Monday, October 01, 2007

Boring holiday photos.

I threatened to post some of our hundreds of holiday photos when I'd sorted them out. Well, I've got some of the work done, so I'm going to carry out my threat and post them.

We flew with KLM to London via Amsterdam. Amsterdam photos to come later, it's the UK ones I've sorted through first.

Heathrow? You can confidently believe what you read about it. Fortunately KLM uses Terminal 4, which is less of a problem to get to and from and is marginally less bad than the other three terminals. But it's still old, dirty, over-crowded, well past its use-by date.

The staff weren't too bad - I expected surly and rude from all the reports I'd read but they were just bored, obviously didn't like their jobs, couldn't be bothered.

There were no trolleys at the baggage collection area, not one. The reason? They were all, all, in the area beyond customs. No-one could be bothered to push them back where the passengers needed them.

Rubbish bins? None. They were removed to stop terrorists putting bombs in them. (Paris Gare du Nord station thought about it and replaced the bins with clear plastic bags. Heathrow can't be bothered to think about it).

Anyway, we got out without being hassled and into central London reasonably well - sensibly, we'd arranged transfers.

We stayed at the Ramada Hyde Park, a hotel that's been there for years under various names & management. It's reasonably priced, in reasonable condition and most importantly is in a good location. You can just stroll across the road into Hyde Park, down Kensington Church Street into High Street Kensington, the other way into Queensway, so there's plenty to see and hundreds of pubs, restaurants & cafes within easy walking distance.

Wherever we are I like to just wander around the streets and I tend to take photos of street scenes as much as anything. I won't bore you with many of them, just one or two.

Around the hotel there are the kind of London streets I've always loved. Terraces of beautiful old houses in classic design, a few trees, all class and style...

All over England the window boxes and hanging baskets are a blaze of colour in spring and summer and I've always been attracted by them. This pub is typical...

...but the Churchill Arms in Kensington Church Street, is exceptional!

On Sunday when there was far less traffic and pollution, far fewer people, we wandered around to have another look at Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, the new statue of Nelson Mandella. It's a classic historic area of course and in spite of the ugly security barriers all over the place it still has a lot of charm and it oozes history.

Just across the road from the hotel is Kensington Palace, where Prince Charles and Diana lived and on the way back from strolling around the park we stopped to check out the gardens...

I also wanted to have a look at Windsor Castle, in spite of the crowds, to see how it was looking after the huge fire in 1992. Fifteen years! Where did the time go?!

They've done a fantastic job, especially in my favourite room St. George's Hall. No photos allowed inside I'm afraid. The cost to go in and look around the State Rooms is £14.20 by the way, which is just over Dh100.

It really is an impressive building, the largest inhabited castle in the world and it stands on a hill dominating the little village of Windsor.

And in Windsor, we're back to hanging baskets of flowers all over the place

So that's a little peep at some of the things we saw while we were in London.

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