A Travellerspoint blog

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Three days in the sun then landing back home in Brisbane at 7.00am on 9 December

sunny 27 °C

We are now on the home bound leg of nearly four months of travel.DCD51B8B0F9C7B97B64D3940902EE347.jpg

Our hotel is the Radisson Blu Deira Creek. We are in Baniyas Rd which is close to the Gold and the Perfume Souks.
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Here are some pictures we took from our room at the Radisson Blu Deira Creek.
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View of Dubai Creek taken from our balcony
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Cruise Dhow on the creek
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Same view at 9.00am Saturday morning
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Dhows tied up along the Creek

After breakfast we headed off to the Gold Souk and the Perfume Souk to have a look around. most of the jewellery is far too ornate for our taste.
Here are some pictures of Dubai and the tallest building Burj Al Khalifa.

Burj Khalifa is a skyscraper in Dubai and its is the tallest man-made structure in the world, standing at 829.8 m.

Construction began on 21 September 2004, with the exterior of the structure completed on 1 October 2009. The building officially opened on 4 January 2010, and is part of the new 2 km2 development called Downtown Dubai at the 'First Interchange' along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai's main business district. The tower's architecture and engineering were performed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago.
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Burj Al Khalifa is the tallest man made structure in the world.
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Down town Dubai

In the afternoon we were picked up at our hotel to go on an Arabian Safari. This involved dune bashing, BBQ dinner and Arabian entertainment. We didn't realise the ride out to the desert in a four month old Landcruiser would be the fastest we have ever had on four wheels.
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The meeting area where we change from one Landcruiser to another. The next Landcruiser is fitted with roll bars. The one we got out off did not though we did some cruising at 200kph on the freeway.
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Flying up and down sand hills
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Still as the sun goes down
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Following a Hummer back to our evening's entertainment
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Camel rides for those who wanted to give it a go.
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Nearly all Landcruisers -there was a lone Nissan there.
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Entertainment centre - lots of food and loud music
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Oh, and a belly dancer
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And a whirlwind Dervish
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Buildings back in Dubai have been illuminated to celebrate the 43rd National Day of Unification.

Sunday was a sunny top of 28 degrees Celsius. We used the excellent Metro system. The trains are driverless and the stations are ultra modern and clean. Everything here is air conditioned, even the bus stops.

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Bus stops all are air conditioned
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Metro entrance at Al Fahidi
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Metro station at Union

We visited the Dubai Museum which is located in The Old Fort at Al Fahidi. It is the oldest building in Dubai and was built around 1787.
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Dhow outside the fort
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Signage at the Dubai Museum
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Remnants of the old city wall
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Wall and one of the towers of the old fort
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Entrance to the fort
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Old British cannon at the fort
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Display in the museum of a spice and herb shop
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Jewellers shop
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The Museum has some excellent displays and dioramas

In the afternoon we caught the Metro to Al Khalifa and Dubai Mall. Dubai Mall is the largest shopping centre in the world with 1200 shops.
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Dubai is a hive of building activity. This picture was taken as we travelled on the overland section of the Metro.
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The Metro stations has air conditioned tunnels connecting buildings
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We walked along overhead connecting tunnels like this from the Metro to Dubai Mall. In all we walked along eight travellaters each of about 100 metres in length - a total distance of about 1.5km , all in air conditioning.
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The 30 acre lake at Dubai Mall has a fountain and light display.
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The world's biggest shopping centre has the world's tallest building there as well, the Burj Al Khalifa
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The waterfall
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Ice skating rink
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The Souk - new shops in a traditional setting inside the mall.
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The Aquarium has the lot - sharks, stingrays, crocodiles etc

We had high tea at our hotel and then a late dinner. We leave in the morning for our 14 hours and 15 minute flight back home in Business Class (we upgraded using my air miles).

We arrived home this morning at 6.40am. Here is the homecoming.
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Our Living the Dream adventure started 112 days ago. If you have been following our blog, thank you for sharing the sights and unforgettable memories.

