Sun, 27th May 2012, Solta, Croatia
We left Stomorska, Solta at 8:45am, and have just taken a look at an inlet just a little West called Necujam and heading west around Solta to then head south to the island of Vis.
Sat, 26th May 2012, Stomorska, Solta
Today we were very excited. We got up early and got a transfer down to Marina Kastela 20mins NW of Split and arrived at about 1030. Sail Croatia were able to get our boat ready early and it was handed over to us 1230. In the meantime we wandered up to the supermarket which was about 5-10mins walk away and bought our initial provisions. We attempted to walk back with the store trolley, but were stopped and we ended up having to lug it all back ourselves - but we made it okay. By the time we got back the boat was ready, and it was handed over to us and we made ourselves familiar with it and stowed our gear. We had asked for some snorkelling gear and in the time it took them to get it we made ourselves ready to go.
Initially there was no wind as we set off out from Split and headed for the islands to the south. Most boats looked as if they were making the way to the island of Brac, but we decided to head towards Solta and picked a little inlet & town called Stomorska. The wind picked up later in the afternoon from the N as we made our way into the inlet. Unfortunately it is not very protected from the N-NW wind, but it is due to reduce later in the evening.
Vera did most of the steering on the way over; getting frustrated at the no wind, as well as me, while I sorted the navigation, etc out downstairs.
I expected us to pull up to the sea wall at Stomorska Meditteranean style; which is stern first. However, there were 2 other boats already moored bow first to the sea wall, so we did the same with the help of the usual village welcoming committee; including the harbour master who subsequently charged us 220Kuna for the night (AUD$40). We then sorted the boat out, and then took a wander through the little town, and ended up sharing a nice Pizza Quatro Fromaggi (4 cheeses). While we were having dinner we decided on the route to take tomorrow, and looking at the forecast we will either go west or east around the island of Solta and head towards the outer island of Vis; which should take us a few hours and hopefully some good sailing.
For those yachties following our blog dont think that the boat sails fast; it just sails comfortably, because at the end of the day it is a cruising charter boat. It obviously has a furling genoa, and it also has an 'in-mast' furling mainsail. The mainsail has all the shape of a tent, but does what it needs to do.
After dinner we retired to the boat for some relaxation time and attempt to get used to the noise of sleeping on a boat again. Hmm - lets see how that goes.
The photo is of our charter yacht at Marina Kastela, which has about 10-12 charter companies working out of, and Saturday (change over day) is very very busy
Fri, 25th May 2012, Dubrovnik & Split, Croatia
Caught the bus from Dubrovnik to Split. We enjoyed the 4.5hr bus ride to Split because we got to see so much spectacular coastline.
We spent half an hour in Bosnia - Hercegovina, because we had to cross a small section of that country that goes to the coast.
What a surprise Split is! It is quite a large place with a very different climate to Dubrovnik, and has a real Meditterean sea resort'ish feel about it. So many cafes and bars along the waterfront, with a live band playing and full of people.
Sat and people watched as we had dinner and drinks on the waterfront.
We wandered down to the local marina; which is absolutely huge, with many, many, may charter boats coming and going. We found a boat (Sun Odyssey 36i) like the one we are chartering tomorrow and are impressed at its size. The boats here are awesome and total a few gazillions of dollars.
Thu, 24th May 2012, Old Town Dubrovnik, Croatia
Started the day with a cable car ride up high above Dubrovnik (Old Town), and Old Town within it's walls look spectacular from here. Then we caught the bus from Old Town Pile gate to the the new port & town of Dubrovnik. The port was bustling, full of cruise and tour boats; so we were in our element. We walked for miles; and came back tired but happy.
We had a lovely final dinner in the main Placa of Old Town and listened to an Jazz band from Washington USA playing in the main square who happened to be here for the wine & jazz festival.
