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12 source/_posts/2014-02-15-england.markdown
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----
-layout: post
-title: "England"
-date: 2014-02-15 16:57
-tags: example, tag
-description:
-published: false
-dont_cache_images: true
-priority: 0.5
----
-Intro
-<!-- more -->
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441 source/_posts/2014-03-02-england-the-home-of-real-ale.markdown
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+---
+layout: post
+title: "England, The Home of Real Ale"
+date: 2014-03-02 19:21
+tags: England, Beer, Nottingham, London, Stonehenge, Graffiti, Bristol, Bath
+description:
+published: true
+priority: 0.5
+---
+Flying into Manchester from Athens, the first thing that struck me about
+England was just how lusciously green everything was. Yes, I've been to England
+before, I even lived there for nearly a year some time ago, but I was still
+blown away by it. No other country I've been to has rolling fields and hills like
+England.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842850784/in/set-72157641676939995" title="The green fields of England by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3703/12842850784_5691109e42_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="The green fields of England"></a>
+
+<!-- more -->
+
+After landing in Manchester I got the train to Nottingham and went and met up
+with my old friend Matty P at his local pub, the Vat and Fiddle. A few years had
+passed since Matt left Australia so it was fantastic to catch up with him and
+try a few pints of Castle Rock's fine ale selection. We made a quick trip to
+Matt's house to dump my bags then headed to Brewdog to try a few more UK ales
+before heading back to Matty's place for the nights rest.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842515123/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Direct pipe to Fosters Brewery by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3669/12842515123_fd6c71161a_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Direct pipe to Fosters Brewery from Brewdog"></a>
+
+
+The next morning we sought out a proper, full English breakfast from a local
+cafe; bacon and eggs, sausages, mushrooms and baked beans. So
+damn good! Only thing missing was black pudding, but we dealt with that
+omission at subsequent breakfasts.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842520403/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Real English Breakfast by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7302/12842520403_d7bb632171_c.jpg" width="709" height="800" alt="Real English Breakfast"></a>
+
+After breakfast we headed up to Nottingham castle for the event that drew me to
+England at this time, [The Robin Hood Beer
+Festival](http://www.beerfestival.nottinghamcamra.org/). It's a "real ale"
+festival run by [CAMRA](http://www.camra.org.uk/), offering over 1,100 casks of
+ale to sample, and about 300 ciders for those with no taste (Sorry Amanda
+:P). They had 900 casks of ale tapped at any one time, with the others
+"settling" so that when they're tapped they pour clear instead of being cloudy
+with too much yeast.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842527873/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Me and Robin Hood by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3723/12842527873_578178e15c_c.jpg" width="800" height="571" alt="Me and Robin Hood"></a>
+
+On arrival you're given a bunch of tokens, two of which buys a third of a pint
+of ale. The best part is that you don't have to spend any tokens to try an ale!
+The people working there want you to find a beer you like before you commit to
+drinking a third of it, and so will let you taste any of the beers for free.
+The volume of these tastes would often be more than you'd get at a beer tasting
+event back in Australia, and there you'd have to be spending tokens for the
+privilege. England has beer tasting all figured out!
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842551603/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Me and Matt at the Robin Hood Beer Festival by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7354/12842551603_ed49d9bbc1_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="Me and Matt at the Robin Hood Beer Festival"></a>
+
+The people working serving the beers seemed pretty knowledgeable, and had a
+surprisingly good balance of the genders. Still weighted towards males, but
+there were a lot of ladies serving too. The people working were mostly
+unaffiliated with any particular brewery, and were just beer lovers
+volunteering.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842468605/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Casks of ale by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3667/12842468605_11aedb31da_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="Casks of ale"></a>
+
+There was an amazing variety food available there too. I ate a zebra burger from
+a place with all sorts of wild game meat (wild boar, kangaroo, etc.). More
+varieties of exotic meat than at Carnivore in Kenya! I think England's
+reputation for bland, boring food is well out of date these days.