Posted by Kangatraveller 16:33 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

LONDON, ENGLAND WEEK 2 of 2

Another 6 days then London to Dubai on Friday 5 December

overcast 5 °C

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Here we are on Saturday 29 November already. Today was our nautical day with a City River Cruise down to Greenwich, a visit to the National Maritime Museum and a visit to the HMS Belfast, a WW2 and Korean War era light cruiser now an Imperial War Museum attraction.

Here are some pictures taken from the City Cruise.
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On the way to Greenwich down river on the Thames, we saw the Prospect of Whitby Public House which Captain James Cook used to frequent for a pint of ale. There has been a Public House on this site for more than 500 years.
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Canary Wharf. The Docks and Wharves of London used to extend along the banks of the Thames right down from London to Greenwich. These have been replaced with housing and other redevelopment.
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Greenwich - the Royal Observatory from which Greenwich Mean Time and longitude is calculated is on the hall between the Naval Buildings.
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The National Maratime Museum
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Admiral Horatio Nelson's uniform worn at the Battle of Trafalgar
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Part of the display in the Nelson Wing
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Lord Horatio Nelson's stockings and breeches he wore just before his death.
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Britain 111 -fastest salt water boat with speeds of 100mph in 1933. The cutting edge design led to the building of fast torpedo boats in WW2.
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The Cutty Sark -the very fast tea clipper from Asia to Europe.
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Tower Bridge
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Tower of London
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The Shard is the tallest building in Europe. In the foreground is HMS St Albans, currently in service with the Royal Navy and behind it is the permanent display of the Imperial War Museum, the HMS Belfast.
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The Bakery. This tiny space was used by the 6 bakers on board the HMS Belfast.
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View towards the bridge of HMS Belfast.
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The helicopter on HMS St Albans with Tower Bridge in the background.

We visited the British Museum on Monday.
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The British Museum
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The Great Court

There were two exhibits we especially wanted to see- the Minoan treasures from the Island of Rhodes and the Elgin Marbles, the frieze panels taken from the Parthenon in Athens by Lord Elgin in 1801 and bought by the British Museum in 1802. There were many other first class exhibits like the Rosetta Stone.
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The Rosetta Stone
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More about the Rosetta Stone and its crucial importance in understanding the ancient hieroglyphics of the Egyptians.
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The history of the Rosetta Stone

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One of the many exhibition halls
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Minoan jewellery from Crete - 3000 years BC
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Large pottery jar same as many we saw at the Minoan Palace of Knossos at Rhodes around 3500BC ie 5500 years old.

A real highlight for us were the Elgin Marbles. These sections from the Parthenon are a matter of discussion as the Greeks would like them back.
The Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles are a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures (mostly by Phidias and his assistants), inscriptions and architectural members that originally were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin claimed to obtain a controversial permit 'to remove statues but what he might discover in specific excavation' from the Sublime Porte, which then ruled Greece.

From 1801 to 1812, Elgin's agents removed about half of the surviving sculptures of the Parthenon, as well as architectural members and sculpture from the Propylaea and Erechtheum. The Marbles were transported by sea to Britain.
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See below sections that once were mostly the west frieze of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens.
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Before we left the Museum we had a look at the Anglo Saxon rooms.
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The Lewis Chess set.
The Lewis chessmen (or Uig chessmen, named after the bay where they were found) are a group of 12th-century chess pieces, along with other gaming pieces, most of which are carved in walrus ivory. Discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, they were thought to come from Norway when the Norwegians took over Greenland around 1000AD.

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Colleen went to this store today while I stayed home.

We went our different ways again with me going out to Colindale to the RAF Museum.
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The RAF Museum is north of London at the airfield of Hendon.
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One of the hangars used for displays.
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Hurricane and Spitfire on display out the front.
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Just some of the aircraft in the main hall range from the early years of flight to newly retired fighter jets.
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De Havilland Misquito - a very fast fighter bomber and night fighter from WW2 famous for being made of wood.
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Dam busters Display
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This is a replica Upkeep Bomb used to blow dams on the Rhine with devastating effect. The bombs were dropped at a height of 50 feet and bounced along the water till they hit the dam wall and then were programmed to explode at a certain depth. Dr Barnes Wallis was the inventor.
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Lancaster Heavy Bomber. This one was used first by the RAF then the RAAF and flew 137 missions. The average age of the 7 man crews of these planes was 22.
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Information panel on the Lancaster.
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The US built Consolidated Liberator B V111. 19257 were built between 1940 and 1945. It was America's first mass produced aircraft with one being built every 60 minutes at Ford's Willow Run Factory.
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Sunderland Flying Boat
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Junkers Ju87 also known as a Stuka Dive Bomber

