London’s modern landmarks

When I was younger I always imagined that the skyscraper clusters of cities would be the most active. Like all of the time. The sheer scale of them and how they light up at night, they always look alive 24/7. Especially with how movies love to pan over them during scenes.

But this isn’t the case. Outside of the 9-5 they are lonelier areas providing nothing more than a skyline to gaze at. A beautiful skyline. London has great skyscrapers and despite not being the biggest in the world, have a lot of character. From the Gherkin to the Walkie-Talkie to the Shard (which is in fact the tallest in Europe), they aren’t dull to look at.

Below is 22 Bishopsgate. I managed to get this shot whilst the sun was bouncing off it onto the commuters below. This was originally planned to have a ‘helter skelter’ shape and be even taller, but was abandoned during the early stages of construction in the 2008 recession. The height was also scaled down as to not interfere with the flight path of London City Airport.

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I have always loved skyscrapers, and the UK has been behind in building these. But we are in Europe afterall, and skyscrapers are only just seeing the light of day in this continent. One reason being it’s history and not wanting to distort the view of historical buildings. I guess there are more rules around what can be built around historical sites.

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The Walkie-Talkie, towering above the street below. With the floors above being wider than the ones below, sunlight caused a problem during construction. The beams of light reflecting off the glass hit the pavement and scorched it, melting a car and caused people to fry eggs in the street. The news report below was quite amusing to watch at the time.

I think London is now in a skyscraper boom, with clusters in the City of London (as seen in these shots), Canary Wharf and also Vauxhall. As I have mentioned I like them, but understand they aren’t for everyone.

What about yourself, when you think of London do you associate it with modern buildings such as the London Eye and the Shard, or the historical sites such as Big Ben and Tower Bridge? I guess the older attractions are still the most popular, but who knows what the future holds. The castles and bridges are constantly shrinking under the sight of these huge towers, maybe they will create a legacy of their own…

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I’ve just noticed the taxi’s reg plate reads ‘CAB’, haha.

 


 

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!

Sam


 

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When you walk through the places in your pictures

Have you ever gazed at the image of a place you have always wanted to go in your life, and then more recently took a moment to realise you are finally in that place? I did this when I first landed in Sydney, viewing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House on the train from the airport.

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It was one of the first times the view almost took my breath away, purely because it took me so long to get here and it is a sight I have been brought up seeing constantly on TV. It is comparable to seeing a famous person I guess. Being able to touch the places you never imagined visiting can be pretty surreal.

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I thought of this as I looked back at some photos in my camera roll, and this photo in particular. It is the shot I took from my flight from Sydney to Townsville via Brisbane. I was heading north to do my farmwork in March and got this great shot of Brisbane from above. I can’t believe this was in March. Time flies.

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Looking back at this photo was interesting, as I am in this view right now. The past me is looking down at the future me, looking down at the streets of people that I am now walking with, currently looking up at the airplanes that brought me here. It is amazing how flying makes cities look like towns. The skyscrapers I am dwarfed by look insignificant from above.

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I was amongst those clouds somewhere, back in March

So, where am I? Right now as I type this post I am in the airplane shot. More specifically, here, chilling with a coffee and a blueberry muffin.

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What is strange to me is that I haven’t left the area you can see in three weeks. This didn’t seem like anything until now, it is such a vast area but it looks tiny from here. I wonder when I will for the first time…

Have you ever had a similar feeling from finally being in the place you have always wanted to visit? Was it a holiday destination or a specific landmark? It guess it could also be seeing a sports team or your favourite artist perform.

Let me know in the comments 🙂


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Happy living!

Travel Diaries: 75 Mile Beach (Fraser Island trip)

This beach is 75 miles long. It is a registered highway with speed limits.

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During my tour (I was on a guided coach tour, although it is possible to take your own off road vehicles onto the island) we stopped off at a handful of places that you can see in my recent and upcoming posts that I will link to the bottom off each post. However the road itself is worth the drive, with constantly changing landscapes on one side and whales swimming near shore on the other.

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Our driver, ‘Waz Man’ according to his name badge, was a funny guy.

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During the drive we stopped at a small on-beach airfield. This was part of the package, it seems like the tour have made an agreement with the flight company to offer a flight for a cost of $80. It isn’t a bad deal, but I opted not to. Four people got off the bus and flew, circling the beach and then overtaking the coach and landing about twenty minutes later. We met the plane, they got back on the bus and on we went.

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The colour of the sands and rock vary here too, there is a lovely footpath we stopped at to take a closer look.

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Look at the traffic!

The view below gives away what my next post will be.

Can you see what it is? See you again soon…

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Part One: The Largest Sand Island in the World

Part Two: Lake Mckenzie

 

 

 

Travel Diaries: Lake McKenzie (Fraser Island Trip)

For any eagle eyed readers of my blog, you may have noticed a slight resemblance between Lake Mckenzie and Whitehaven beach that I blogged about here in my Whitsundays post. The sand on this beach is the same sand that makes Whitehaven so unique. I was under the impression that Whitehaven was the only beach to have this 98% silica beneath my feet, but here I am standing on it once again!IMG_7748

The depth increases rather quickly in this lake, the reason for the change in colour seen in the images above and below.

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I really cannot get over how clear the water is in Australia…

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Lake Mckenzie! What did you think? Have you been? Let me know and as always, thanks for reading and I will see you in the comments 🙂

Click here for Fraser Island Part One: Lake Wabby

 

Don’t be fooled by Australian beach photos…

Don’t let this view fool you, it’s still bloody cold in the mornings here as we aren’t quite into summer. The further south I go, the more I keep up with the cold weather. 

I knew my ski jacket would come in handy.


Nothing french toast with crispy bacon can’t fix.

What are you having for breakfast this morning?