+
+Not long after lunch Amanda and Luke arrived and met up with us at the festival,
+it was great to see them again, and to taste beers and discuss them with Luke.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842600093/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Amanda and Luke looking uncertain by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3686/12842600093_1e26711dc4_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Amanda and Luke looking uncertain"></a>
+
+I worked it out afterwards, and I think I only drank about 6 pints over the
+whole day there (8-10 hours of well paced drinking), but I got to try dozens of
+different ales. So much better than the 1-2 hour tastings where you're rushing
+everything so you don't run out of time. I think it also helped keep things
+relaxed knowing that trying everything was impossible. I'd done the sums
+and worked out that even just a 30ml shot of each beer would have meant drinking
+over 30 litres. Australians like to drink, but even we aren't that stupid.
+
+
+We left the festival in the early evening and made a stop in at [Ye Old Trip To
+Jerusalem](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ye_Olde_Trip_To_Jerusalem), one of
+several pubs that claims to be the oldest in the UK. They claim to have been
+serving beer there since 1189AD. The pub is partly carved out of a sandstone
+cave, giving it a cosy atmosphere. It's mind-blowing to think that people have
+been drinking at that same venue for almost 1000 years.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842631413/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Everyone is surprised by just how old this pub is by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7392/12842631413_e3c00a92ed_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Everyone is surprised by just how old this pub is"></a>
+
+Our last stop for the night was at The Canalhouse, a little craft beer focused
+pub along the canals, which actually has a section off the canal that runs in
+through the pub. Presumably it was for unloading casks of ale back in the days
+(and maybe even still today?). There we had a few strong craft beers (some
+well over 9% ABV), which didn't help with the way we woke up feeling
+the next morning. In case you can't guess, it wasn't fantastic.
+
+Once we were up and going the next day, we made a visit to the op shops in the
+rich part of town. I managed to score a good winter jacket for £8 and a dapper
+hat for £6.50. Travelling without winter clothes worked out great for me this
+time, and hopefully will again if I end up somewhere cold again in the future.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842559675/in/set-72157641676939995" title="I got a nice hat and coat for not much moneys by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2878/12842559675_936cbc06d2_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="I got a nice hat and coat for not much moneys"></a>
+
+We did some scenic driving and had a nice long lunch at The Unicorn Hotel, a
+traditional style country pub, where the Pedigree ale pie was fantastic.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842642093/in/set-72157641676939995" title="The Unicorn Hotel by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3691/12842642093_892b269298_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="The Unicorn Hotel"></a>
+
+On Saturday we went back to the beer festival for it's biggest day. We didn't
+have pre-bought tickets so we got there before the gates opened to try and
+ensure we'd get in. There we found a line of people winding way down the hill
+and around the corner, all the while with England giving us some of its best
+weather. In other words, it pissed down with rain.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842696893/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Massive line in the rain to get into the beer festival on Saturday morning by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7352/12842696893_ed76d09210_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="Massive line in the rain to get into the beer festival on Saturday morning"></a>
+
+Once the gates opened the line moved quite fast (although it continued to grow
+about as fast as it moved), but we all got in without much hassle.
+
+We went straight to the table area and secured ourselves a table and then I got
+some chicken tikka masala for breakfast. It is not sensible drinking without a
+bit of "ballast" in our stomachs as Matty P liked to put it.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12843079154/in/set-72157641676939995" title="10am drinks, the right way to start Saturday! by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2863/12843079154_c01659c684_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="10am drinks, the right way to start Saturday!"></a>
+
+This time we focused on the top tent where our table was, which conveniently had
+the most different ales available. There was also a bottom tent, and then a few
+other "renegade" tents with only one or two breweries beers available in them
+two. It turns out you need a fair bit of space for 1100 casks of beer!