Later in the afternoon, I visited the British Library, the second largest library in the world and home of 14 million books.
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Courtyard of the British Library.
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Interior of the library
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The Treasures of the Library section is very interesting with many very valuable and original manuscripts including from such people as Leonardo Da Vinci, Henry V111, artists, writers and musicians. This photo above shows original writings of some Beatles songs.

Today was our last full day in London. The weather has been around 5 Degrees Celsius most of the day with a quite chilly wind and occasional light rain. Nevertheless we had a trip to see St Paul's and then a walk along the south bank of the Thames.
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West entrance of St Paul's Cathedral designed by Sir Christopher after the original was burned in the Great Fire of London of 1666.
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The Dome of St Paul's viewed just from the Millenium Bridge
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The Millenium Bridge with the Tate Gallery of Modern Art in the background. The Gallery building was once a power station.
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View down the river at 1.30pm.
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Recreation of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
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Southwark Cathedral
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The Harvard Chapel named after John Harvard baptised here in 1607 before leaving for the US to start a little school of his own.

We leave for Dubai in the morning and get there at 8.00pm their time. Temperatures in Dubai are around 27 degrees through the day with a low of 22 degrees at night.

Posted by Kangatraveller 08:18 Archived in England Comments (0)

LONDON, ENGLAND - WEEK 1 of 2

The first of two weeks in a unit near King's Cross Station

semi-overcast 8 °C

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After a week in the quiet countryside of Cornwall we are now ready for the delights and sights of London. Our train pulled into Paddington Station early and so we arrived at Kings Cross half an hour earlier than expected. We contacted Elaine who met us at the unit. We rented a very nice one bedroom flat just across the street from St Pancras Kings Cross Station. The entrance is between Mc Donald's and Crystal Kebab. The position is unsurpassed. However, the downside is that there are 43 steps up a narrow staircase to the front door.

Sunday morning was a late start with Skype calls to family then a Bacon, eggs and tomato breakfast before we bought our Oyster Cards and travelled to Lambeth North tube station (the scene of my accident on Friday, 13 January 2012) for a visit to the Imperial War Museum.
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The Imperial War Museum
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Displays like this Spitfire hang from the Atrium
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Car wreck from Baghdad
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Fifth floor displays - just one of 160 Victoria Cross winners displayed
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Lord Ashcroft donated his very comprehensive collection of 160 VC winners.
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Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery's staff car from which he visited his soldiers in the front lines.
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United Nations vehicle with the former dictator of Iraq in the background

We visited the very popular World War 1 exhibition along with hordes of other visitors.
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WW1 British tank
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WW1 aircraft
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Display from The Somme, Menin Gate
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Leaving the Imperial War Museum at 4.30 pm in the afternoon
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London bus with the destination of Oxford Circus

Monday saw us visit Windsor Castle then the Tower of London. Windsor Castle dates from William the Conqueror in 1066 and started life as a fortification around 20 miles from London.

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Windsor Castle - home of the sovereign for more than 900 years.
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The walls of Windsor Castle, the oldest castle in continuous use in the world.
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Colleen chats to the constabulary.
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Entrance road into Windsor Castle
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The State Apartments
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St Georges Hall in the State Apartments.
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The Round Tower at Windsor Castle
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The Moat and Round Tower
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St George Chapel -the royal chapel has the burials of Henry V111 and King George V1 and the Queen Mother.
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St George Chapel
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Guardsman on duty

After lunch we took the national rail back to Paddington then the circle line to Tower Hill to visit the Tower of London.
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A squirrel just outside the tube station.
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The four towers of the White Tower
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Changing of the guard. Notice the Beefeater on the left. They have been guarding the Royal Jewels for 500 years.
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The rack in Bloody Tower
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Traitors Gate
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The Royal Jewels -no photography. Wow, what a collection!!
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Tower Bridge is just a short walk away.
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Some of the 888 246 ceramic poppies set up for Remembrance Day on 11 November - one for each of the British soldiers killed in WW1.
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St Pancras Station at night....I mean at 5.00pm.