Our last night in Dubrovnik and we have absolutely loved it here. Old Town Dubrovnik is so full of history and 'old world' charm and we are so glad that we stayed here (not withstanding the zillion steps that we have had to climb while we have been here - oh well, its helped to work off all the food we have been eating).
Hope we get to come back!
Thu, 24th May 2012, Old Town Dubrovnik, Croatia
Hi Everybody I am just testing this position report to update the Sailblogs Xplot map and the interaction with Google Earth.
Once we are on the water on the Croatia Charter yacht I will update our position quite regularly (at once per day) so you can see where we are on Google Earth.
Wed, 23rd May 2012, Old Town Dubrovnik, Croatia
This morning we work up late, as we had gotten to bed late updating the blog. But, once we finally got up we headed down into the Old Town Placa (main street plaza) and had a light breakfast. Then we wandered around the Old Town following some suggested walks. This then took as out to the old port; which is absolutely amazingly beautiful. From there we took a 2hr walk along the top of the Old Town walls and looked out from and into Old Town. Some of the views and sight are amazing and definitely worth the time. Most of the way around it was beautifully sunny, and then it started to sprinkle with rain; but was still okay to walk in as it wasnt cold. We then walked outside of Old Town through one of the gates. We then came back inside and had dinner over looking the old port. After dinner we had another walk around Old Town and then just outside the Pile Gates to one of the other forts.
Tue, 22nd May 2012, Paris, France, 2 x Lufthansa flights, Munich International Airport & Dubrovnik
Well today we were up early to catch the shuttle bus to Charles de Gaul International Airport for our flights to Dubrovnik, Croatia via a 2hr stopover at Munich International Airport.
But, before that we got the Charles de Gaul okay and with plenty of time, and then we were overweight on our luggage; which we were concerned about. But, 60Euro later, and leaving the remaining 2 bottle of Burgundy Cremante sparkling wine with the Lufthansa check-in girl we were on our way; although we were concerned about the amount of onboard luggage we had, but all was good.
Lufthansa are very good, and Munich & Dubrovnik airport's are very clean.
After a very scenic approach to Dubrovnik International Airport (make sure you get the left hand side when approaching - very beautiful Dubrovnik coast line), we were picked up by Antonio, the son of Tonka Bura who is the owner of Apartment Peppino where we are staying in Old Town Dubrovnik for the next few days. He turned up in a Renault Twingo to take us and all of our luggage to Dubrovnik - we just got it all in there.
The drive from the airport to Dubrovnik is sensational. Antonio dropped us off at the gates to Old Town, as no vehicles are allowed inside the Old Town walls, and you have to lug your luggage (suitably named) to your accommodations. In this particular case up a tiny street with 80 steps to our apartment. Antonio did an amazing job in assisting us by carrying our over weight suitcase, while we carried the remainder of our things - great job.
Once we got settled into the beautiful apartment which has a great view over the remainder of Old Town (see photo), Vera & I went out and explored just beyond the Old Town walls. We wandered through some old parks over looking cliffs to the ocean - absolutely beautiful & breathtaking.
After a good walk we had dinner at Dubrovka Restaurant which is apparently 180 years old and is just outside the Old Town walls and over looks a tiny inlet with the Old Town fortress on one side and another smaller fort on the other side. Sensationally beautiful and so romantic.
This part of Croatia is so beautiful and we are really looking forward to doing as much exploring as we can over the next few days. This is definitely a part of the world that you have to come back to at least once to bath in the beauty of this country.
Now that we are in Croatia we are starting to get excited about our charter boat sailing cruise that starts on Saturday for a week.
Mon, 21st May 2012, Paris
We spent a wonderful three full days in Paris! Saturday we went for a walk to the Lourvre and then followed the Grand Boulevard all the way into the Champs Elysees. It was busy at the Arc de Triomphe with a queue a mile long so we decided to leave it for another day. We then walked down Haussman and came across the fantastic Galleries Lafayette, the most amazing mega-uber department store with floors and floors of incredible things. I walked and looked & Andrew sat and played with his gadgets :). It was the most amazing building with a beautiful arched roof with beautiful stained glass throughout. Quite an unexpected surprise for an up-market shopping mall. If there was a designer label not at Galleries Lafayette, then it wasn't worth looking for! Wow - quite incredible and a little overwhelming. This is the sort of place you could spend a whole day in - hmmm, maybe next time!
