RTW Day 78 – Singapore
4th May 2018
We arrive in Singapore at 8 am. I’m too old for this overnight travel. Technically, it’s 6 hours until we can check in, but I pray a room will be available sooner (if not I may cry). Unfortunately the hotel has no rooms before midday. It’s disappointing because we are tired and frankly quite stinky, but we decide to go and see some sights.
Singapore, the ‘Garden City’ is a revelation after the filth and pollution of Sri Lanka. There are flowers on traffic islands, flowers on bridges, flowers on buildings, flowers everywhere. And no rubbish to be seen anywhere.
We start at the Formula 1 pit lane, then cross the Helix Bridge to the ArtScience Museum.
The museum has an exhibition on Art from the Streets which is very interesting, with works from artists I’ve heard of, like Banksy and others which are new to me.
After lunch at the food court in the enormous Marina Bay Sands complex – a shopping mall with its own canal – we head back for a few hours sleep.
In the evening we visit the Gardens by the Bay. These contain the Supertree Grove; huge metal structures resembling trees which are planted with ferns, orchids and climbers. You can take a lift to the Skyway and walk between the Supertrees which provides a great view of the gardens and the bay.
Coolest of all, at night the Supertrees perform a sound and light show. Tonight’s Garden Rhapsody is a musical re-enactment of Star Wars and it’s fantastic. We lie on the grass listening to that iconic music and watching the light show in the trees.
Just time to get to the bay for Singapore’s other must-see night time attraction; Spectra. It’s a spectacular musical performance of fountains, lights and lasers. It makes Las Vegas seem rather ordinary. It’s been a great night, but we are weary from our overnight journey, so are grateful to get back to the hotel to rest.
RTW Day 79 – Singapore
5th May 2018
Our final day in Singapore, which is a shame because it’s a lovely city. But after almost 3 months on the road, I’m looking forward to going home tomorrow. But first, time for one last sightseeing trip and we’ve saved the best for last with a trip to Gardens by the Bay.
I wake up with a bad back; the bed is incredibly hard so maybe I slept at a weird angle trying to get comfy. It hurts so much to bend, that the old man has to help me get dressed. He sets off to run East Coast parkrun, but I decide I’m not up to it and go back to bed. He returns some time later literally dripping wet. Running in near 28 degree heat is obviously an extremely sweaty business.
Once he has showered, we take the hotel’s sightseeing shuttle bus into town, starting with Esplanade Park, home of Singapore’s iconic Merlion fountain. It’s difficult to get very close to it for tourists, most of whom are carrying umbrellas (it’s not raining).
We walk around the bay, taking pictures of the various sculptures and series of bench installations.
There are some particularly impressive sculptures, including a Rodin, in the foyer of the hotel OUE Downtown. So I go in and ask the ‘concierge’ if it’s OK to take some photos. Only he’s a sculpture too. It becomes obvious when the cleaner starts polishing his head as I approach.
We reach Marina Bay Sands in time for brunch and some much needed air conditioning. Before we leave, I duck into the toilet to apply sunblock before a visit to the Gardens by the Bay. When I emerge, it’s raining – typical.
We head for the Gardens’ two enormous greenhouses. First, the Cloud Forest; a 35 metre high, 7 storey artificial waterfall. A lift takes you to the top, then you follow a walkway back down around the outside of the waterfall.
There are different gardens on each level merging plants and sculptures into a huge monument of gardening perfection. In amongst the trees and flowers are Lego flowers, bronze animals, wooden sculptures, crystals, mirrors…
Next is the Flower Dome; this, too merges planting with sculptural pieces into different garden zones.
The main theme is ‘Tulipmania’ with a Dutch village, tea cups, cupcakes and giant heads, all planted with a huge array of tulips.
And that pretty much completes our travels. We return to the hotel for a final pack ready for our flight to London in the morning.
RTW Day 80 – Singapore to Bournemouth
6th May 2018
It’s time to go home. If all goes to plan, it should take around 21 hours. We check in for our flight with enough time to visit the butterfly garden. I wonder what made someone think; ‘I know what this airport needs – butterflies’? It’s not surprising that Changi has been voted the best airport in the world six years in a row.
Then it’s on to the 14 hour flight home for a musical extravaganza. After Moulin Rouge, School of Rock, Rocky Horror and Pitch Perfect 2 & 3, we’re back in the UK. We have been around the world in 80 days, visiting 8 countries and covering a total of 39,000 miles. I’m exhausted – I think I need a holiday!