On Tuesday we went out to the National Motor Museum out near Heathrow Airport. While they have 240 cars on display, the majority are US vehicles. It is expensive at £30 per adult entry (2x$60 approx).
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One of my favourites was the 1955 Mercedes Benz Gullwing
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Colleen walks away from the 2010 Roller which had a price tag of $433 000
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Mr Bean's Mini
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Herbie's VW
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Batman's vehicles

After our visit, we caught the train back to Paddington to take the Circle Line to Baker Street.
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The Beatle's Store in Baker Street
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One of the most famous addresses that does not exist in reality is 221B Baker Street, home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes.

We walked from Baker Street to Lord's Cricket Ground, also known as the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). Lord's Cricket Ground, generally known as Lord's, is a cricket venue in St John's Wood, London. Named after its founder, Thomas Lord, it is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and is the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Lord's is widely referred to as the "home of cricket" and is home to the world's oldest sporting museum.

I didn't think I would enjoy this as much as I did. Colleen is the cricket tragic but the MCC Guide, Richard, was so entertaining and knowledgeable. In the Team Dressing Rooms, he recounted who sat where in the seating. Apparently, cricketers are way up there in superstitions as sportsmen and have favourite routines. Unknowingly, I sat in Shane Warne's favourite spot.

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Colleen on the corner of the ground pointing to the Ashes. In the Museum, we saw the original ashes. It is surprisingly small. No photography was allowed.
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The Pavilion built 1898.
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Colleen on the top floor of the Tavern Stand. Here are the most expensive seats. A member can loan the club £12 000 repayable after 75 years if they want to sit in a particular seat. Tickets by ballot for next year's Test Match are held on 15 December this year. Last year they were sold out 5 times over in 24 hours.
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View of Lord's Cricket Ground from the JP Morgan Media Centre

Wednesday, 26 November was a very late start for us as we are getting a little tired. We thought we would stay around close to the centre of London. We visited one of our favourites - Westminster Abbey.
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The tube to Westminster takes us also to the Houses of Parliament. Here is Elizabeth Tower with the bell called Big Ben.
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The Great North Door of Westminster Abbey
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North Cloister of Westminster Abbey
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East cloister of Westminster Abbey
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View across the Cloister Garth to the North Tower
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View from Poet's Corner to the Great North Door of Westminster Abbey
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Great West Door of Westminster Abbey

After lunch we visited the Churchill War Rooms which were built under the Treasury Building in 1940.
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The Treasury Building, 1 Horse Guards Street
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Hyde Park
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The Cabinet Meeting Room
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The secure hot phone that linked Churchill with the US President
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Churchill's Dining Room
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Meeting room for the General Staff
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Churchill's kitchen in the War Rooms
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Map showing Churchills's overseas travel including the battlefields during the war years - 104 462 miles by air, sea, train and are between 1940 and 1945 when he was aged 65 to 70.
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Displays in the Churchill War Rooms
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The Map Room
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Churchill's Bedroom
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Horse Guards Parade

We had a short visit to Leicster Square to visit the M& M World shop. It had the atmosphere of an Apple store with the glitz, religiosity and showmanship. You could even personalise your messages on the M&Ms.
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The M&M World Store

Thursday 27 November started off very overcast but turned out to be a sunny/cloudy day with no showers. So we decided to take the District Line out to Hampton Court approximately 30 miles away.

Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, in the historic county of Middlesex. It was originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII, circa 1514; in 1529, as Wolsey fell from favour, the palace was passed to the King Henry V111, who enlarged it.

The following century, King William III's massive rebuilding and expansion project intended to rival Versailles was begun. Work halted in 1694, leaving the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles, domestic Tudor and Baroque. While the palace's styles are an accident of fate, a unity exists due to the use of pink bricks and a symmetrical, if vague, balancing of successive low wings.