Then we walked on all the way to Saint Germain des Pres and bought food at a boulangerie & patisserie, fromagerie and a fruit shop (which French name escapes me at the moment). We were quite tired so went back and had dinner in our room - fresh baguette with a lovely variety of cheeses and yoghurt and fruit (including cherries).
Next day we hit the road with our two-day Metro rail pass and went to Montmarte and visited Sacre Cour - it was lovely to see Paris from such a high vantage point. At the Tour Eiffel we walked 680 stairs up to the second level which was beautiful. The weather was fantastic at this stage so we had a good view of all round Paris. We did the daggy laser engraving of our photo into a glass block as a memento of our Eiffel Tower experience - it was quite amazing watching the laser do the etching. We decided to go back to the Champs Elysees to wait and go up the Arc de Triomphe later in the day, when hopefully, there would be less people, but also to be there at night to watch the Eiffel Tower go through its laser show. In between all of that we did a Bateaux Boat cruise up and around the main parts of the Siene River near Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Louvre etc. We had dinner on the Champs at a cafe called George V which was very nice and then we made our way to the Arc while it was still daylight (about 7.30pm), and went up many more steps to get to the top. Andrew stood out in the light rain (Vera sensibly stood under a shelter) on the top deck of the Arc de Triomphe and waited and waited. Eventually the Tower lit up and then after a while started sparkling which was the most beautiful effect. Like Christmas lights twinkling on this huge Tower which looked like stars going on and off for a whole 15 minutes. It was so beautiful and well worth the wait. We then caught the Metro and walked through the rain back to our hotel (NB:it will always rain when you leave your brollie at home. It's called Mutrphy's Law and we know it well). Vera was on a caffeine & sugar low by the time we got back to our hotel, so Andrew made a late-night dash to find us some pastries and coffees, again in the rain. What a man!
Monday rained all day so it was a good choice to spend all day at the Louvre. We visited Mona (with 10 million other people, I'm sure) but the crowd was not bad in the other sections of the museum. We saw some beautiful paintings by the great Masters; Da Vnci, Raphael, Michelangelo to name a few, and some sculptures such as the Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, the Dying Slave, which were equally as captivating. I love that part of the Louvre and could visit it again and again and never tire of it. Our visit was made more interesting because of the Audio Logues that we hired which included interactive visuals supplied on a Nintendo DS 3D. These gave us recorded commentaries on many of the items at the Louvre and explained the architecture and other features of the historic building. The commentaries were very informative and gave additional background on the displays as well as being able to locate you anywhere in the Louvre via an inbuilt GPS. We would recommend hiring these as it makes your visit much more interesting and at only 5 Euros, they were well worth it. We were also both intrigued about the foundations of the ancient fort that the Louvre had been built on which you see on the lower level and the history of the Louvre itself was very interesting. When they were excavating the forecourt of the Louvre to make some improvements and undertake underground construction in 1984, they discovered old structures and deep constructions which had been forgotten about in recent history. The French have seamlessly incorporated the underground remains of the ancient fortress and moat as another display at the Louvre. What they have built underground is amazing - car parks, shops, research laboratories, lecture theatres & lots more. We were astounded at what facilities they incorporated on the lower level of the Louvre. I guess the French had no choice but to go down as there was no addiitional land to expand into. We in Australia just go outwards because we can! We spent most of the day at the Louvre and both agreed that you need at least two full days to fully appreciate what the Louvre has to offer. Next time, we will stay longer in Paris. We stopped off at Notre Dame in the early evening and were lucky enough to be there during a service. We heard lovely singing and the church organ in all its glory and it was lovely and made the Notre Dame come alive. It was great to see the Notre Dame again and I never cease to be amazed by all the stained glass windows in the church, no two of which are alike. The scale of the building and the windows was breathtaking. I lit a candle and said a silent prayer for my family's good health and wellbeing. Andrew and I finished off the day with dinner and a bottle of wine at the Cafe on the corner which was lovely and said a thank you to France for a truly wonderful 8 days. We did so much and covered so much ground! Thank you again Elizabeth & Chris Pye for hosting us at Hotel Cascarot at Le Chatelet in Burgundy. It was an amazing experience which we loved so much and we feel so lucky to have given this wonderful opportunity to share in your piece of paradise in France. You were the most wonderful and kind hosts and we are so grateful to you - thank you so much.
