When I’m in London for any length of time I usually take at least three walks with walks.com. This time I felt like doing something different. Apart from two ghost walks from other companies I’d planned to take the Sunday morning Bowl of Chalk. The guide, Jonnie, is a nice guy in his upper thirties whose attitude towards guiding is something like “here’s a nice group of people, why don’t we take a walk together and I’ll tell them some stuff”. No set route or rehearsed spiel. Not at all what I’m used to, but this worked. Very well.
We were a group of 15, which according to him was quite a lot. The weather was nice and warm, the views were interesting and the tempo comfortable. We were walking around east London, from Old Street tube station to Spitalfields Market. And we saw art. Real, fantastic art. He talked about other things as well, a cemetery and a church which apparently has gorgeous toilets, but the street art was the highlight, at least for me. When I was walking around on my own afterwards I gazed up at the rooftops for mushrooms, and down at the ground for chewing gum. The paintings on the walls were easier to see – most of the time… 😛
Jonnie, our guide.
Chewing gum art. Apparently there are hundreds of these on Millennium Bridge.
Stik. A giant version of a similar figure can be seen when going through Acton Town on the tube to and from Heathrow.
London’s oldest coffee cart.
Later at night I had a ticket for “The Play that Goes Wrong” at the Duchess Theatre. I’d read that it was supposed to be very funny, and…wow. First of all, book a ticket! And when you go, get there early. There are lots of shenanigans going on even before it actually starts. Props break or disappear, actors mess up or get knocked out. I was screaming with laughter most of the two hours…:-D (The story itself is practically irrelevant, but it’s a murder mystery.)
Well, at least almost done. Some essentials have to wait until tomorrow morning. Mum will be picking me up at 8 to go to the airport, but I guess it’ll be easy to get up in time. Somehow I doubt it will be quite so easy to fall asleep tonight, though…:-P
I tried rolling my clothes this time, since it’s supposed to save space in the suitcase. I can’t really get my head around how that is supposed to work, but I’ve probably packed enough anyways. I’m only a little sad that I’ll have to make do without my pillow…:-(
To top it all off I’ve also traded away the only hotel I had booked which had a lift. I realised that staying near Shepherds Bush (West London) when everything I’d planned to do was near Barbican (East London) was a bit silly, really. The tube isn’t *that* much fun, especially if it’s going to stay as warm as now. Instead I booked myself into the Rookery Hotel. It looks amazing, and is within walking distance to both the Barbican Cantre and the Museum of London. Just check out this bathroom!
Bathroom at the Rookery Hotel
Slightly bored today, since all the planning is done, so I started looking through some old pictures. I got stuck on a few that I took the very first time I went abroad on my own, in the summer of 2002 when I went to Ireland for a 1 month language course.
2 things hit me. 1: A *lot* has happened in 13 years. Both camera wise and photography wise. Meaning: Cameras have gotten (a lot) better, and I’ve learned to use them (a little) better. 2: I need to go back. 😀
View from Coomakista Pass, along the Ring of Kerry, Ireland.
Lizzan and a friend at Bunratty Castle, Ireland. Bonus points to anyone who can guess who is who!
One of my favourite things about travelling is taking photos of everything I see. Sometimes a day trip can even be ruined by me not having a functional camera along with me. Like the time when I forgot the camera batteries in the charger when we were going to visit the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Oops. The day would have been a complete catastrophe if it hadn’t been for the most excellent guide I’ve ever spent a day with – Ray from the Galway Tour Company. Anyways, it gave me a good reason to go back.
Once I’m back from a trip I usually create a photo book from my photos. I’ve usually used Apple’s Aperture to create the books, but with Photos recently released I wanted to check if it might be better. Lots of new templates and layouts, and maps. Maps in ALL templates, not just 2 of them, as in Aperture. I started to think that I might be on to something, but…no. To start, I couldn’t find a way to add a place and automatically get the dot and the label in the right place on the map. Once I added a photo which was taken here in Östersund, I got double dots and double labels. And no arrows between points. 🙁
Map and image in Apple Photos.
So, I’ll be sticking with Aperture for a while longer. I quickly made a map of my travel route there while I was at it, since it is so easy. As I mentioned, I’ll be flying in to London, and then taking the train to Conwy the next day. A couple of buses the following day to Caernarfon, where I’ll be spending almost a week. I then thought I’d take the train down to Cardiff, until I realised that the train first goes east INTO ENGLAND. And then south to the right/east of the Welsh border in the image below. Now where’s the fun in that? I’d be missing out on lots of the beautiful Welsh scenery that way, so instead I’ll be taking the bus to Aberystwyth. I’ll stay there for a couple of nights, before taking another bus south to Cardiff. A little more than a week there before taking the train back to London. And lots of day trips, of course! 😀
Travel route in Wales.
According to all of my countdown apps there’s now less than 6 days until I’m supposed to be on a plane. First to Arlanda, then on to Heathrow. One night in London, then onwards via train to Conwy in North Wales.
Almost three weeks I’ll be spending in Wales. Three weeks that I’ve been planning for almost a year. A bit in jest I sometimes say that planning a trip is the best part. All the expectation over what I’ll get to see and experience. Juggling different activities to fit everything in, or, worse, having to prioritise when there’s just not enough time. Booking hotels and activities, reading tons of reviews to find the best of the best. I might be weird, but I love that. 😀
So, now that most everything has been planned out, all that’s left is to pack the bag. And to get going. 😉