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The main entrance to Hampton Court Castle
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History of the castle
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Main Entrance
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The Base Court of the castle. there was a large party of school children on the tour so we elected to do our own tour.
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Henry V111 kitchens. Meat for an average year was 1000 head of oxen, 500 yearlings, 1000 deer, 8500 head of sheep and 50 wild boar.
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Just one of many rooms of King Henry V111's kitchens.
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The Clock Court
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The Great Fountain Garden
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Staircase up into William 111's Apartments
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The Home Park
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King William 111s Bedroom
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King Henry V111s Great Hall
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King Henry V111s Private Dining Room
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The Hampton Court Maze. No, we decided not to do it as we wanted to get to Wimbledon for a 2 o'clock tour.

We had to change trains twice and then a brisk walk to get to Wimbledon for our 2 o'clock guided tour. We had done this tour before in 2011 but it turned out to be a very enjoyable experience once again.
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2013 Gentlemans and Ladies Singles Champions.
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The trophies
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No 1 Court - only used for Championships and Davis Court when needed
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The Hill properly named Aorangi Hill as the land was owned by the Kiwi Expatriate Football Club before the All England Tennis Club.
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The roofed area of Centre Court as seen from the Hill.
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Court No 18 scene of the longest tennis match ever - 11 hours and 5 minutes over 3 days
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The longest tennis match ever. The previous record was 5 hours and 5 minutes.
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The Media Room - Tennis Nut Colleen being interviewed by a very minor media official.
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The Holy Grail - Centre Court, Wimbledon
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Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer.

Friday, 28 November was supposed to be a fine sunny day. The weather bureau was partly right, it didn't rain. Our first visit for the day was to Kensington Palace. Here are a few photos from there.
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The Gold Gates which lead to the private quarters of the Palace where Charles and Diana lived. This was the gate where floral tributes swamped the area as people expressed their sorrow at the death of Princess Diana.
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The main entrance to Kensington Palace
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View from the King's Apartments over Kensington Park.
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Queen Victoria grew up in Kensington Palace. This is her childhood doll's house.
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Exhibition of dresses. This belonged to Queen Elizabeth in the early 60s.

We caught the tube to Victoria to the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace and the Royal Gallery.
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The. Courtyard of the Mews is pretty ordinary and is used as a car park by palace workers.
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The Diamond Jubilee State Coach
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The Diamond Jubilee State Coach was built in Australia.
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The Mews houses the Queen's five official vehicles. This 1950 Rolls Royce Phantom IV was ordered by the Princess Elizabeth before her marriage to Prince Philip. The Queen has five official vehicles and they are numbered 1 to 5 as they do not have registration or number plates.
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The Gold State Coach was built 252 years ago and is used for coronations.

We had a short visit to the Royal Gallery. there was a magnificent exhibition by the Prince of Wales photographer of his visit to Greece, the Ottoman Empire and Egypt some 160 years ago. The black and white photographs really show a different world.
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There was an exhibition called 'Gold' as well. The photo below shows an 8.5 kg solid plate.

Buckingham Palace always attracts crowds at any time of the day.
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Buckingham Palace

Colleen and I walked from Buckingham Palace down to the Wellington Arch. we were rather surprised to find it has small galleries inside accessible by lift. There was quite a view also from the top. Like many other victory arches, it has a Quadriga on top (the four horse chariot).
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The Wellington Arch on Hyde Park Corner.
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Part of the display inside showed Field Marshall Earl Haig, British Commander in WW1.
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The Australian War Memorial commemorating both World Wars was opened by PM John Howard in 2003. This is where Australia commemorates Anzac Day in London.

Late afternoon, we decided to fit in a visit to the London Transport Museum before finding a nice restaurant around Covent Garden or Leicester Square.
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Horse drawn bus from London circa 1900. Each coach required 6 changes of horses per day (total 12) making about 50 000 horses needed in London.
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Underground steam train used in the early years of the London Underground in the 1860s.
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London bus used to transport troops in France. Convoys of around 80 buses were used to ferry troops to and from the front line. At one time there were around 1 000 London buses in France.
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This is 'Ole Bill' one of the many buses sent to France early in the war. In 1920, it was repainted to its original colours and pressed back into service as a London bus.
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London buses

As this London part of the blog is getting a bit lengthy, I have decided to publish it now and do a separate one for the next week we have here in London. We leave in Friday 5 December for Dubai where we will gave a three night stopover. We will arrive back in Brisbane in Tuesday 9 December.