This pier is 2,848ft long 

I went for a walk today and found a nice pier to chill on, taking in the lovely beach here on my rest stop of Hervey Bay before making my way to Fraser Island tomorrow. 

On the map I was provided at the hostel there was a pier, however this one didn’t seem to be in the right place (on the map it appeared to be on a curve, this pier wasn’t, so I took a snap and kept walking down the coastline.


As I was walking, I found another pier of a similar size. I then wondered why there was only one on the map, and realised that there must be a pretty big one a little further down. 

I found it, and it was impressive.

Almost at the end of a ten or so minute stroll…

Looking back to shore.

Right at the end were plenty of fishermen and women. Reason be that the water is impressively shallow all the way out. This would be why the pier was built, it used to transport goods onto ships after being built in 1917. It was about to be demolished when the local community protested, and here it is in 2018. 

Typing that, I’ve just realised its 101 years old!


That water though! 👌🏝

Is this building ugly?

I pass this building everyday on route to work, I thought I would at least dedicate a post to it. Not that I like the building, in fact the exact opposite is true. I find it ugly but I wanted to wait for a blue sky before snapping an image of it, I tried during a cloudy day and it makes for an incredibly dull photo. Some would say that adds to my opinion, but it just made me feel gloomy.

So this afternoon I got off the train in Wynyard and made my way back onto the Harbour Bridge to take a decent shot.


Not that I want to be mean, it’s beautiful in a weird way. A bit like a pug. They aren’t the most beautiful dogs out there however that makes them cute. There is beauty in the concrete cubes. 

I’m sure the residents of this building make up for it in their home decor, however looking at the building I am unsure if people live in it. It would be fascinating to have a high rise building abandoned in such a lively part of the city.


If there are residents in there, I’m sorry for taking photos of your crib. 

Update: Apparantly there are residents. Over at Wikipedia, I learned a little about this complex, formally known as the Sirius Building.

Anecdotally, unit 74 of the Sirius building became somewhat of an unofficial Sydney landmark; its sign displaying ‘One Way! Jesus’ clearly visible to Harbour Bridge commuters. The sign was in place for around 10 years, although the owner of the sign, Owen McAloon, and his motivations to spread a Christian message remained generally unknown.

Since 2015, the Sirius Building has been at the centre of controversy over plans to remove the residents, sell off the building and possibly redevelop the site, with opponents of the plans seeking to secure its protection as a heritage building.

I’m not sure how many commuters and tourists have been converted via a sign outside of a resident window, thankfully it isn’t that easy. 

But I do feel this view is a great photo opportunity, brutalist 70’s architecture with a backdrop of modern highrises. It makes me wonder how many buildings we are constructing today that will be seen as an ugly eyesore by future generations. It’s almost impossible to predict which ones will stand the test of time until they do. 

So far, this one has!

A few things I’ve learned about hotels from working in hotels

I had an unexpected night in a hotel last night and as I sip my morning coffee, felt it was a good opportunity to talk about what I learned from hotel work. 

I spent numerous years working in hotels. I loved it, I hated it. It was relaxing and crazy. How could I be punished with 60+ hour shifts one week and a four day weekend the next? And how come a job with such low pay got me so close to celebrities? This, is the hotel trade.

Some guests genuinely have interesting names…

As I currently spend a night in one I remember what it was like to be on the other side of the desk. To be approached by an arrival claiming to be called ‘Ben Dover’ asking what the policy is for bringing prostitutes back. That kind of comedic genius. Mind you, I once checked in a businessman genuinely named Harry Potter, it’s all about spotting the trolls without infuriating the good guys.

Fear the ‘shettle’…

Once during a floor walk a housekeeper found a kettle sitting outside of a room that a stag group checked out of. She opened it to find a human dump staring back. This actually happened, and from now on I ask for a pot of boiling water from the bar to quench my thirst for tea. Flavoured tea is popular, some flavours aren’t so welcome. 

I always double lock my door

In an age of keycards you can relax knowing that the door will lock behind you after you leave, gone are the days in which we have to remember to physically lock the door after us. This doesn’t mean the door cannot be opened without some fairly simple information. To get a new key to a room we are often required to provide a name, room number, I.D or to state the address on file, although this isn’t always so strict. I’ve been given a room key by using the right name and room number, easily obtainable by listening closely to the person checking in before you. I have never heard of such a trick being used to gain access to another room, thankfully most people are good and any creeps looking to abuse such a system are often terrible at going under the radar. It is still good to be over cautious. 


A ‘do not disturb’ sign doesn’t always work

Prepare for a housekeeping invasion around 9am, they are easily the hardest working department in my eyes and like anyone, want to get the workload out of the way. Rest assured the hand squeezing through the door isn’t you dreaming of the anticipated zombie apocalypse, it’s just housekeepers eagerly wanting to swap your towels for fresh ones.

I don’t go into attack mode if something  goes wrong

As much as the unexpected 6am fire alarm wasn’t my fault, it probably wasn’t the fault of the reception staff either. As much as I want to vent it is important to remember that the staff are only human and if they are shown compassion, will probably be a lot more helpful and understanding with an understanding guest. We are emotional creatures and whether we like it or not, this impacts how a situation unfolds. Staff aren’t there to make your stay difficult, this would make hotel work very difficult indeed. A civil conversation is just as effective as anything.

I still love staying in hotels

I always thought going into the hotel industry would kill the magic, a bit like working at Disneyland but on a much smaller scale. It didn’t and if anything I appreciate the work that goes into making a stay a great one a little more. 

I do certain certain things differently now from the experienced I gained however this is not a hindrance. I’ve adopted many of the do’s and don’t at home, too. I just trust the kettle a little more. 

I hope you’re in a hotel right now and if not, very soon!