Buck & Gerkhin

Trip Start Jul 29, 2010
Trip End Sep 04, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, August 5, 2010

Late to bed but Nanna and girls sleep well. Amanda a little sleep and me not too much. Decide to get up early and catch up on a few days blog and emails.

I then have an early brekky down in the basement breaky room and leave the girls to have a relaxing moring. I set off to get a bit of exerise and check a few things out. Walk to Buck House to see what time the Changing of the Guard is happening and when is the best time to use or vouchers to visit the Queen's residence (the flag is also flying so she is at home).

11.30am it is and then we should be able to fir the tour in after and before we need to be at the gerkhin at 2.30pm. Then walk around to Picadilly CIrcus to pick up our London passes and check out Lillywhites (5 floors of sports shop right at the Circus) for cricket spikes. Then back to Belgrave Road via two tubes to get the girls ready.

Arrive Buck House a bit late after the girls first tube ride from Pimlico to Green Park. Lovelt sunnt day so people absolutely everywhere. (CotG only every 2nd day) Nazi style Police on horseback not letting anyone across to the gates/fence side of the road as too full. Pushing Japanese and Germans chased down and put back to the kerb. We walk around the long way and get a great view of one set of guards arriving down.... and the band and guards leaving on our side.

Get in line for tour of house (ticket pre-purchased on line only way to get in). Talk to a father and his two kids, down from Yorkshire for a few days school holidays. Through security, all bags cameras and chewing gum away. Amazing tour, rooms of all functionality, Ballrooms, drawing rooms, throne room, courtyard, music room and garden. Race through in about 1.5 hrs of whqat should be a 2 hour tour as we are going to be a bit late for the gerkhin.

A few tube rides and we get to Monument station for the short walk to the Swiss Re building in the London financial district, Known as the gerkhin for it's shape, bulging out from a small circular base and then curving back in to a dome top, whole building of glass. Stuart Brown, who I know through work, had lunch with last week in Brisbane and is based at the gerkhin. He gives us all the royal tour including visiting the glass coverred roof bar with amazing views of all of London. It was also lucky the day was pretty clear and we could see as far as the planes taking of at Heathrow and way down the Thames.

Quick late lunch then onto the girls' first double decker bus ride the short distance to St Paul's Cathedral. Huge, 2nd in size only to St Peter's in the Vatican. Stained glass, marble and intricately carved butresses and ornaments everywhere. Then onto another bus for a ride down Whitehall, Fleet Street, Trafalgar Square on on to Victoria station and a quick walk home. top in at handmade chocolate shop and wine bar for supplies for dinner.

Head off via two tubes to Southgate for dinner at the Irwins. Brett (who I played alot of cricket with) picked us up at the train. Lee was cooking dinner and their boys Jack and Will watching the cricket on tv, chips off the old block. Lovely dinner and great to catch up after 12 years. Got a few tips for travel to France & Italy, and London shopping. Trains home after midnight. Big day again!
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