A Travellerspoint blog

Abu Dhabi to Sydney - Saturday, 30 April 2011

Heading Home - Abu Dhabi to Sydney - Highlights and Lowlights

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This is the air traffic control tower at Abu Dhabi airport. Isn't it just the coolest thing you've ever seen?

Our flight from Sydney (14 1/2 hrs) left Abu Dhabi at 10.15 am (4.15 pm Sydney time) and arrived in Sydney at 6.15 am on Sunday, 1 May. It was a good flight and went pretty quickly. I watched a couple of movies, "That Thing You Do" and "Walk the Line" and slept quite a bit too.

We got to the domestic terminal in Sydney by 7.30 am and had to wait until 11.00 am and 11.30 am for our flights to Brisbane and Canberra. That was a drag but we couldn't risk missing our flights if we were held up in Customs and Immigration, like Phil and I were once on our way back from Viet Nam. It took hours to clear Customs and Immigration in Melbourne. It was pathetic and we missed our flight to Canberra.

Anyway, I finally landed in Canberra at 12.15 pm, tired but happy and with so much to tell Phil.

Highlights -
Royal Victorian Order Church Service and Reception
Friendly and very helpful UK citizens
Clean and tidy London
Train trip to Scotland
Beautiful Scotland
Putting beautiful pink rosebuds on Lorna's grave in Girvan, Scotland
B&B in Ayr, Scotland and owners John Doolan and his wife
Meeting Amy and Peggy from Chicago
"Queen - We Will Rock You" stage musical at the Dominion Theatre, London
Madame Toussards - fantastic
Windsor
David Jordon - our London Tour Guide
Isle of Skye
Inverness
Edinburgh
Reconnecting with a lovely brother and making memories together that we will never forget

Lowlights -
Dragging my suitcase up flights of stairs at UK Railway Stations
Getting a cold in Glasgow at the beginning of our "Scottish Dream" tour

Posted by gaddingabout 04:43 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

Abu Dhabi - Friday, 29 April 2011

Abu Dhabi

Slept in today - we need it! The bed and pillows are just fantastic. We finally got to breakfast at 9.30 am and it was packed. Everyone was there. They were all sleepy heads like us.

We had a very relaxing day, sitting by the pool. We sat on our beds and watched the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton for hours.

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Had a late, quick pizza for lunch and then we were collected from our hotel for our desert safari. Whizzing up and down the sand dunes in a 4WD was fun but I forgot to take a motion sickness tablet before we left the hotel, and I must say I was mighty glad when it ended, because much more of it and I would have been sick! How those Land Rovers don't roll over is beyond me.

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Then into the camp for dinner and the belly dancing display. We both had a nice evening and sat with some English people for dinner, but I think our desert safari in Dubai in 2010 was probably a bit better.

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Back to the hotel and packed the bag ready to leave the next morning.

Posted by gaddingabout 04:39 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

London to Abu Dhabi - Thursday, 28 April 2011

London to Abu Dhabi

Flew 7 1/2 hours through the night to Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The time went pretty quickly and the plane was only two thrids full. The hotel, the Radisson Blu, and our room is very nice, expect they gave us a double bed, so we had to change rooms. We have a nice view overlooking the golf course and the water.

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Last year, Phil and I had a stop over in Dubai (because we were flying Emirates) but Peter and I were in Abu Dhabi because we were flying Etihad. From first impressions, I think I like Dubai better because it seems to be more compact and easier to get around. Abu Dhabi seems to have three distinct areas which makes it very spread out. We are on Yas Island.

We had a short time to freshen up and then were picked up from the hotel for our city tour. Our first stop was the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. My goodness, what an absolutely stunning place that was. I have never seen anything quite so beautiful. It is predominately white, with gold and looks so good against a blue sky background. I had to wear a black burka and a head scarf and Peter had to cover up in a white dress. There was to be ABSOLUTELY no touching between men and women once inside the Mosque. The chandeliers were beautiful - seven of them, imported from Germany and incorporating millions of Swarovski crystals. The largest chandelier is the second largest known chandelier inside a mosque and the third largest in the world.

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Then onto the date market and the port.

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And a look inside a lovely restaurant with gold crockery and trimmings. It was all a bit over the top, but that is what this part of the world is like.

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We also visited a heritage village. It was very interesting but it is very hot.

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We didn't have any local money to pay for our tour, so the guide took us to an ATM and the matter was rectified.

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We were getting very tired so when we went back to the hotel, we had a nice pizza by the pool for lunch and then went back to our room for a few hours sleep before dinner.

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We had dinner on a dhow, cruising around the harbour. The meal was fantastic, served on gold rimmed plates. First, dips and smoked salmon; then a lobster; then a mixed grill with rice; pasta with vegetables and vegetables; then a piece of tart and a fruit platter and warm sweet pumpkin pudding. Too much food - impossible to eat it all, but so nice.

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Slept well in a nice cool room and a big, full tummy!

Posted by gaddingabout 04:15 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

London - Wednesday, 27 April 2011

London

Back into London this morning, armed with prepurchased tickets for Madame Toussards and determined to see it today before we leave. Only had to queue for 10 minutes and we were inside. Well, it was definitely worth the effort to get here. I have always wanted to see it. It was fabulous and really good that you can drape yourself all over your favourite celebrity. It was very busy but the sequence of the rooms made the huge crowd flow beautifully. I took stacks of photos and am going to down load them all into this blog.