Fri, 18th May 2012, Lechatelet, Burgundy & enroute Paris, France
Today we travelled from Burgundy to Paris. We wanted to get off the motorway to see what else there was to see. So, initially we set the TomTom for Paris via the motorway, but then used the France road atlas to get off the main roads and travel up through some more scenic roads. Using the TomTom and the road atlas made it so much easier and enjoyable. It was fantastic driving through all the little villages and seeing the amazing scenery. We had lunch in a village up in the highlands, where we bought some home made chocolates. Then while we were making our way back to the motorway we continued to take little roads through little villages, and making the TomTom work over time to find our way, in the meanwhile see some very beautiful countryside.
We made our way into Paris at about peak hour on a Friday afternoon, using the TomTom to plan the route for us to the Hotel D'Angleterre in St. Germaine De Pres. We all did a really good job making our way along the north bank of the Siene River, and then switching over to the south bank from the east side of the city. We finally made our way to 44, Rue Jacob where the hotel is, and then had to find parking close by. We found the hotel on the first lap on a small one-way street, but no parking nearby. So, around we went on the next lap with the TomTom guiding our way really well, and then 100m before the hotel on Rue Jacob we found a tiny spot half on a cross walk. So, on went the hazard lights, out we jumped, pulled out as much of the luggage as possible to take to the hotel. I went back for the remainder while Vera checked us in. We got up to the room, and quickly sorted everything out and then went back to the car (all okay).
We werent supposed to take the hire car back until tomorrow, and even though the hotel had some underground parking somewhere close by we decided to take it back straight away. Again we entered the Avis rent a car address in the TomTom (the one we were supposed to take it back to, and later found out not the closest) and found it quite quickly. It was now about 1830, and the streets were surprisingly quiet. Then we walked back to the hotel, using the TomTom to guide us.
We got back to the hotel and decided to pop out to a cafe (Cafe de Flores) for some dinner.
Thu, 17th May 2012, Lechatelet & Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy
Today we were taken to the L'Imaginarium. This is where they show you how sparkling wine (Cremante) is made. Very, very interactive and something that many, many Australian attractions could learn from the way they present the history of a subject.
We tasted a number of Cremante's; and of course bought a few as well.
We learnt the different methods of making, cooking with, serving Cremante.
Later in the afternoon, Vera & I went for a lovely walk around Lechatelet to stretch our legs, as we had spent quite a bit of time in the car over the last few days and it was great to walk around the old town and look at all the different buildings of varying ages.
Later Chris & Liz took us to a lovely little restaurant call Simon. We all shared a great dinner together for our last night. The picture is of the table ornament from Restaurant Simon - rooster (coq) being the French national symbol - although this one looks like something out of the movie "Chicken Run".
Wed, 16th May 2012, Beaune & Dijon Burgundy
Today we headed off to Musee de l'Hotel Dieu, Hospices de Beaune. This is an old hospital that started operation in the 1400's, and progressively developed until it closed as a hospital in the early 1900's. Very interesting in how it was developed; including where the money came from to build it, etc.
We had a quick lunch in Beaune, and then headed up to Dijon and a wander around the city centre. We went into a mustard store and you can virtually get every colour and flavour. We went into a Notre Dame church, and then headed to Chris Pye's favourite restaurant in Dijon.
