Coffee out at Camden Town

Not an early start to our first full day today after the mammoth journey to get here. We didn’t leave the apartment till mid morning.

Initially planned to go to Camden Market from the closest station (Barbican) but it was closed (as were all stations on the circle line) so walked the opposite direction to St Paul’s station. Walking that way I was able to snap the picture above of St Pauls.

Somewhat a blessing in disguise having to detour as we passed “Postman’s Park” which has lots of memorials dedicated to “heroic self sacrifice” where people died in the heroic act of saving someone else from death. Lots of interesting history in this tiny pocket of London, and we just stumbled across it (we had known it existed, thought it would be interesting, but hadn’t actually planned on visiting it)

Next stop was Camden Market. Normally I’d go out of my way to avoid “markets” but this one is well worth the visit. It has plenty of the normal market dross, but also lots of interesting stuff too. If you are after a T-shirt with witty comments, this is the place to come. There are also a lot of local photographers who sell their artwork, we picked up this awesome little picture that combines Lego with London photography.

Camden also has my favourite burger joint (Baba G’s Bhangra Burger), a fantastic Indian / western fusion. It’s amazing, if you come here seek them out. They used to operate out of a food truck but they now have a proper restaurant. They have other outlets in London too.

I got my coffee fix out a Camden too. Initial reconnaissance of this coffee joint indicates it should be good, it had a queue and Italian barista. Was a little disappointed though, ended up too hot and slightly burnt. Might have more luck tomorrow.

All the rage out here at the moment are these “Bubble Waffles”, i expect we will try one sometime before we leave London.

If you come here to Camden on a weekend, expect crowds, the place is pumping, even on a slightly wet day. When we finished here we had to queue on the street for a few minutes to get back in the tube station

This particular weekend in London had “Open House London” where lots of interesting buildings are open to the public, and they only offer it once per year. Scotland Yard were open to tours but you has to submit a ballot entry since it was so popular. Unfortunately I misssd out on that one. The Gherkin, my favourite London building was not on the open list this year. Australia house, which would be cool to visit for obvious reasons, also has an ancient drinking well dating back to Roman times in its basement and an amazing marble floor that’s been featured in Harry Potter (Gringotts Bank). I also missed out on the ticket allocation to that. Check out their website here

Central London was closed to traffic in some key areas today and bike rental was free. All in all a great day to be out and about in London.

In the afternoon we caught up with a friend of mine who now works out of the Bank’s London office. Josh took us to this great hotel in SoHo where we spent a few hours.


Dinner was at the Nags Head in Covent Garden. It’s becoming a tradition that we have Sunday dinner here when in London. The other great thing it’s that Covent Garden is on the Piccadilly Tube line, and my inner 14 year old never tires of the train to Cockfosters.

Sharon and Emma are coming here later in the week

Hello London

Our flight leaving Bangkok was delayed about two hours due to torrential rain and electrical storms. It descended on the airport pretty quickly, one minute looking out the window over at the other side of the terminal and the next minute I looked up and couldn’t see anything because of the rain.

Got to see a lot of this

After the two hour delay we were off. Being an afternoon flight heading west we were treated to a sunset that lasted a few hours as we chased the sun into and across Europe. Thankfully the plane gave the Ukraine and other war zones a nice wide berth! Unfortunately no inflight wifi so I had an enforced digital detox for 12 hours. This was a nice 777-300 so much newer, quieter and more room than the old 747 we got on the way to Bangkok.

Once arrived in the UK we were through immigration and customs really quickly since we could now use the automatic entry gates, Aussies are now considered part of the cool kids club and we bypassed the long queues in the “others” line.

We got the Heathrow express to Paddington station and grabbed a quick bite to eat. Due to the delay we were much later than I expected, didn’t quite feel up to dragging luggage through the tube at 10pm so we grabbed a black cab to the apartment. Pretty impressive it was an all electric black cab.

I’d booked a one bedroom apartment down near monument station through the same company where we had stayed before when I was here with work, however they contacted me just before we left to offer us two bedroom apartment for the same price, but in a different building.

It’s right near the Barbican and Looks over the museum of London. It’s right near the Barbican Estate, now a grade 2 listed building since it’s a classic example of post WW2 brutalist architecture. That’s a nice way of saying it’s totally fugly.

One Night in Bangkok

Bangkok, Oriental setting..

And the Scott don’t know what coffee he’s getting….

Flight here was good, as mentioned on last post nothing spectacular, old jet but enough room and it was a great price. Arrived Bangkok pretty much spot on time at 4:30pm in the local time

Bangkok Airport (Suvarnabhumi) is massive, according to Wikipedia it was built in 2006. Not sure what style you would call it, maybe modern brutalist, exposed concrete and steel everywhere. According to Wikipedia it was the most instagrammed place in 2012. That’s a lesson for the kiddies not to believe everything they read on the interwebs. If they had said it was the most unpronounceable airport in the world in 2012 I’d believe that one.

