The posh end of London

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Last time this worm wrote to you, me and the TC were in Japan, stopping over on our way to the UK. Now we’re in London, and at the posh end of it too. Our apartment is just round the corner from Buckingham Palace. So we popped out to see if the queen was in residence.

Take my hand, let me lead you on the thirty-minute walk from Buckingham Palace, down The Mall and The Strand, to Covent Garden. If you stop less often than the TC did for photos and ooh-ing and aah-ing, the walk will take you less than half an hour.

My impressions? Wintry grandeur.

The book I’m in

Never Somewhere Else, by Alex Gray. A short, engaging whodunit.

Recommended dining

There’s something for everyone at Covent Garden.

Travel tip

The Heathrow Express offers an efficient way to get from the airport to central London. There’s a train every fifteen minutes, and it gets you to Paddington Station in about twenty minutes.

The photos

Who, me? Yes, and my very own TARDIS, a London telephone booth:

The posh end of London

Me perched on a lamp post on The Mall, with Buckingham Palace behind me, while I consider dropping in on Her Majesty for tea:

The posh end of London

A puff of smoke from the chimneys of Buckingham Palace. Is the queen toasting muffins? The flag is flying, so I guess she’s in residence:

The posh end of London

The Queen Victoria Memorial statue, with Buckingham Palace behind it:

The posh end of London

The Mall, a long and grand street leading up to the palace:

The posh end of London

Mounted soldiers, on a side road approaching The Mall:

The posh end of London

A wintry view of the gate into St James’s Park, on The Mall:

The posh end of London

St James’s Park, long shadows, winter sparse:

The posh end of London

A lone tree in blossom in St James’s Park

The posh end of London

Imposing gates leading into Trafalgar Square from The Mall:

The posh end of London

Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column:

The posh end of London

Charing Cross Station, on The Strand:

The posh end of London

Outside Covent Garden:

The posh end of London

Inside Covent Garden:

The posh end of London

That’s all for today, dudes.

Stopover in Narita, Japan

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are on our way to London. It’s a long, long trip from Sydney to London, so the TC decided to stop over in Japan. It so happens that the Tokyo airport is sixty kilometres outside Tokyo. If your stopover is just part of a day, it’s probably not worth travelling all the way to the big smoke and back. The town of Narita is close to the aiport, and the townsfolk have cottoned on to the fact that many travellers will think the same as the TC did: “Let’s pop into Narita and see what’s happnin there”.

There’s a lot happening, especially in the area of the Naritasan temple and the street leading from the train station to the temple.

My impressions? Busy calm.

The book I’m in

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. Written way back in 1985, this book nevertheless comes across as surprisingly modern. It’s about a lad who is co-opted into the military at the age of six. The date is some time in the future, after the first couple of invasions by an alien race of bugs. The Earth survived the early invasions, and is now gearing up to ensure it can survive the next one, whenever that may be.

(This is another of those ebooks, so to be fair I must confide that I’m not exactly in the book. I’m a real-life, three-dimensional creature, not one of those electronic bookmarks. Nevertheless, occupying a unique place in the TC’s consciousness as I do, I can reliably inform you about such books.)

Recommended accommodation

Crowne Plaza Ana Narita, 68 Horinouchi, Narita, Chiba Prefecture 286-0107, Japan.

Travel tip

If you have an Apple Mac and are staying at the Crowne Plaza Ana Narita, you may need to ask the hotel for a wifi router. My room had only a network cable connection, which my Mac can’t use. After a bit of discussion, the hotel staff were very happy to find me a router, but I had the impression they’re in short supply.

The photos

Me in Narita. The TC has this slightly dangerous habit of photographing me near script that she can’t read. I do hope this stone says something nice, or at least interesting. It was outside what seemed to be a civic centre near the Narita train station:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Since you can never have enough of a good thing, here’s me again, this time in the gardens behind the Naritasan temple (and again, I’m trusting the sign behind me to be at least polite):

Stopover in Narita, Japan

The TC was impressed with the symmetry of this sign, which we encountered on our way into Narita by bus:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

When researching Narita before we left, the TC had difficulty finding any maps. So she snapped this one, which the Narita townsfolk have kindly posted on a signboard near the station. It shows the station on the left, and the Naritasan temple complex in the green patch on the right:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

This is the famous Omotesando Street (sometimes spelled Omote Sando) leading from the train station to the Naritasan temple:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Most of the buildings are made of wood, and some of them seem quite old and are definitely picturesque :

Stopover in Narita, Japan

A view down a side street:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Colourful shops line Omotesando street, selling food and tourist wares of all sorts:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

The crowd gets quite dense at times, but everyone is happy and friendly:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

The entrance to the Naritasan temple complex:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Inside the complex are a number of buildings, gates, towers, shrines, and places to relax and contemplate life:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

A magnificent statue of a lion, with a pigeon posing behind it:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

The temple grounds are on different levels, offering lovely views of rooftops and courtyards:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Another of the temple buildings:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Bronze statues of Buddhist disciples scattered across a rock face:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Another of the buildings in the temple complex:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Next is a look inside the Buddhist Scriptures Hall, erected in 1722. The centrepiece is a revolving bookcase, carved with colourful representations of the guardians of Buddhism. Underneath are eight demons, holding up the bookcase.

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Behind the temple complex is a park full of tall trees, winding paths, and interesting bits of art:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 8 January 2014 at 7:07 pm  Comments (2)  
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