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The Royal Section

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My favourite photo

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After we'd taken photos with all our favourite people, still in Madame Toussards, we hopped into a London taxi on a conveyor belt and went on a tour of the history of London - from the great Fire to the plague to the monarchy, the Industrial Revolution etc right up to the present day. Then we entered the 4D Super Heroes movie. What is 4D, I hear you ask? Wouldn't have a clue. The theme of the movie was that the baddies were attacking Buckingham Palace and the super heroes were going to save us all.

The first thing was a London red double decker bus came hurtling out of the sky and crashed into the fountain at the front gates of Buckingham Palace. Spash! and the audience was covered in a fine mist. 4D!! The Hulk sneezed and we all got a spray. Yuk! Knives were sticking into the back of our chairs and robot bugs were fluttering around our ankles. It was absolutely amazing. Madame Toussards is definitely well worth a visit.

We called into the Beatles shop and bought a few things.

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Then back to Windsor for a late lunch and then back to the Clarence and our driver arrived to 5.00 pm to take us to the airport for our flight to Abu Dhabi.

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This is the Guild Hall in Windsor where Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were married.

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So sad to be leaving. Goodbye to Windsor Castle and Queen Vic, the reason we came in the first place.

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We had had a wonderful time in the UK and what was even more special was reuniting with a lovely brother and making memories together that we will never forget.

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Before I move on to Abu Dhabi, I must recount a story of my "well mannered brother". He is a very kind hearted, complacent, easy going person from a smallish city in Queensland, Australia. On one of our trips into London, we were changing trains with the crowds of early morning workers. I hopped into an already packed train and looked around for Peter. No Peter. Then I spied him out on the platform, standing back, letting everyone else get on the train first. He finally got on the train - the last person - and it was such a squash, that when the doors closed, they closed on his back pack, which meant that he was in the train and his back pack was out!! Some strong person prized the doors open and then all of him was safely inside. Boy, did I give Peter a piece of my mind. "What if you hadn't fitted in the train?" "I would have caught the next one", he says. "Oh yeah, what if it wasn't going to the same place that this one was?!" Eek! The people on the train must have thought that poor man being married to such a shrew! Even though I am three years older than him, we look like we could be a married couple! What is that old saying - "you can take the man out of the country, but not the country out of the man!" Too true!

Posted by gaddingabout 03:00 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

London - Tuesday, 26 April 2011

London

Off to London again, but on the way, dropped into Windsor Post Office and posted the hat in its box, home. 9 English Pounds normal mail or 14 registered. I registered it for peace of mind, seeing it was borrowed.

We decided to go to Madame Toussards before making our way to near Trafalga Square to join our Beatles Tour at 2 pm. The queues at Madame Toussards were horrendous. The travel agent had given me the wrong advice - AGAIN!. We should have purchased our tickets before we left home and then at least we could have jumped the queue. The normal queue was two hours and that was before you even got in. So we made our way over to Trafalfa Square and saw Nelson's Column and spent a couple of hours at the National Portrait Gallery. The Tudor Section was fabulous; King Henry VIII and wives. Loved it!

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We went on the Beatles Tour which was good. Our guide looked like he was left over from the sixties.

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We drove around a lot of places where he would point to an upstairs apartment and say "So and so died in there of a drug overdose". It was almost getting depressing.

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We called into Rolling Stone Bill Wyman's restaurant "Sticky Fingers", named after one of the Rolling Stones' albums.

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We pulled up at the front of a walled garden and house, and our guide told us that Paul Macartney lived in there. It was just around the corner from Lord's Cricket Ground. The thought did cross my mind that how would we know who lived in all these places. He could be making the whole thing up. However, during the summer cricket season, someone hit a six at Lord's and the commentator said, "Well if Paul Macartney was in his front yard, he could have caught that ball", so I guess it was his house after all.

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Of course the highlight of the Beatles Tour for both of us was ending up at the Abbey Road studios.

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We took heaps of pictures of ourselves crossing the road at the famous pedestrian crossing. It is a normal road and motorists must get so sick of having to stop all the time for tourists walking back and forth across the crossing.

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I love this photo of me with a big red London bus stopped at the crossing. I bet that driver was cursing me.

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There is a CCTV camera on the crossing and you can go to the website, archive section and see yourself on the crossing - 26/4 approximately 4.22 pm. Sent some texts back to Australia about this and my buddy Karolyn Harcourt saw me at the crossing.

Before going back to Windsor, I took Peter into Harrods to look at the Food Hall. It is always amazing. The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was only three days away the the windows at Harrods had the most beautiful wedding cakes displayed in them. They represent famous English companies, eg Wedgwood, Mont Blanc etc. I took a photo of every window so please indulge me as I am going to down load every one into this blog. They were stunning.

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I tried to book the Windsor Ghost Walk at 8.00 pm but the guy who runs it didn't reply to my message and didn't turn up at the appointed spot opposite Windsor Castle at 8, so we went into the pub instead and had dinner.

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Back to the Clarence and packed up ready to leave tomorrow. How sad. Our colds are getting a bit better. Peter still has huge coughing fits in the middle of the night.

Posted by gaddingabout 02:17 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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