Tuesday, December 13, 2011

London :: December weekend away

Last weekend my husband and I took a weekend break in London. My friend was celebrating her 30 something birthday and her son (who is my Godson) was celebrating his 1st birthday. I was shocked at how old my friend was. That means in February, when it is my birthday, that I'm closer to 40 than 30! Getting old! I don't feel it. Fortunately my husband is a year younger so as the old saying goes "You are only as old as the man you are feeling" - excellent! I am a year younger always!

We took an early train down with London Midland. My parents-in-law live in the Midlands so we stayed with them overnight Friday and went to a family birthday. the meal at the pub was nice but the entertainment irritated me. I hate and detest the music of Erasure (80s band). The entertainer was actually an excellent singer but I disliked his choice of music (as did all of our table).

Anyway I digress...the train down was long and very busy. I think a few people were Chrimbo shopping in London. Fortunately we got a seat for the 2 and a half hour journey. We arrived in London around 10am and immediately headed to our hotel to dump our bags and possibly to check in early. We were staying in the City of London at the Crowne Plaza. My husband works away during the week, staying at Holiday Inn hotels, so one of the perks is being able to mass loyalty points. So we got one night at the Crowne Plaze for, well, about 4 weeks worth of nights away. Bit of a crap deal but it was a very nice hotel.

We couldn't get into our room but I was able to use the gym area to dry my hair off and straighten it for the party later. We asked for our bags to be kept in storage and headed for a wander before the party at 1pm. We needed to get to the top end of the Northern Line so decided that we'd walk over the Millennium Bridge and wander towards Waterloo. We crossed the bridge and had a look over the city. The weather was cold but sunny so was relatively pleasant. I took a couple of photos as I had my DSLR with me.

:: Towards St. Paul's ::
As we were directly opposite the Tate we decided to call in and see what exhibits we on. In the Turbine Hall (an immense space) they had an interesting photographic exhibition by Tatiana Dean. Basically images were projected onto the wall but the images appeared to be moving. Below are a couple of my favourite examples:

 You can see the sheer size of the images when you look closely at the middle image. A child is stood in front of the image and is dwarfed by it.

From The Tate we wandered along Southbank and saw that there was a Christmas market on so thought we might return to that the next day as it was getting towards midday and we needed to catch the Tube.

My Godson has really grown up. He is gorgeous and will be a real heartbreaker when he grows up. There were about 20 of us in total to celebrate his birthday, including various children. Us and another couple were the only people there without any children. Tried to not let it get to me...

:: Hotel Christmas Tree ::
After the party we returned to the hotel and checked in. We had been upgraded (as happens with loyalty members) to a Club Room although we sadly didn't get access to the Club lounge. The room was amazing. Luxury bedding, fab bathroom, lots of freebies in terms of drinks and lotions and potions. We decided that an anfternoon / pre-party kip was in order and didn't leave until we had to head to Leicester Square / Chinatown for the evening party.

We partied till about midnight. My friend had decided to go to a Chinese restaurant and have a meal and do Karaoke. As it turned out no one wander to sing solos so there was lots of collective singing of tunes, including some Chrismas favourites.

We had a lazy lie-in (with a 2pm checkout) the next day so made the most of some quality time together. We didn't have breakfast at the hotel but decided to leave our bags for collecting before we headed home in the evening. The Hotel lobby had a lovely Chrismtas tree and the head chef had made a festive, edible house:

:: Edible house ::

:: Tuba carolers ::
:: Protest camp, St Paul's ::
We had no clear plans of what we wanted to do but decided to walk towards St Paul's Cathedral and get some breakfast / brunch. At St Paul's a tuba band were playing Christmas carols so we stopped by to listen whilst we ate a sandwich. It felt quite festive. We'd also grabbed a couple of free walking tour leaflets from the tourist office so decided to have a short wander. We passed the Protest camp and walked towards the London Stock Exchange and I spotted and liked this architectural sculpture I saw near Pasternoster Square:

:: Pasternoster Square ::

 We walked on a bit more then decided to catch the Tube to Oxford Street and indulge in a little festive spirit. We hadn't realised that they had closed the street to traffic. There were various festive events on, seemingly sponsored by American Express. It seemed that people were shopping but maybe not quite so much as previous years. After a little shopping we caught the Tube back to the hotel to grab our bags. We headed over the Millennium Bridge again with the aim of grabbing something to eat at the Christmas market.

:: The Wheel & Big Ben ::
:: Big Bratwurst ::
We decided to go for a Bratwurst sausage, very festive and huge. And then we tried a cake which to be honest seemed a lot like pretzel (which we tried in New York and were not impressed by). We decided not to bother with that again.

Our weekend in London was over. We took another crowded train, this time home. Some poor people were standing for over an hour. We had a fun weekend and it was just what the doctor ordered (so to speak). In a couple of weeks it is Christmas so it will be nice to spend some more quality time with my husband as I do miss him when he's away :-(


Post a Comment


Blog Template by SuckMyLolly.com