Wish our airport was like this, had bags, cleared immigration, customs and was on the shuttle bus to the hotel in around 20 minutes

Staying at the Novotel here at the airport. They apparently have a walkway to/from the airport but I couldn’t find that so we just too the free shuttle bus. It seemed to loop around the airport on the motorway a few times, if nothing else we got a good look at the place. At least it was a proper mini bus and not a tuk tuk death machine that seem to be the transport mode of choice in the city.

I had visions of us lounging around the pool in the evening sipping cocktails but we were all just shattered after the long day so had a quick dinner in the restaurant and went to bed.

Got to the airport just after 9am In the local time, it was super busy, people everywhere. Luckily I’d done an online checkin last night and was able to breeze straight past the lines to the bag drop.

After clearing security I was getting worried I wouldn’t find a decent coffee anywhere. If I’d been blogging about luxury handbags there wouldn’t have been an issue. That seems to be a big market here. Eventually found Dean and Deluca, they were a saving grace in Japan so I wasn’t going to hesitate. Not as good as Japan but still ok. Typical airport style pricing at $7.50. Thailand might be a cheaper holiday destination, but Bangkok airport certainly isn’t.

For connectivity here I pre-purchased a 3gig 8 day travel sim from sim corner. Just suck it in an old burner phone I bring as an emergency spare when travelling and hotspotted the three of us off that. Worked a treat.

Amazing pics from our free BKK motorway tour

Emma had a massive pizza last night. Some of it at least

Was impressed with the free water at the hotel, supplied in glass not plastic

Not sure if after visiting Bangkok the world really is my oyster, but I’ve got my Oyster card ready to navigate London’s tube system

Next stop London !

Off to London (Again!)

It’s precisely 253 days since I called out from the study “Hey Sharon, Thai have an amazing deal on flights to London with a stopover in Bangkok, do you want to do Europe again in September”. Of course the only sane answer to that is “YES!”. So here we sitting on a plane heading for London to visit the Queen yet again.

I have a feeling the Queen is probably sick of us by now, these pesky antipodeans keep showing up and expecting tea and scones. She might even like one of the 5000 Tim Tams we packed for the journey. I’m sure Lizzy is thinking “don’t they realise when we banished their ancestors 232 years ago it was an eternal sentence”. She needn’t worry, the silver is safe, the only thing we are stealing this time is the ashes and a few of team Australia managed to do that that before we even arrived. They need to be somewhere safe when Brexit hits anyway.

If/When Brexit does happen we might find the Queen visits us a little more instead. I’m hearing it’s already easier for us Aussies to get through the immigration line, maybe we are forgiven for past sins, even if only quietly. When the proverbial hits the fan blood could actually be stronger than nice French wine. Isn’t Boris a bit of a Russian name ? You might want to check if Putin had a hand in that one too guys.

253 is also probably the same amount of times I’ve checked our passports over the last 24 hours. These days it’s the only essential thing, everything else is electronic or can be bought or replaced when travelling (well maybe except the ashes. Don’t lose that on the way home boys)

Our team Harrison shuttle bus arrived early at 5:45am this morning to take us to the airport, which was a great sign but then we were tortured for an hour having to listen to Alan Jones rant about something on the radio (first world problem #623). As Sharon suggested, we were liberated of some brain cells listening to that for an hour. I wanted to travel light, but that’s not quite what I had in mind.

At Sydney Airport I had my required two coffees and they managed to liberate plenty of cash for that experience. The coffee wasn’t too bad, but at $6.50 each you would expect them to be ok. Sydney airport food makes Copenhagen look cheap.

The first leg of this trip is on a 747 to Bangkok, I didn’t expect to fly a 747 again as they don’t do lot of passenger service any longer thanks to more efficient, newer jets. This one is 19 years old and it was noisy and rattled and shook about on takeoff like 747s do, but there is something reassuring knowing it has 4 engines. I will miss them when they are truly gone. As you would expect on a 19 year old jet, no inflight WiFi either.

Emma probably curses us for passing on the short genes however they worked in our advantage today. Somehow we got pulled out of line waiting to board and were asked to board first with families that had small children.

If Alan Jones didn’t manage to kill a few of my brain cells, the woman sitting in front of me almost did, dropping a full steel drink container onto me when loading the overhead storage area, missing my head by a few millimeters. Yep, hell truly is other people.

On my Instagram post I ended up quoting part of John Denver song “I’m leaving on a Jet Plane”, which reminds me of one of my most favourite dad jokes. Q. Why is John Denver’s music like his aircraft ? A. Ultra Light and down to earth.

Maybe these aren’t the sort of jokes I should be thinking of sitting in a tin cylinder at 30,000ft in the sky. Thankfully 747s are the antithesis of ultra lights. And I don’t think I’d be caught dead with John Denver on my playlist.

See you later Australia !

Hello Thailand ! (Photo credits to Emma. I taught her well)