Posted by Kangatraveller 00:37 Archived in England Comments (0)

CORNWALL, ENGLAND

A week in a unique part of England

Oh what a journey to get here! We are staying at Clowance Estate outside Praze-An-Beeble which is south west of Truro.

Cornwall is a ceremonial county and unitary authority area of England, within the United Kingdom. Cornwall is a peninsula bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Yes, there is a city of Launceston.

Cornwall has a population of 536,000 and covers an area of 3,563 km2. The administrative centre, and only city in Cornwall, is Truro, although the town of St Austell has the largest population. Traditionally, mining (tin mining and later copper from the Middle ages), fishing (pilchards) and agriculture are the main industries. The railways led the increasingly important industry of tourism.

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After a 5.30 am wake up in Paris and the Eurostar to St Pancras in London, we had a mad dash to Paddington to catch a Great Western Rail train to Truro and then a bus from Truro to Camborne ( as a viaduct was under repair on the rail line). A taxi picked us up and delivered us to our accommodation at Clowance Estate.
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The Clowance Estate has many lodges and units. This is the road to our three bedroom lodge.
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Our home for the next week
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There is also a 9 hole golf course.
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Golf course
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Colleen in the kitchen of our A Frame three bedroom, two bathroom lodge. There is a sauna as well.

On Monday,, we joined a tour with two other couples for a day around The Lizard.
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Porthleven in on the west coast of The Lizard.
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The inner harbour at Porthlevin.
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Mullion Cove
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The retirement home on the cliff top at Mullion Cove
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Mullion Cove
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The Mullion Cove Hotel
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Lizard Point- notice one of many helicopters on manoeuvres from RNAS Culdrose, the largest helicopter base in Europe.
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Lizard Point, the most southerly facing harbour in Great Britain
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Lizard Point
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Lizard Point is a huge outcrop of Serpentine
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Old Norman church at Lizard is more than a thousand years old.
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The bell is more than 600 years old
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The village of Lizard
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Coastline at Lizard Point
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Thatch roof houses at Lizard
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This is a typical two lane road in this area. We had to clear debris before we could go on.
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Looking down to Falmouth Harbour, one of the deepest after Sydney Harbour
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Falmouth Harbour
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We passed RNAS Culdrose on our way back. Both Princes William and Harry have served at this base which is the largest helicopter base in Europe. We saw a large number of helicopters flying around this area.

We really got what we came for in Cornwall - beautiful scenery, a very good resort for R&R and one week in one place with no unpacking and packing.
On Thursday, we took the short walk to Praze-an-Beeble for lunch.
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While it is only half a mile walk into Praze-an-Beeble, the road is narrow with no footpaths for most if it and it carries quite a heavy body of traffic.
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The village
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The pub, St Aubyn's Arms Steak and Ale House
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The Chippy and Cafe

Saturday morning was the reverse journey to our accommodation in London for the next two weeks. Firstly, a taxi to Camborne, bus to Truro then a 6 hour train journey to Paddington then the underground to Kings Cross.

Posted by Kangatraveller 10:33 Archived in England Comments (0)

FRANCE - A WEEK IN PARIS

A more leisurely revisiting of some favourite places and a few new ones

13 °C

We arrived back in Paris on Saturday night, 8 November. Our taxi from Gare Du Nord cost 25 € within sight of our hotel. We decided to walk the extra distance after we were caught in a traffic jamb. The taxi on Thursday going the same route cost 10€.

After vowing to have an easy day we couldn't help ourselves getting on the Metro to Concorde and walking the entire length of the Champs Élysées both sides. here are a few photos from this mostly grey and overcast day.
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Place de la Concorde
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The Palais Royale
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getting ready for the Christmas Markets
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Well dressed Parisians even on a Sunday afternoon
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The Arc de Triomphe
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View from near the Arc de Triomphe
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A quiet Sunday on the Champs Élysées
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The Lido - no plans to go again.

