On the 17th of February we celebrated our 6 month anniversary in London and I can’t believe how much we have done and seen so far.
When we left Australia 10 months ago I never imagined that I would be stuck in Lyon, for almost 3 months, recovering from foot surgery, and then held hostage in the UK without passports for more than 4 months. If I had, we probably would have got the travel insurance…
Now that we are have our passports back we can book all of the holidays and trips that we have been planning. Already we have been lucky to spend a few days in the French Alps and Lyon visiting mum and dad in January, then, in February, (spoilt) Dan spent 4 glorious days snowboarding in Austria in the best snow conditions that they have recorded in more than 5 years. (What an awesome Christmas present!)
Our next big adventure is an epic 15 days in Egypt over Easter and I will get to spend my birthday bathing in the Red Sea! When I recall our epic Easter last year (getting married, moving house and preparing to leave Australia) this will be a very big change of pace.
Other than planning and preparing for our next 65 weekends in Europe (yes I counted), we have been out and about in London. To be more precise, I have been enjoying London’s high life…
After devouring my way through a scrumptious visit to Sushi Samba in January, I decided that I needed to experience London from as many angles as possible, including the high ones. Sushi Samba and Duck and Waffle, on the 38th and 40th floor of the Heron Tower, boast amazing views of London’s city, North London, the Gherkin and Tower Bridge. But I was determined to find the best view London has to offer…
A number of Friday’s ago (while Dan was enjoying the slopes in Austria) I spent the afternoon with my gorgeous (new) friend Tracy and her parents, Gino and Maria, on the London Eye. For someone who trembled uncontrollably atop the leaning Tower of Pisa 3 years ago, I think I did very well. It is a very surreal and somewhat relaxing experience as you appreciate the view over south, west and north London. Sadly we could not see my favourite London building, the Gherkin, or much of Canary Wharf to the east, but the view was amazing nonetheless.
On Valentine’s Day, a day we usually tend to ignore each year, I won tickets to View from the Shard! (Don’t ask me how, I honestly can’t remember) For those who don’t know, the Shard is located on the south side of the Thames River, near London Bridge, and is the tallest building in Western Europe and London. The building only opened in early February this year and offers the most incredible, uninterrupted view of London and unique viewing platform on the top floor few floors.
We were lucky to get the tickets and even luckier that it was such a beautiful clear night in London as the top floor opens to the sky, creating an eerie but mesmerizing atmosphere. The View from the Shard is one of the best views in London as you can see the London Eye to the west, St Paul’s and the city to the north and Canary Warf and Tower Bridge to the east, and the river snaking its way through the remarkably flat city. Though for £25 per person, I can’t imagine that many people will have the chance to enjoy this spectacular view.
After a somewhat late house party that Dan and I attended in our pyjamas (the theme was P or J), I spent one Sunday afternoon atop the Oxo Tower enjoying a deliciously sweet afternoon tea with 5 wonderful ladies. Aptly titled “Not Afternoon Tea”, by Head Pastry Chef Penny Wabbit, we savored the fabulously exotic sweets that were perfectly paired with a yummy cocktails. The Pandan rice puddings, lemongrass and chili ice cream, fruit tea pannacotta, and white chocolate and dried cranberry tarts were all incredible and unique twists to the usual cakes and cucumber sandwiches you would find at a traditional English afternoon tea. There weren’t many complaints about the lack of tea as we dined with a view over the River Thames and watched the sun disappear behind the London Eye and over West London.
As you can tell, for the last few months I have been testing my fear of heights and trying to push myself to experience London from great heights. There are many more places to go, but so far I have been happy with my preparation.
“Preparation for what”, you ask?
After surprising Dan with a boy’s snowboarding trip in Austria I really was stuck for things to give him for his birthday and our 1st wedding anniversary in April… so I decided that I would get us tickets for a hot air balloon ride over Luxor in Egypt. This is something that required quite a bit of preparation on my behalf, as I am not very good at heights at the best of times. However, in light of this weeks’ tragic events in Egypt, it is unlikely that we will risk it.
Now I will have to think of something else… perhaps a trip to Amsterdam…