Well we’ve been travelling within the lush green lands of Europe in the summer time for two and a bit weeks so far. I thought that it was high time I wrote a travel blog post. But rather than detail every breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and tourist queue verbatim, I thought it more interesting and more expedient to give you my TOP 10 HIGHLIGHTS OF ANDREANA AND DAVE’S TRIP TO EUROPE…SO FAR. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Filling my drink bottle with ablutions water at the Abu Dharbi airport
I am hereby charged with committing a serious religious and cultural faux pas within hours of leaving Tullamarine Airport, by filling my drink bottle with a conveniently located water fountain…which turned out to be the place where Muslim people ritually cleanse themselves before going to pray.
Arguments for the defence:
- Ablutions water dispenser looked remarkably like a drinking fountain, and was marked with a sign that resembled a stick figure drinking.
- Andreana was exceedingly tired (and rather thirsty) at this point in time.
Arguments for the prosecution:
- The water was luke warm.
- Even in delirious state, Andreana was vaguely aware of strange looks people were giving her.
- And most damningly: the ‘water fountain’ was outside a prayer room.
2. Afternoon tea at Harrods, London
Our trip took a decidedly positive turn upon arriving at destination: London. David figured out the Underground and Double Decker Bus systems quick smart, and soon enough we found our way to Harrods, which is a fancy-pantsy department store with awesome 1920s escalators lined with Egyptian figurines. The food hall is a site to behold, but we made our way up and up to the tea rooms, where we indulged in tea and scones with clotted cream and jam, served in giant art-deco silverware pots and fine-bone china cups. Heeeaaaven!!
3. East London (including Brick Road) with Wei and Amy
Our good friend and Melbourne ex-pat Wei offered us a personal tour of the East End of London, which is kind of the opposite of Harrods. More the domain of Oliver Twist and Jack the Ripper, is what I gathered. We went to markets bursting with vintage clothes, leather jackets, macaroons and Japanese gyoza, and wandered through the flower market where Londoners walked around with giant pot plants and bouquets, because nobody has a car here! After Wei’s tour it was a delight to catch up with the lovely Amy, who took me to dinner on the Brick Road curry mile!
4. Frolicking in the green pastures of London’s parks and gardens
Our friends Katrina & Chris, who are once-upon-a-time Londoners, suggested a romantic walk up to Primrose Hill, which we dutifully undertook, and were rewarded with a stunning view of London, observed while sitting in green grass and basking in the afternoon sun. The adventure may have triggered David’s allergies, but there is something magical about London’s parks and gardens (think ponds, deck chairs, roses and green green green) that made the expedition more than worthwhile (for me, at least). One scene that completely captivated me was that of long, wild grass in the municipal parks of the City of London. It made me consider that maybe Australians have a lawn-mowing fetish (or it could be, perhaps, our landscape’s propensity towards grassfires and snakes). At any rate, I took a disproportionate number of photos of grass.
5. Eating cheese with fellow rangas in Greenwich
On one of the days when David was working in the London office, and I was gallivanting about, I decided to take a Thames river ferry to Greenwick, where time actually begins. After I had taken a photo of people taking a photo of themselves on Time Zone Ground Zero (I couldn’t be bothered lining up), I had a quiet lunch in some nearby tea rooms. They were again in the middle of a vast park with very long grass. I ordered the soup with bread and cheese, and when it all came out I saw that the cheese was a giant mound of cheddar, of a size I had never before witnessed. Remembering that I was slightly dairy intolerant, I called out to a couple of people sitting near me – two freckly red-heads, like me – “Do you like cheese?” In fact they liked cheese very much, and there began a fleeting friendship. One of them was a session musician and was often hired by Hillsong to play for their worship. The other one had also had a musical relationship with Christianity, having once sung at Fergie’s wedding when he was the Head Singing Boy in the Queen’s Choir, many years ago. This all made for a very interesting conversation.
Well, David has long gone to bed and so I must also join him. So you will have to STAY TUNED for the second instalment of my top 10 European adventures…