Hello all from Perth! Perth?! Why from Perth? I’ll get to that soon. Let me backtrack a day or two (I have no idea how long since I really have no idea what the real time is right now).
This tale begins on Sunday, London time. This was our last real day in London before we (myself, Kate, and her folks) all went our separate ways. And most was all planned out already… lunch with some more of Kate’s family, and another visit to the Globe. But before lunch Kate and I decided to get our walking shoes on again and visit some places we hadn’t yet got to.
First stop, Baker Street. And not just anywhere in Baker Street. 221b to be precise. I am assuming that many of my readership will jump on that address straight away… yep, it was a visit to one Sherlock Holmes and his good Dr Watson. Well, to be accurate, it isn’t quite 221b, but just a few doors down (as the polite, but increasingly annoyed attendant in the nearby Beatles Store kept telling the bemused Japanese tourist).
We weren’t sure what we’d be in for to be honest. Both of us assumed it would be a little on the “quaint” (i.e. dodgy) side, and that is really what we got. Greeted by a lovely attendant at the door, it was deerstalkers on, and photo opportunities a plenty. Of course we had to! You can’t be at 221b Baker Street and not have a photo in a deerstalker!
So in we went. And inside was also exactly what I thought it would be… full of quaint curios, reflecting things from the many Holmes stories. Kate was more on top of it than I, with me being a bit more of the casual Holmes fan than she, but it was all quite fun in that slightly low-rent and dodgy manner. Not to say it was bad at all, in fact quite endearing in it’s nature. And plus, there was more photo opps!
It didn’t take us long really in the museum. I must say it was PACKED too with busloads of asian tourists. Seems as though the Sherlock Holmes museum is on all their tour itineraries.
From there it was time to get into Beatles mode. We popped in to the Baker St Beatles store, and then legged it to… yep, Abbey Road. I visit Abbey Rd pretty much everytime I go to London. Why? Well, I don’t know why. It’s not like there is anything to do except walk across the crossing. But it is the crossing on the cover of the GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME, so you know me, of course I have to!
This time we elected not to piss off the local traffic by posing on the crossing (although dozens were), but rather have a little wander before heading off for lunch with some more of Kate’s family.
Like our day in Oxford, it was great to just spend some time chilling out with some of Kate’s family. Hanging out with folks in foreign places really is the best.
The afternoon was drawing to a close, and the time for more Shakespeare was almost afoot. But Kate and I decided to pack our spare hour with a quick visit to the National Portrait Gallery. The NPG is one of those galleries that you can take for granted a little… it doesn’t have the prestige or “wow” of the National Gallery just around the corner, but its collection would put most the galleries in the world to shame.
We ducked up to the top to check out the Tudors for some history and culture before working our way down to the modern stuff. A little disappointed I didn’t get to see Opie’s big portraits of the Blur fellas again, but it was great to speed through for an hour regardless.
But the time had come for more Shakespeare! I had loved it the other night so was quite stoked Kate had the good idea and forethought (like always) to book a couple of shows. Tonight was Richard III, one a little more dense and heavy than Henry V the other night. I knew it mostly from the Nazi Germany adaptation, so was fascinated to see it in it’s original setting. A couple of things struck me. It’s pretty hard work, especially for a Shakespeare and English Royalty novice. And while there is some comedy in there, it is pretty dark. But it was great again, particularly in the second half where I felt it really hit its stride. I have to say I enjoyed Henry V more, however find the themes of madness of Richard III much more interesting. Regardless, these visits to the Globe have certainly whet the appetite for more.
With that, it was called a night and time to head back to the apartment for a last back of the bags. On the way we were treated to one last postcard shot. *sigh*
So just a quick update back to my opening line. I type this sitting killing 6 hours in Perth. Why would I do that?! Well, I decided to fly Qatar Airways for something new, and they decided on my behalf that I would rather not fly London-Doha-Melbourne, but London-Doha-Perth-Melbourne. Of course I would! Seems as though 9 of us were bumped off our Doha to Melbourne leg for no reason that anyone would give us. Closest we got was that the flight was full. Oh dear.
So it has been a mixed bag coming back. Flight to Doha was uneventful (which is good)… transfer in Doha was painful (where Qatar reneged on their first promise of a speedy transfer)… leg from Doha to Perth was glorious with my courtesy upgrade to Business Class (I slept flat for 8 hours! Oh the bliss!)… but now I have 6 hours to kill in Perth domestic terminal, where the promise of a business lounge to freshen up was not met. Apparently there was no lounge, which was bollocks given I am sitting directly under one using their internet. Next is the red-eye back To Melbourne, 10 hours behind schedule.
Oh well. Nothing will dampen the awesomeness of this trip away.