On Monday 10 November, we took the subway over to the south side of the Seine. Our Metro station was undergoing renovations so we hopped off at the station past it. We had a very good walk as we fumbled our way to where we wanted to go - 24 Rue Edgar Faure where Fat Tyre Bike Tours were located. They were the first to offer Segway Tours. Colleen and I signed up for a three hour Segway tour of Paris starting at 2.00pm.

We retired to an artisan Boulangerie for lunch before we could change our minds.

When we returned at 1.30pm we met Costi, our leader. The six of us - two Americans, two Mexicans and we two Australians, had a short introduction to the Segway and quickly learned to find our centre balance and how to lean forward and back to start and stop.

Both of us thought we may have difficulty in riding this contraption but after a little practice and actually setting off single file we adapted quickly. Our first stop was at the Ecole Militaire we had a fabulous view also of the nearby Eiffel Tower. Here are some pictures taken during our travels from the bast to the Ecole Militaire, over the Alexander 111 Bridge over the Seine then past the Grand Palais to the Champs Élysée, the Place de Concorde, The Tuileries Garden, the Louvre then back over the Seine past the Quay D'Orsay and back to Rue Edgar Faure after a long ride back along the banks of the Seine.
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Walking back from Commerce Metro to Dupleix Place
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First practise at handling the Segway
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The Ecole Militaire, the parade grounds across the road now house the Eiffel Tower. Napoleon Bonaparte was a student at this school.
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L'Hotel Invalides - built by King Louis XIV as a hospital for wounded soldiers.
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Musee de L'Armee - Army Museum
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The River Seine viewed from Alexander 111 bridge
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One of the statues on the end of the bridge with the Palais Royale in the background
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The Obelisk in the Place de La Concorde
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Plaque showing where the guillotine stood which was used to decapitate King Louis XVI a and Queen Antoinette (and about 3 000 others).
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Statue in the grounds of the Tuileries with the Louvre in the bckground
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The replica Arc de Triomphe used as the gateway from the Louvre to the Tuileries.
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Colleen on her Segway on the north bank of the Seine
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The bridge over the Seine with locks installed by people to express their love for each other.
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The Quay D'Orsay Museum was built in a disused railway station
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View west down the Seine showing the Palais Royale in the background
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Colleen and I with the Eiffel Tower in the background
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Us again on our Segways.

Tuesday, 11 November is Armistice Day holiday in France. many places were closed. We took the wonderful Metro to Abbesses Station which surely must have about 100 steps up to ground level before we walked up another couple of hundred steps to Sacre Coeur Cathedral at Montmatre.
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The narrow and steep roads of Montmatre.
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The view from the top.
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Cathedral of Sacre Coeur
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Inside the Cathedral

We caught the Metro to Notre Dame de Champs station as it is closest to Luxembourg Palace and Les Jardin de Luxembourg. The Palace and grounds were built in 1614 for Marie de Medici, the wife of King Henry IV of France.

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A pink Cadillac parked on the corner. Around the corner was a convertible Mustang.
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Walkways and chairs abound in these gardens
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One of many statues in the gardens
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The Palais with the pond to the right of picture
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The L'Orangarie of the Palais
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This is just one example of how cars are parked in these crowded streets.

Wednesday 12 November proved to be a beautiful sunny day with clear skies in the morning and some cloud in the afternoon. So, we changed our plans for the day and went first to the Musee de l'Orangerie and then had lunch on a restaurant just off the Champs Elysee. After lunch we walked up the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe and took the lift up to the top to sample the magnificent 360 views.

The Musée de l'Orangerie is an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings located in the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens next to the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Though most famous for being the permanent home for Eight Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet, the museum also contains works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, Alfred Sisley, Chaim Soutine, and Maurice Utrillo, among others. We were lucky enough to see a major exhibition of the work of Emile Bernard (1868-1941).

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Women on the Nile by Emile Bernard

We were disappointed that Claude monet's home at Giverny was closed for the winter so we went to the Musee de l'Orangerie to see his water lilies.