The central plaza of Beaune near Hotel Dieu was absolutely beautiful, with the old buildings around the outside, and a pretty little central square. While there we also went into a typical French patisserie.
What we noticed was both of the central square's/plaza's had cute little carousel's, and it was great to see so many people of all ages riding around on bicycles.
The photo is of the lovely coloured and patterned roofing tiles of the Hotel Dieu (its not actually a hotel; thats just what they called hospices where patients paid to stay).
Tue, 15th May 2012, Hotel Cascarot, Lechatelet, Burgundy & Suerre, Burgundy
Today we just spent some relaxing time around Lechatelet and Suerre. We went into Suerre to the Metro bulk grocery store to get some provisions. On the way back we stopped into a local restaurant (see photo) for some late lunch. In France like a lot of European countries most businesses close up shop between 1400'ish-1500'ish. We got there at about 1330, and the Maitre De didnt like it; however the kitchen said go ahead. The Maitre De ended up leaving at about 1400, after we had been served, leaving the waitress to deal with us. It was a good lunch, and our first real test of French using menu's, etc. We did okay!
We really spent most of the day just relaxing.
Lechatelet is a beautiful little village - the mornings are a little crisp, but it is quiet and very beautiful - including the region surrounding the village.
Mon, 14th May 2012, London, England, Paris, France & enroute Lechatelet, Burgundy, France
Today was an early start at Hyde Park House to get to St. Pancras International Train station to catch the Eurostar to Paris at 0831. We shared a taxi with Chris & Liz Pye, and suprisingly got all of our luggage and four of us all in the taxi. We got to St. Pancras very quickly and in plenty of time - even before our train check-in opened. But, we finally got to go through customs until they picked up the sailing knives that I bought for the boat in my luggage. I knew there would possibly be a problem on the train as you have access to your luggage while aboard. However, I explained what they were for and showed them my RPYC membership, Yachting Australia membership & Restricited Skippers Ticket; and after the supervisor came down and asked questions and checked everything he let me proceed with the knives in my luggage. It shouldnt be a problem on the Lufthansa flights as they will be in my luggage stowed away below.
So, we boarded the train in Premium Economy, got served breakfast and had a look at the route that we wanted to take in the hire car from Paris to Burgundy.
We arrived in Paris just before lunchtime, and headed downstairs to get the hire car. As the Pye's and another couple are also heading to Burgundy to stay at the Pye's Hotel Cascarot in Lechatelet; and they were catching trains we offered to take the majority of the luggage. So, with all the luggage loaded in the car and Ken (TomTom) giving us good directions we set off. Although, we didnt have any Euro's yet and we also wanted a real map, so we got off the ring road and found somewhere to get some cash and off we set again.
We found our way back onto the motorway and headed south again; however soon realised we were on a tollway so we decided to get off and get intentionally lost to see what we could see. We went via a couple small towns/villages in the rural part of Paris. the photo for this entry is a village called Lechamp and is of our first old French church that we have visited. I think it was built in the 1500's, and has had some significant damage done to it, and it is obvious that there has been some restoration done to it over the years; as well as some happening now. We then decided that to just jump back onto the tollway and head to the Burgundy region and just see what we could see on the way; plus it was starting to get late.
We finally got to the Hotel Cascarot in the village of Lechatelet at about 1915, just before the others. This is where we are basing ourselves until Friday thanks to Liz & Chris Pye who are currently renovating the hotel.
Sun, 13th May 2012, Queen Mary Sailing Club, Queen Mary Reservoir, Ashford, Middlesex, England
Well today is the last day of racing with another early morning. We were hoping that we were going to get 4 races in today with the RPYC team, however with the delays from Day 1 & 2 we only got 2 races in. Although, we were out for the final Round Robin race of the day between Seawanhka & Royal Thames which was absolutely fantastic and lsted 25mins (normally about 15mins) because of the backwards and forwards, and closeness of the teams racing. It was a perfect race to watch from a teams racing training point of view. In the coming week i will get a video of it up on the Swagman Sailing YouTube channel.
