Day 1 – We started our visit to London with the “Big Bus” tour. We sat on the top in the open air and heard this fabulous guide tell us all about the sights. While this does not provide an in depth picture of the city, it was just what these two jet-lagged people needed for an overview. As we rode around we saw the Monument to the Great London Fire, Hyde Park, London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, and many lesser known sights.
A particularly nice feature of the bus tour was the “on-off” privileges as many times as you wanted for the duration of the ticket validity. We got off the bus at the Tower Bridge and had dinner (I had great lamb!), then got back on and went to the London Eye, the giant 135 meter Ferris wheel. The plaza around the Eye had a variety of sculptures by Dali – which was an unexpected treat. Riding the Eye in the enclosed, air-conditioned capsule provided great views and room to walk around to get different views. Very cool.
View from London Eye
2nd Day – We awoke early and went to the Victoria and Albert museum. But we didn’t know what to go see first! (We didn’t do our homework!) The building itself was the star – that and the Chihuly glass sculpture hanging in the lobby – oh, and the “cartoons” of the tapestries in the Vatican by Raphael (the drawings Raphael made which were the template for the weavers to use) – and then there were the sculptures…
Victoria and Albert Museum – Chihuly Glass Sculpture
Victoria and Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
We met Judith’s brother for lunch at the Ritz-Carlton, of course we were all dressed for sight-seeing (meaning we weren’t wearing coat and tie) so we couldn’t go into the “dining room”. But we had a pleasant lunch anyhow. Don stressed that we “had” to go to Buckingham Palace, as the Queen is elsewhere and the staterooms are open for visitors (only happens for 2 months out of the year). He was right! It was AMAZING, plus they had a display of her gowns. Now, I usually don’t like that stuff, but it was great (especially the jewels). When we left Buckingham and were walking near Hyde Park, there was a traffic crossing with an equestrian crossing light (wait/ walk) with a button about 7 or 8 feet off the ground so you could press the button from in your saddle! Great fun!
Then off to Westminster, which was CLOSED by the time we arrived. RATS! (But we still took some pictures!)
Then to dinner and the theatre. We went to Leicester Square to find a good deal on tickets. We bought tickets to a play that Don had suggested and that they had enjoyed, “Blood Brothers”, and we found a convenient restaurant serving “American Food”. All in all a very satisfying day.
3rd Day – This day we tried to do our homework more thoroughly and hit the Tower of London as soon as it opened. Listening to and talking with the Yeomen Warders who act as tour guides was truly fascinating. The history contained within and around those walls!! (Actually, the requirements to become a Yeoman Warder are fascinating in themselves – read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeomen_Warders)
After the Tower, we headed to St. Paul’s cathedral, which is both a gorgeous building and a favorite spot for nearby workers at lunch!
Paul’s Cathedral – grounds at lunch time
Next, off to the British Museum and then Westminster.
A full day! It’s gorgeous weather, we really lucked out.
So, how small is our bathroom? Well, you know when you are at the dentist, and they tell you to rinse & spit in that little sink? We can do that AND go to the bathroom at the same time…
However, the shower is superb…