We woke up at 0700 to the rhythmic sound of rain falling and wind blowing. Not what you want to hear when you’re planning an outing in the city 😦
We had the hot buffet at hotel, which is also known as the "Full English Breakfast" I don’t know how more British people aren’t dead from cholesterol poisoning 😉
Back bacon, sausages, fried eggs, hash browns, toast, fruit, juice, baked beans, mushrooms. Whew! They even had diced mangos! It was pretty tasty even though the bacon was a bit dry.
As arranged the night before, Liz was there to get us at 0830. She shuttled us over to the train station and we picked up our "travel cards". The total for the two of us came to £23. It would let us travel on the trains/busses/tube all day.
We took the NEEA Train into Stratford and it was really simple to just walk across the platform to catch the Central line into London. Total travel time about 60 minutes. We got off at St. Paul’s Cathedral, as we had decided that it was INDOOR activities today due to the rain.
£10 each to get into St. Pauls. $40 for two people! It was a very beautiful Cathedral with many memorials to military past. So many that it felt more like a military memorial than a church in many ways. In the Crypt was Lord Nelson’s and Florence Nightengale’s tomb. Kinda creepy thinking about all the corpses down in the crypt with you. We walked up the 434 steps all the way to the golden gallery (above stone gallery and whispering gallery) and braved the wind and rain to get some pictures of the area. We had timed it well. We were out there when the bells rang 1100. I’m still surprised I didn’t lose my Tilley hat in the rain! From looking down the halls to the quire and up into the dome, I can see why Diana and Charles got married there. Quite ornate, but not too cluttered in the center.
Once we got back down and dried off a bit, we figured we might as well head over to Westminster Abbey. Back out and on the tube over to "Westminster". The wind and rain was STILL blowing hard around us :( Not much for outdoor shooting opportunities. Westminster abbey also took us for £10/person. I could see that this vacation was going to be pretty pricey! The abbey was VERY COOL, with VERY OLD stuff. Tombs from 1066 and Edward the confessor(?) It is a HUGE Abbey. We saw the tomb of various Kings and Queens. There was a beautiful side tomb for Mary Queen of Scots. As we left the abbey, Mrs D noticed a memorial plaque for BP and his wife. Cool!
Both places allowed no photos, but I found if you set your ISO high enough and you knew where your camera pointed you could get a few 🙂
Continuing on our "indoor" tour we tubed down to Harrods (Knightsbridge) and walked through the store. OMG is it a HUGE department store. We started on the top floor and wandered around until we had seen the whole floor and then descended to the floor below and did the same. After 2 floors, I had to admit to Mrs D that I was going to die if we didn’t stop soon. It was 1600 and we seemed to have skipped lunch.
We went down to the basement for the food fair. There was SO much variety. We ended up just getting a couple of diet Cokes and went to the gift shop section. A gift shop for a department store… HAH!
Also in the basement is a small memorial that Mr Al Fayed made for Diana and Dodi. It was quite nice. Obviously it’s always tough to lose a child.
By now it was about 1630 and we hadn’t eaten all day. I needed food. We decided to stop at a little Italian place in Knightsbridge and paid £23 for "afternoon tea" 2 SMALL sandwiches, 2 scones, tea for 2 and some light dessert. OUCH! Mental note – STAY out of restaurants… OVERPRICED.
At 1730, we decided to head over to Soho to check it out. What a lively area. We got off the tube at Picadilly circus and watched firetrucks trying to get through the crowded cars.. Crazy! We walked over to Soho and saw all the theatres as well as Chinatown. I wonder how good their chinese food actually is. We walked around the area and ended up at Leicester Square, which left me humming "It’s a long way to Tipperary" ;) Around 1900, I told Mrs D. that I wanted to sit and have a pint in an English pub. It was something that I wanted to do. We settled on the "Crooked Surgeon" and had a couple of pints and shared a plate of fish and chips. much more reasonable prices!
I had "London Pride" and "Bombardier" bitters. I much prefferred the London Pride.
We wrapped things up at the pub at 2045 and tubed/trained our way home. We took a taxi from train station and we got back to the hotel at 2200. Long day! Tomorrow we don’t start going until 0900 to try to avoid the rush hour. Weatherman says "No Rain" for tomorrow. I hope so!
Sorry – still no pics. They WILL come.. I promise. We’ve taken a tonne of them!