The 3 race final was between NYYC & Seawanahka; although it only lasted 2 races, with NYYC taking it in a clean sweep. The racing was very good.
We then went back to the Queen Mary Sailing Clubhouse and had the presentations. Following presentations and with drinks there was the normal swapping of team gear.
We then headed back to Hyde Park House, had a few drinks at the bar, and then got showered & changed and headed out for a final dinner down the road in Knightsbridge. We decided on a curry a a Pakistani Curry House which was decorated very heavily.
After that we had to head back to Hyde Park House and started packing ready for the early start in the morning to get to St. Pancras International Train Station to catch the Eurostar to Paris.
The attached photo is from just up the road from the Pakistani Curry House, and is typical of the sort of vehicles you see in Knightsbridge
Sat, 12th May 2012, Queen Mary Sailing Club, Queen Mary Reservoir, Ashford, Middlesex, England
Well another early start with another day of racing - hopefully with some success - but alas we still didnt come up with any success. Today Andrew (me) did some sailing. I was shared between the two RPYC boats to give some of the others a break. I did mainsheet on both boats. Even thought we didnt a win, we still got very very close and had some good racing against the top teams.
After the days racing we had the regatta dinner back at Hyde Park House. Each team had to do a little skit (typical British entertainment), and was very entertaining. The RPYC team did a ditty about the sailing to the tune (although a bit off key) Advance Australia Fair. We didnt win that either, although tied for runner-up.
Fri, 11th May 2012, Queen Mary Sailing Club, Queen Mary Reservoir, Ashford, Middlesex, England
Up early this morning for the first day of racing in the Cumberland Cup Teams Racing event. Today I (Andrew) am just acting as reserve/support. I was able to get out on one of the supprt rib's for most of the day. This was great! I was able to get some good photo's and some reasonable GoPro video (which I will put up on the Swagman Sailing YouTube channel soon). The team had some good close racing, however weren't able to convert it into any wins.
The RTYC write up of the days events and results are here.
After the sailing we had a free night and we wandered down the road into Knightsbridge to have a dinner at one of the restaurants on Montepelier Road. Vera then went onto the casino across the road from Hyde Park House with a couple of the others.
The photo is of the RPYC team in boats 1 & 2.
Thu, 10th May 2012, Hyde Park House, Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London, & Queen Mary Sailing Club, Queen Mary Reservoir, Ashford, Middlesex, England
Today was to be the official practice day of the Cumberland Cup. We arrived at Queen Mary Reservior to find the wind blowing very strongly, with some big gusts in it. The event organisers decided to delay any practice, and review at midday; however there was no change and so all practice was cancelled for the day. Lucky that we had organised the pre-training day yesterday - something that we definitely need to undertake in any future teams racing events we attend anyway.
We all returned to Hyde Park House and relaxed and got ready for the official reception at St. James Palace with HRH Prince Andrew (not me!) - The Duke of York. We departed RTYC on an old double decker London bus (our official transport for the whole event), and made our way across the centre of London to St. James Palace where we waited outside until it was time for us to move inside. We were not allowed cameras or mobile phones, so I am afraid there are no pictures. We mingled inside until HRH arrived - he is the honourary Commodore of RTYC. A couple of speeches were made, with HRH apologising for the London weather causing the cancellation of the practice day. Andrew (me) then commented that "The Australians got out yesterday in 20kts plus". Once the speeches were over HRH approached Andrew, probably because of his interjection, and discussed sailing in Australia. Great conversation!
Once finished there we all had to make our own way back to Hyde Park House, and we sat down for a team dinner in the restaurant.
A good night was had by all, and we are ready for the first days racing tomorrow.
