The first was a Duck Tour (londonducktours.co.uk) which is a part road part river tour in an amazing amphibious vehicle. They were built in 1942 and used in D Day to ferry troops ashore, and then they were named DUKWS. We set off with our jolly guide Emma and toured around Westminster by road and then, just by the M16 building, we set off down a slipway a
nd became a boat for about 20 minutes. It was great fun and you get very close to the water in this vehicle/boat.
Hopefully the photos give you the idea - one before 'take off', one showing the moment of entry and one from a bridge after so you can see how low the ride is!
My second experience was a cycle tour with Nathan from Cycle Tours London (CycleToursLondon.com) who very kindly gave me my own tour which was a great couple of hours along the Thames, around Westminster, Mayfair and Covent Garden. I know these areas well but it was a really different experience whizzing past on a bike. He's a great guide and knows his way around all the roads and the traffic. His usual tour is a full day covering Camden, the Olympic site and Greenwich which must be a very exciting tour for cyclists wanting to see a lot of London and have a good stretch of the wheels too. I look almost like a proper cyclist in the photo but not nearly as much so as Nathan does!
It was my week for treats as Gosia from the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel took time out of her busy day to show me round thisvery new large hotel with lovely rooms and stylish public spaces. It has a brilliant location and has great views from all around the hotel and I took this unusual shot across the rooftops towards the London Eye. One of the key features of the hotel is it's aspect over Westminster Bridge and it was a most clear and sparkling day so here's a great view of the Houses of Parliament.
I got to see 2 films this week, both at the Curzon Soho cinema which is one of my favourites especially as it's a big supporter of independent cinema. I Am Love is a beautifully shot Italian film with the luminous Tilda Swinton and The Ghost is a political thriller starring Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor. One is slowly built and restrained, the other all action and intrigue and we enjoyed them both.
As for restaurants, we tried out Quilon which is one Michelin star Indian delight where we had a special deal from Toptable which was a mini tasting menu and really affordable. A second restaurant trip was to Bam Bou, a Vietnamese I'd be hoping to get to for some time, and it lived up to expectations with delicate flavours and a good looking room.
Here's hoping the ash clouds move away to make our visitors lives much easier....
Bye for now,