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842759953/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Even more casks today by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2883/12842759953_136d0e8363_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Even more casks today"></a>
+
+My favourite beer of the festival was [Bateman's Hazelnut
+Brownie](http://www.bateman.co.uk/our+brewery/our+beers/speciality+cask+beers);
+a sweet, rich syrupy beer with delicious chocolaty aroma. The name was pretty
+much spot on describing how it smelt and tasted. It was not a session beer, but
+it was nice to have a small glass of.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12842492655/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Mmmmm... Hazelnut Brownie by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3674/12842492655_54435b6aba_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="Mmmmm... Hazelnut Brownie"></a>
+
+After the beer festival finished up, Luke and Amanda headed off to
+explore the south of England. I decided I wanted to stop moving for a while and
+stayed put in Nottingham for a nice long time.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12843197605/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Matt reading important business news in the paper while having a nice ale by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7392/12843197605_f4b72d4e8b_c.jpg" width="601" height="800" alt="Matt reading important business news in the paper while having a nice ale"></a>
+
+My days comprised of sleeping in, working on my Spanish and spinning poi. Then
+when Matty got home from his crazy long days at work we'd go out and visit any
+one of the many local pubs, trying as many different ales as humanly possible.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12843851254/in/set-72157641676939995" title="A barman pulling us a pint of Directors by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3726/12843851254_28ee0718ed_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="A barman pulling us a pint of Directors"></a>
+
+It felt like a mutually beneficial situation. Matty got someone to help around
+the house, some extra company, and a drinking buddy. I got the days to slow down
+and relax without feeling like I was wasting my limited time in new city X, and
+a great introduction to all that English ale has to offer.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12843460923/in/set-72157641676939995" title="And even more pump tags by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3786/12843460923_c49cc47b39_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="And even more pump tags"></a>
+
+After a few weeks of this it was time to head to London for Amanda and Luke's
+leaving Europe celebrations. Matty and I got the bus to Victoria Station, then
+headed straight to Camden to have Lunch at a nice pub Matt knew. Their menu
+contained the "Cheese and bacon dirty burger". How can you go wrong with a name
+like that?
+
+After lunch we headed to a pub called The Old Haberdashery, where we were
+meeting up with everyone. Amanda and Luke, Leigh and Nikki, and a few other
+people we know who happen to be in London and had the afternoon free all made
+it along.
+
+After a lot of beers and reminiscing, we headed to the Boom Festival teaser
+party, our main event for the evening, which turned out to be a terribly
+organised disaster.
+
+We spent two hours waiting in line to get into the venue, and this was with
+everyone having pre-booked tickets, the event had sold out. There was a cloak
+room line that didn't move whatsoever in the 15 minutes I stood there before
+decided I wouldn't bother. I'd guess another 2 hours to cloak an item, and
+another 3-4 to get it back at the end of the night. A stupid token system at
+the bar meant you had to queue up twice when you wanted a drink, or buy loads of
+tokens and risk having a bunch left over at the end of the night. There was way
+too many people packed into the tiny venue making the place so unbearably hot
+that we went outside to the smoking area just to get out of the heat. This is in
+London at the end of Autumn! I was so hot that I was comfortable outside in just
+a T-shirt for ages before I stopped feeling overheated.
+
+I'd love to say even in the face of all that I had a good time, but I didn't.
+Pretty much everything about the night sucked. I was getting so mad about
+how poorly executed everything was that I got a yelling at from Nicolette about
+how negative I was being. I completely understand not wanting to make a bad
+situation seem worse than it is, but when the dust settled the next week I
+don't think anyone had a positive word to say about the event. I don't know how
+Boom Festival could let such a farce of a party tarnish their brand like that.
+
+We left before the event finished, as soon as the trains to Cambridge were
+running again. Like sleepless zombies we endured something like 3 changes back
+and forth onto buses because of weekend track works. Thank you Amanda for
+staying awake and making sure we got there in the end!
+
+In Cambridge we were staying at Amanda's good friend Andrew's place. When we
+arrived we walked in, he handed us bacon sandwiches (what a champion!) and then
+we all lay down and got some much needed rest.
+
+Andrew was heading off to visit his family, so we were sort of house sitting for
+him for Amanda and Luke's last few days in Europe. Cards against humanity (The
+UK version) was played. £65 of fireworks were purchased and set off in a nearby
+field (45 seconds of non-stop explosions). Cheese, wine and beer was consumed.
+Good times were had. No photos were taken.