Wed, 09th May 2012, Hyde Park House, Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London, & Queen Mary Sailing Club, Queen Mary Reservoir, Ashford, Middlesex, England
Well today was our first activities for the Royal Perth Yacht Club (RPYC) team for the Cumberland Cup. Due to the high possibility of very little wind at this event, the team decided to get an extra days practice in - just in case. So we booked ourselves a mini-bus and a J80 (the boat we are sailing on for this event) for 3hrs to get a feel of the boat and 'bed-in' how we will work on these boats as they are set-up a little bit different to the BW8's that we trained on at RPYC.
There was some good wind out there; although it looks like the forecast for the event is light winds. But, we got comfortable with the boats and figured out what we needed to do. We tested some spinnaker sets; although in these winds they would not normally use spinnakers for this event - but we needed to train with them anyway. We got some good processes in place and should be right for the regatta. The official training/familiarisation day is tomorrow (Thursday) and the races run Friday-Sunday with the finals on Sunday.
There is a webcam of the venue; although I am not sure it is working, but here is the link just in case - Queen Mary Sailing Club Webcam & Weather link.
I think this is the link to the Royal Thames Yacht Club (RTYC) Cumberland Cup website and hopefully it will show the results - but I will try to upload them each day RTYC Cumberland Cup link.
This is the link to the GoPro video on the Swagman Sailing YouTube channel, of the our pre-training day.
When we got back to RTYC after the training session we did the official registration for the event. We have a 'meet & greet' tonight in the RTYC Quarterdeck Room (Jacket & Tie....grrrr - but you have to do it).
Tue, 08th May 2012, Hyde Park House, Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London, England
Well today we woke up to a nice and fine day, although it got cold later in the afternoon - but that is probably expected.
Today we decided to take the Underground over to Lords Cricket Ground and on the way take a wander around Sherlock Holmes territory along Baker Street and take a leisurely stroll through Regents Park.
We didn't go into the Sherlock Homes Museum at 221b Baker Street, but went into the gift shop and looked around at the souvenirs. We then wandered over to Regents Park and had a light lunch, and then walked over to Lords.
At Lords we went into the Museum while waiting for our tour. Lots of English cricketing memorabilia and of course the Ashes urn (or old perfume jar which we later found out on the tour). Of course you are not allowed to use Mobile Phones (cameras) or cameras because most of the items are on loan from private collectors. Attempt to take a photo of the Ashes urn during the tour but didnt work.
We went into the Pavillion and the visitors dressing room. They are currently getting ready for the England v West Indies test match on Thursday; so we werent allowed on to the ground, but got close enough. We went through the stands and then up to the UFO shaped media center. Great tour - just under 2hrs - but very informatiive. Interesting the tour guide had a two-way radio and they dont number the for identification - they use famous cricketers names. Our tour guide had Truman (I think?).
Went and bought a few things at the Lords Cricket store.
We then caught the Underground back towards Knightsbridge and got off at Bond Street to do a quick bit of shopping along Oxford Street. Bloody packed with plenty of people spending lots of money; even though everything is very cheaply priced. Saw a security guard pick up a pair of pants somebody had dropped. He said they were old ones that somebody had swapped with new ones and had walked out with the new ones - no security tags on anything.
We came back and then wandered down Brompton Road for a light dinner at a local Tea Room - very nice and very reasonably priced.
Mon, 07th May 2012, Hyde Park House, Royal Thames Yach Club, Knightsbridge, London, England
Monday was a Bank Holiday in the UK; although there was plenty of stuff open. In the morning we hired the public bikes in Hyde Park and had a short ride around before breakfast. We rode over to Kensington Palace which is at the end of Hyde Park, and rode up embassy rode. Vera said that I must have put all the security guards on high alert because I had my black beanie and sunnies on and looked like an international THUG! It is the first time in our lives that we had to watch out for horses as they are everywhere in Hyde Park.
We then came back and headed out to the British Museum in Bloomsbury. On the way we stopped off at the Disney store, which is where the photo is from with me standing with Woody from Toy Story.
