Monday, March 12, 2012

Keep Your Eye On The Ball..

Keep Your Eye On The Ball..

(This is Thursday's blog post.. I'll post them in order)

Today I was switching accommodation from the hostel, to my first Couch Surf. For you that don’t know what that is, Couch Surf is social website that allows you to connect with people offering their couch or spare room from all over the world. It’s a great way to meet local people and get the insiders scoop on the town/city/country you are in.  
I savoured my final free breakfast then stored my main bag in the locked cupboard before heading off to Starbucks with my laptop. I spent about 2 hours catching up on e-mails and finishing blog posts; and in that time I only managed two bites of my chocolate chip cookie! Don’t worry; I wrapped it up to be enjoyed at a later time. Quickly dropping my laptop off at the hostel, I then jumped on the tube and headed for Greenwich.

Greenwich Market

Time ball at the Royal Observatory

Royal Observatory

Standing exactly at 0 degrees Longitude

Martitme Museum

Great view from the overground train. 

I took the train back over to where I would be meeting Michael and began walking back and forth along a busy London street, occasionally leaning up against a Starbuck’s wall to tap into their free Wi-Fi so I could find where I was going. I eventually ended up walking through a tiny door off the bustling sidewalk into a quiet cobblestone street with old English street lamps. I found my way to the right building and checked in with reception. Suddenly I felt terribly out of place in such a professional setting; warm glowing lamps sitting atop perfectly polished wooden side tables; royal red carpets and immaculately dressed professional men and women. Then there was me, in my baggy cotton pants, walking shoes, puffy down jacket, windswept hair, and a scruffy shadow from not shaving for a week!. Michael and Rupert came down to reception and collected me and showed me around the temple.
For those of you who don’t know who I’m talking about, Michael is my second cousin; his father is my granddads brother, and Rupert is Michael’s son. Michael and Rupert both work in the Temple as barristers (the Temple is  the main law district in London and where most of the chambers are)

Middle Temple Lane
We wondered round the various areas of the temple while Michael pointed out various points of interest and their history, fascinating stuff, it's hard to wrap your head around how old some of these buildings were. 

Michael and I had a couple of beers over a hearty and delicious meal at the 'Cittie of York' pub..

A classic Victorian English Bar


Enjoying an English bitter

Michael and I 

I had a stout pudding (I think it was called) which is a very English meal. Slow cooked beef, with a mushroomy/oniony sauce encased by suet pastry with mashed potatoes, peas and carrots. Yum!

Many thanks again Michael for such a fantastic meal! I'm so glad I was able to try a traditional English meal in a traditional English bar. 

It was about 8pm, and I quickly headed back to the hostel and took the tube up to Kilburn high road to my couchsurfing place. It didn't take long to find with the directions given, but I got to meet Alex; who works in Social Care Management and his flatmate Alessandro; who had been in London for a month and was working for a travel company. They were both extremely welcoming and friendly, giving me a key to the apartment to come and go (such trust it was amazing!!) and giving me maps and advice for places I was visiting. (Alessandro helped me decide on some travel plans round Venice as that is where he was from) They headed off to bed upstairs, and I made mine on the couch and fell asleep very quickly (with the help of those beers from earlier!)


  1. Great idea - and how nice of them to let people stay this way...

    SO pleased you got to catch up with Michael and Rupert, and see around. A real privilege.

  2. Good to see places that I haven't seen for many years. It's also good to see that there is trusting hospitality still alive in England. You are in an area I once knew well. I was at Gray's Inn. None of the Inns of Court claims to be the oldest but founded in the late 1500s Gray's Inn is probably the youngest (the one where us from the provinces go!). It makes one realise how 'young' New Zealand is.