+
+After our few days there, Matty drove Luke and Amanda to London. By the time we
+got there, it was peak hour, so we stopped at a suburb in the outskirts and had
+a few drinks until the trains would have quietened down. We said our goodbyes
+and wished Amanda and Luke well on their American travels, before making the
+long drive back to Nottingham.
+
+For my penultimate weekend Matt kindly sorted us out some transport so we could
+go and check out the one real thing on my list of stuff to see in England,
+Stonehenge. I think the desire to see it stemmed from the movie European Vacation,
+which is kind of lame, but seeing the real deal was pretty cool.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12844633393/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Stonehenge by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3791/12844633393_fd765e5877_c.jpg" width="800" height="450" alt="Stonehenge"></a>
+
+On the drive there we were buffeted with ice cold winds, dark clouds and rain.
+The wind ended up working in our favour, blowing us a clear patch in the sky
+while we were waiting in line to get in. The blue skies lasted for nearly our
+whole visit. The weather while we were there was stunning, some of the best I
+saw during this visit to England.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12844601435/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Matt watched a lot of "My name is Earl" and it affected his abillity to be photographed with his eyes open by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7346/12844601435_d5f7d734c1_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Matt watched a lot of "My name is Earl" and it affected his abillity to be photographed with his eyes open"></a>
+
+I learnt some interesting stuff from the far too verbose audio guides. There's
+third of each pillar buried underground, meaning that the already quite large
+stones are actually 50% bigger than they appear. They have little pegs and holes
+to help keep the tops in place on the pillars. The heaviest one is estimated to
+weight 45 tons. Another amazing construction project that nobody truly knows how
+they accomplished it, although they have some theories that sound pretty
+reasonable.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12844672655/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Me at Stonehenge by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2876/12844672655_ac96640f18_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Me at Stonehenge"></a>
+
+After Stonehenge we headed to Bristol to visit an old friend, Jen, and to check
+out some of the Banksy pieces around the city. I got an iPhone app guide to his
+work around the city, which sadly a large proportion of have been vandalised and
+since painted over. It was awesome to see the ones that were still there though.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12844779275/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Banksy, the mild mild west by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3814/12844779275_e4b4b10d23_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Banksy, the mild mild west"></a>
+
+We caught up with Jen over a few drinks, then headed to a fancy little
+microbrewery bar and had way to many more tasty beers, followed by an obligatory
+going-to-bed kebab before sleeping in the van. I slept in the back (which I
+found out was not exactly sealed from the outside air) and matt slept in the
+cabin. I was glad to have a reasonable sleeping bag that night.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12844955595/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Live & Eat Pie. Words to live by. by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2828/12844955595_3b04620b9e_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="Live & Eat Pie. Words to live by."></a>
+
+
+The next day Matt and I both felt rubbish, so we wandered around trying to find
+somewhere that was open to get a decent breakfast. Eventually we found a place
+called the Bristolian that had a great English breakfast, helping us both feel
+much much better.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12845833954/in/set-72157641676939995" title="The Bristolian by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7459/12845833954_0ca9a2621c_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="The Bristolian"></a>
+
+We spent the morning touring around Bristol some more, checking out the immense
+amounts of great street art that decorates the city. I highly recommend checking
+out the [Flickr gallery for this
+post](http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/sets/72157641676939995/) if you
+like graffiti.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12845219593/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Bristol street art by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7402/12845219593_e11b4bf64c_c.jpg" width="601" height="800" alt="Bristol street art"></a>
+
+We decided to go and visit bath that day, a picturesque city full of beautiful
+architecture. We walked around the city a bit, saw a stealthy bridge (shops
+built on both sides of it hide the fact there's a bridge there at all), before
+making the long drive back to Nottingham.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12845536285/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Bath, the fancy neighbourhood by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3750/12845536285_afdcf35c21_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Bath, the fancy neighbourhood"></a>
+
+I spent a few of my last few days of this visit to England in London, revisiting
+sites I'd been to a decade earlier when I lived an hour away in Ipswich. Lots of
+nice nostalgia.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12845626835/in/set-72157641676939995" title="The guards at Buckingham Palace by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3686/12845626835_a94756ef08_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="The guards at Buckingham Palace"></a>
+
+I went to Buckingham Palace and the huge gardens nearby, walked over to Big Ben
+and The Palace of Westminster, then walked along the Thames for a bit before it
+started raining.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12845994175/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Palace of Westminster by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7304/12845994175_7a5c34b58f_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Palace of Westminster"></a>
+
+I headed over to Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square and bought some last
+minute tickets to see "The Book of Mormon" for that evening, a musical by the
+guys behind South Park.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12846419004/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Trafalgar Square by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2822/12846419004_90945b038e_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Trafalgar Square in the rain"></a>
+
+I tracked down a fancy London beard barber shop and got my beard shaped for way
+too much money, but you only live once, right? I got some good tips about
+shaping it myself (which I screwed up just a few months later) and some tips on
+handlebar moustaches.