We started out walking and then it started raining (funny that); so we head down to the Underground to get the rest of the way. The British Museum has had a real re-vamp over last decade and is very good. We hired the electronic guides and did the Britain & Europe History section, and then because we are going to Athens we decided to do the Parthenon section. This section was very good and very very interactive, and we spent about 2-3hrs in that section alone. The freizes that made up part of the Parthenon we display very well and current interpretation explained very explicitly. Really enjoyed that bit.
In the British & European History section they had some amazing jewellery that had been recovered from English dig sites; as well as Bog Man who is an extremely well preserved specimen over 2000 yrs old, we think!
Sun, 06th May 2012, Hyde Park House, Royal Thames Yach Club, Knightsbridge, London, England
On Sunday we did a Big Bus Tour of the city. It was great; although it took most of the day. It also included a tour boat trip in the main part of the Thames. Around lunch we hopped off the tour down on the Embankment and went to OceanLeisure Chandlery and picked up some sailing gear including my new watch. The Big Bus Tour Company is very good; although at the end of the day we got caught in traffic and we didnt get to see much. After Ocean Leisure we went to The Sherlock Holmes Pub in Embankment. Vera tried the Sherlock Holmes ale - which was warm.
Sat, 05th May 2012, Hyde Park House, Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London, England
This is a photo of the daily exercising of one of the Queens Regiments.
Sitting having breakfast at Hyde Park House overlooking Hyde Park the view is wonderful. We are here in London from 05/05/2012 until Monday 14/05/2012 to compete in the Cumberland Cup Teams Racing event. This is an invitation only event to all Royal (or equivalent) yacht clubs using two team boats (J80's) and we compete against 7 other teams. We arrived yesterday (midday'ish) from Perth via Dubai on Emirates Airways. Great flight, and flying the A380 was magnificent; such a magnificent aircraft. Walked around Knightsbridge yesterday afternoon. Had to go into Harrods and have a look around, which was great - damn busy with all sorts of people. Had coffee just outside Harrods watching all the luxury cars (with & without chauffeurs) pull up and park outside.
We then wandered down Knightsbridge and did some window shopping, and Vera bought her first item of clothing (leather jacket) for an extremely good price. Vera is very happy with me as she said I was the one that made her decide on buying the jacket; otherwise she would have just left it - good parchase. We and had an early meal and pint at a corner pub just on Knightsbridge.
We then went for a late afternoon walk around Hyde Park - magificent park, and came back and wandered through the eastern end of Knightsbridge looking at all the luxury cars, little terrace houses that have been turned into luxury residences - very, very high priced. One note is that their are a huge amount of Balkan's (Russian, Ukrainian, etc), and a hell of a lot of money.
Today we are going for a Big Bus Tour of London, and make our way to Ocean Leisure Chandlery to pick up a couple of things and have a look at what boating items I would like but probably wont get. We will then probably hire a bike in Hyde Park and have a ride around the area.
When we finish here we will be head over to France via Eurostar for a week; with a few days in the SE of France (Burgundy) at our fellow RPYC club members hotel that is being renovated (Lechatelet), and then back to Paris for a few days. Then we are off to Croatia; Dubrovnik for a couple of days and then off to Split where we pick up a Junneau Sun Odyssey 36i charter boat for a week. Then back to Split and Dubrovnik for a night each before we head off to Greece for a week and a half. We arrive in Thessaloniki, Greece, and then head west over to the Prespes region to see Vera's Mum's village for 2 nights. Then we drive down to the island of Lefkada in the SW for 2 nights, and drive over to Athens for about a week. Then back home via Dubai again.
I will attempt to Blog as often as possible while we are away to keep family and friends updated.
Today was also the annual SS34 Association Commodores Race at Fremantle Sailing Club. Because we are away I had Phil Somerville-Ryan and Murray Gardiner sail the boat down for the race. They should be finished soon, so I will message them shortly to see how they went.