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The 8 panorama panels of Monet's Les Nympheas (The Water Lilies) are displayed in two oval rooms lit by natural light.
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One of the panels of The Water Lilies
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The Musee de l'Orangerie
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The Musee de l'Orangerie is set in one corner of the beautiful Tuileries Gadens
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Auguste Rodin's Le Baiser bronze sculpture is displayed in the grounds in front of the Musee de l'orangerie.

The Champs Elysee is always a good place to walk and people watch. We strolled up to the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile (Arch of Triumph of the Star) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l'Étoile), at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It should not be confused with a smaller arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
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Napoleon promised the troops after the victory at Austerlitz that they would return home under a triumphal arch.
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View East along the Champs Elysee
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View west along the Avenue de la Grande Armee
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View to the north showing the spires of Sacre Coeur
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View to the south showing the Eiffel Tower to the right and the gold dome of the Hotel des Invalides to the left.
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The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Eternal Flame light in 1921.

Thursday 13 November saw us visit Saint-Chapelle. The Sainte-Chapelle is a royal medieval Gothic chapel, located near the Palais de la Cité, on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, France.

Begun some time after 1239 and consecrated on 26 April 1248, the Sainte-Chapelle is considered among the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture. Its erection was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including Christ's Crown of Thorns - one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom.

Along with the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle is one of the earliest surviving buildings of the Capetian royal palace on the Île de la Cité. Although damaged during the French revolution, and restored in the 19th century, it retains one of the most extensive in-situ collections of 13th-century stained glass anywhere in the world.

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Sainte-Chapelle
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Some information about the stained glass windows
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The stained glass windows 15.5 metres in height
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The upper level with the amazing stained glass windows 1242 to 1248

We decided to have another visit to Notre Dame de Paris. Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, is a historic Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world. The naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture. Construction started in 1160 and was mostly complete by 1350.
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Cathedral Notre Dame
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Statue of Charlemagne in the grounds. Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great or Charles I, was the King of the Franks from 768, the King of Italy from 774, and from 800 the first emperor in western Europe since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier.
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The beautiful carved doors
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The nave of the Cathedral
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The western stained glass window

After lunch we made our way to the Louvre.The Louvre or the Louvre Museum is one of the world's largest museums and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, France, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (district). Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres. The Louvre is the world's most visited museum, and receives more than 10 million visitors a year.

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation's masterpieces.

The Museum was opened on 10 August 1793 with many exhibits mainly confiscated from churches and royalty.
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One of the walkways into the museum

The museum entrance is under the glass pyramid. The Louvre Pyramid is a large glass and metal pyramid, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard (Cour Napoléon) of the Louvre Palace in Paris. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Completed in 1989, it has become a landmark of the city of Paris. Designed by architect I.M. Pei it was designed to allow people to descend into the Pyramid lobby before ascending into the Louvre buildings to cater for the huge number of people visiting the museum.

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The pyramid viewed from one of the wings of the Louvre when we entered.
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The pyramid viewed from the second floor of the Louvre just before we left at closing time.

There are many items of interest in the Louvre so I have picked just a few of the best known art works.
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Art works on display
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Another favourite piece - Les Noces de Cana by Paolo Caliari, known as Veronese 1568. This very large oil painting is on the opposite wall to the most famous painting - The Mona Lisa.
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The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vincilarge_AA09B50CAF5A1726A16B53A3D3D26C31.jpg
Jacqueline Louis David's Inauguration of Napoleon 1
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Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, also known as Venus de Milo.

Friday 14 November was another day at the Louvre. It is really hard to imagine the scale of the art collections. Some people think they can see it all in one day.....absolutely no chance even if they were on roller skates.

On Friday night we saw How to be a Parisian in One Hour. Trip Adviser recommended it as number 10 of 792 things to see and do in Paris. Olivier Giraud is a thirty year old comedian who manages to poke fun at the French and all nationalities and has the audience engaged.

We leave on the Eurostar on Saturday for London and then a quick change to a slow train that will take us almost across England to Camborne in Cornwall. We have a week at the Clowance Estate which is half a mile outside Praze-An-Beeble.

Posted by Kangatraveller 23:56 Archived in France Comments (0)

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