+
+I visited the London Transport Museum which was quite an interesting collection
+about all the eras and advancements in public transport in London. Funny to see
+signs from the start of last century for the same stuff that people need to be
+told today (don't block the doors, move down the isle, let people off first). It
+seems like common sense has never been common.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12846238255/in/set-72157641676939995" title="The problems of old are the same problems of today by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2853/12846238255_2e59be8e50_c.jpg" width="673" height="800" alt="The problems of old are the same problems of today"></a>
+
+I'd hoped the museum would have a bit more of a focus on the underground than it
+did. It was nearly completely missing information about the many abandoned
+underground stations, or 3d models of how the whole network and it's supporting
+escalators/lifts fit together.
+
+
+I went along to the Book of Mormon, which by that point was sold out completely,
+but my seat was actually pretty decent on the ground floor with a good view of
+the stage. One of the perks of going to the theatre alone! The musical was a
+funny tale of two Mormons who get sent to Uganda to preach, one of who is a
+compulsive liar, the other a "star" Mormon. The star loses his faith, so the
+liar steps up and makes up even crazier stuff than actual Mormonism to get the
+Ugandans to stop doing bad things like killing one another, or raping babies
+to cure their aids. I thought it poked a lot of fun of Mormons, while not
+actually crossing any lines as far as South Park normally does.
+
+The next morning I went and saw London bridge, which is pretty dull but had a
+great view of the Tower Bridge, which I love to look at.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12846736544/in/set-72157641676939995" title="The Tower Bridge by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7355/12846736544_29eb123a9c_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="The Tower Bridge"></a>
+
+I looped around and visited the Tower of London, did the tour led by a beefeater
+which I enjoyed just as much as last time. They have great delivery of their
+stories and jokes making it both informative and enjoyable.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12846375755/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Our beef-eater by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2822/12846375755_1554934914_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Our beef-eater"></a>
+
+I went through and saw the crown jewels, this time looking out in particular for
+the big ones stolen from Africa and India that I'd learned about in my travels.
+They don't make very much note about that side of the story, or that they refuse
+to return them.
+
+An new interesting fact I learnt was that the tower was once used as a
+menagerie, filled with all kinds of exotic animals. The animal husbandry back
+then left a lot to be desired. For example they had ostriches but didn't know
+what they ate, so they tried feeding them iron nails, which of course killed
+them. They also used to have a polar bear on a leash that could swim in the
+Thames. Nuts!
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12846518445/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Polar bear sculpture by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7347/12846518445_ea6aaae00f_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Polar bear sculpture"></a>
+
+I went past the monument for the great fire of London, an impressive pillar
+mostly hidden by the large buildings around it, then got the tube to Camden
+where I was staying for the night.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12846584095/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Fire of London monument by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3730/12846584095_65d308aebd_c.jpg" width="601" height="800" alt="Fire of London monument"></a>
+
+Camden has a counter-culture feel to it, and attracts some rather odd people.
