi all,
After jetting into London with the blue sky and sun streaming down, scoffing at those types who poo-poo the English weather, we awoke last wednesday to a blanket of snow. It was the first snow of the year and we were thrilled! I immediately grabbed my faithful camera and snapped a couple of pic out of our hotel room window. I uploaded them onto my computer and onto the jump drive in order to share the images here with our faithful friends.
First snow in London

We headed out to the internet cafe and had a chat with family before heading out to look at some potential share houses (we had only 1 day left in the hotel and still no place to call home). After travelling from Acton to Camden and Wilesden Green we headed home and stopped at the pub at the end of our street for a piping hot lunch. A chicken Tikka for the wife and a steak & ale pie with peas & mash for my good self, washed down with two pints of frosty lager from the barkeep. Boy did that hit the spot!
Refreshed and re-energised jen headed out to look around and I headed to the hotel for a kip. Later that night we looked at a flat share in Parsons Green (which was very nice indeed) before heading back home and turning in.

On Thursday morning we awoke and peered out the window....no snow though. I glanced at my suitcase and noticed the expandable zip was expanded. Strange I thought. Then I noticed that the main zip was closed at one side of the case rather than in the middle ( I am a little OCD about having the 2 zip tags meeting evenly in the middle) I asked Jen if she had been into my case..."no" she replied. My stomach knotted and I feverishly threw the case on the bed and unzipped it. I had secreted my laptop and camera in my case. They were gone! "We've been robbed" I screamed. We immediately looked around the room and determined that everything had been gone through and anything of value had been taken. We called hotel management and the police. Whilst waiting for the bill to attend we made a list of what we had lost
my laptop..Jen's laptop..two MP3 players..my new camera and both lenses.. my mobile phone..my watch..leads..chargers..pretty much everything except for our clothes and what we were holding. Thankfully we were carrying our passports, cash and cards, jen's mobille and camera. We felt gutted. The police arrived and took a statement the hotel manager never arrived.

The hotel is staffed almost entirely by eastern block nationals. They are stern and unfriendly. we had joked that we were in a place run by the Russian mafia. "Could I have some toast please?" one gent asked politely at breakfast, "YOU MUST SIT DOWN" responded the russian waitress. On thi particular morning the staff were unwilling to meet our eyes.. the girl who had cleaned our room looked very dodgy indeed (clearly sufficient evidence that it was a staff conspiracy to ripoff all our stuff..I say "hang 'em high" based only on our gut instincts)

We found a new hotel, in Earls Court, and grabbed our suitcases ( now conveniently lighter and easier to handle on the tube). We went and handed in our room key and spoke to the hotel manager. We told him we were checking out 1 day early because his establishment was crap and we didn't feel safe. I asked him to refund the price of the final night...he refused. We had a short conversation about moral responsibility, ethics and decency. Jen had an even shorter conversation about dodgy staff, $8000 worth of theft and profane,unmentionable nouns. This seemed to do the trick as he agreed to our request. We hit the tube and settled in at the new place. A very, very nice man from Pakistan informed us that he had put us in a triple room with it's own bathroom and toilet at no extra charge. We were very appreciative indeed. Life is a little calmer now and we have begun the process of making an insurance claim for the lost goods.

Earls Court is really nice. Lots of options for eating and a good mix of nationalities wandering about the place. We are very happy here and are hoping to secure a place in this general area - London's south-west. We are looking forward to getting a place so we can be tourists for a couple of weeks. We are still planning to head of to Paris. We have no plans to visit Russia while we are here..we kinda have already!

Ta ta chums!

Posted by StephenJen 02:30 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged events Comments (2)

Hello... we live in London

all seasons in one day 13 °C

ee oop all!

Well here we are in sunny (yes SUNNY) London town. After a very long but manageable flight we arrived at Heathrow. Despite all our worrying, the baggage retrieval system was excellent.

Breezed through customs and were met by our driver Manny. After the confinement of the Austrian Airline seats, manny's merc was just the tonic. We arrived at the Holly & Ivy Hotel and got ourselves up to our 1st floor room. It was very very small, messy as hell and stank of cheap cigars... we have since become aware of the Russian flavour of the decor, and the staff.

We may have also been snapped with a celebrity as we were walking behind a woman being chased by paparazzi... no idea who she was but she looked famous (paparazzi is a dead giveaway) so we snapped her too.

We have been out and about and seen a few sights, eaten a mighty fine
curry, riden the tube, had a look around the Portobello Road Markets, given tourists directions (already!) and been in bed at 4.30 & 5.00
respectively.... pm that is. JET LAG IS A BITCH!

View of England as We Flew In over the Coast
Big Ben & Stephen
Jen in front of The Thames & Houses of Parliament
Jen & Stephens first (warm) pint
Stephen @ Portobello Market
Jen at the start of Portobello Road Market
Stephen in Victoria
Stephen @ Westminster Abbey
Jen @ Westminster Abbey

Today we are getting stuck into the search for accommodation and maybe travel down to Trafalgar Square.

We have been very lucky with the weather. Beautiful sunny periods every day thus far. We managed to avoid the massive storm, which killed 12 people and delayed flights, by one day. London looked fantastic as we flew in. We will put some pics up on the blog if anyone fancies a sqiuz. We are having a great time here. The people are very polite, the city is clean and easy to navigate around, and the essentials are suprisingly affordable.

That about covers it for now. Love to all at home.
please send emails to: [email protected]

Posted by StephenJen 02:01 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Farewell BBQ in Mornington

sunny 30 °C

Well it was a great sunny Melbourne day for our Farewell BBQ in Mornington on Sunday (14/1/2006) which Mum and Dad put on for Stephen & I and for Adam & Meaghan who, coincidently ... embark on their own journey the very same day we do.

There were quite a few people at the BBQ over the course of the day, at one point we had around 40 people in the backyard and others coming and going right up until about 8:30pm.

The kids were a huge focus for the day given that there was family there that we hadnt seen in some time so Wendy and Dan took centre stage with 3 of their 5 munchkins and the "wheres wally brigade" (look at all those stripy shirts in the photos) clucked over them all day.

It was a great day thanks all so much for making such an effort to see us all before we head off, its much appreciated as i know some of you have travelled quite a way to catch up with us all.

Stay tuned for our update - we arrive in London in 5 days. Take Care and Keep in touch x0x Jen x0x

BBQ Collage

Posted by StephenJen 18:29 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Farewell Drinks @ Public House

Public House - Richmond, Victoria.

sunny 22 °C

Hello everyone and welcome to our blog. Check back here once in a while and see what we have been up to lately as we will try very hard to update everyone on whats happening and keep photos coming so you dont forget what we look like!

Well, we have started to say goodbyes. Its real now and the excitement is really setting in. We had drinks on Saturday at Richmond Public House which was a cool day and great to catch up with some great people who we each have seen a bit of recently and some who we havent seen for over 2 years.

Thanks all for coming and stay tuned for rants from our travels.

Nic & Jen

Pete, Kel & Jen

Jen, Deb & Kel

The Usual Suspects

Thanks so much for coming guys - really appreciated it. Take Care

x0x Jen x0x

Posted by StephenJen 15:07 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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