+One example was quite a talented girl who was busking near the train station on
+an electric violin, while some douchebag sat metres in front of her listening to
+his iPod. He moved along only when someone tapped him on the shoulder and
+pointed out what an incredibly rude twat he was being.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12846588055/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Girl busking while a douchebag listens to his ipod right in front of her speaker by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7301/12846588055_a845089266_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Girl busking while a douchebag listens to his ipod right in front of her speaker"></a>
+
+I wandered around the markets, seeing loads of great street art, vintage and
+Victorian (?) era clothes, and lots of other cool stuff to look at. I wish I had
+unlimited cash and no bag weight restrictions so I could buy a whole new
+wardrobe, try out a completely new style (or just _have_ a style really).
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12846680913/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Camden High Street by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7304/12846680913_f9e7fbede6_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Camden High Street"></a>
+
+I visited Cyberdog, which I’m told is practically mandatory when going to
+Camden, a store that pretty much doubles as a night club. The lights are dimmed,
+the UV lights are on, there’s a live hard trance DJ spinning records and
+everything. The place was full of rave clothes and cool trinkets. There was a
+cool Tetris night light that comes apart completely and the blocks light up as
+you stack them in whatever order you please. Also, Pacman ghost ponchos! Quite
+an unique and wonderful shop. Sadly they don't allow you to use cameras inside
+the store.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12847045074/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Cyberdog by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2893/12847045074_81f069cfc2_c.jpg" width="601" height="800" alt="Cyberdog"></a>
+
+I spent the evening checking out my hostels open mic night, where the acts
+varied from extremely talented, to please-stop-now, this is painful.
+
+The next morning mostly got wasted at the apple store. The camera in my phone
+had been showing some weird graphics distortions, which meant they were happy to
+replace it on the spot. Unfortunately this mean I then had a blank phone and
+needed to restore from iCloud in order to have access to any of my important
+stuff like Google Maps or my bus ticket back to Nottingham. It turns out the
+wifi in an Apple Store gets hammered pretty heavily by all the people using it,
+so it took forever and then some to restore. Still, shiny brand new phone for
+the third time!
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12846804135/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Giant horse heads everywhere! by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7314/12846804135_2089d61ebc_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Giant horse heads everywhere!"></a>
+
+The afternoon was entirely spent at the London Science Museum. A place full of
+fascinating exhibitions of aviation, mechanical computers, the materials things
+are made of, the human body and loads more. I spent 5 hours there before they
+kicked everyone out and closed, but I wish I had more time as there was so many
+more sections to visit.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12847267844/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Rockets in the Science Museum by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7442/12847267844_c7cdef7132_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Rockets in the Science Museum"></a>
+
+I met up with my old friend Andrew, who lived in Australia for a year a while
+back. We went to a nice pub called "The Cask" for some delicious ales and some
+gourmet burgers, and a lot of catching up. We talked "shop" for a little while
+and it was reassuring to still be able to feel like I'm not too far out of the
+loop. I guess as quickly as tech changes, the things people enjoy ranting about
+change much more slowly.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12847002555/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Now that's how you name a beer! by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3718/12847002555_508d328d95_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="Now that's how you name a beer!"></a>
+
+I got the bus home late that night, which didn't make it into Nottingham until
+around about 2am. I stumbled back from the bus station to Matty's place and
+promptly passed out.
+
+The next morning Matty made us an epic breakfast for lunch, then we set out to
+make one last visit to all the pubs in town before I left. In at Brewdog we had
+a nip of [Tactical Nuclear Penguin](http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/214)
+each; one of their rarer, strong (32%), exotic and expensive drops. Thankfully
+at the Brewdog bars at least they'll sell by the 30ml, instead of having to buy a
+330ml bottle. It was superb, but it is an impossible beer to follow as the
+flavour is just so intense.
+
+On my final day in England, we drove out to a nice country pub. Sadly it had a
+rather poor selection of ales, so we drove right back into town and found a
+place doing an awesome Sunday roast for lunch. That pub was conveniently located
+near the building which was used for Wayne manor in one of the Batman films, so
+we checked that out too. It's an impressive mansion with a huge green grounds
+surrounding it.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12847030535/in/set-72157641676939995" title="Wayne Manor by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7413/12847030535_e814905833_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Wayne Manor"></a>
+
+The next day I was off to the airport bright and early to catch a flight to
+Berlin, to find out just how large the gaps in my knowledge about the Cold War
+really were.

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