Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 9 The crazy, cheesy whirlwind tour of London.

Today was a looong day. I am starting to get a case of the crankies! I did so good for so much of the day because we were on the bus tour, but by the end, when I hadn’t eaten lunch, and I realized that I was not going to get to see everything that I wanted to see I started to get irritable. Ugh. This tends to happen about day 8-10 of my trips so I have lasted equally as long on this one. Tomorrow we are heading to the country though so that Lynette can walk through Watership Down. I think that will be a nice change of pace and it will be good to see rural England a bit, as we have mostly just seen the city of London so far, besides what whizzes by on the train!

Sarah spent the night last night after the play so we all had breakfast in the breakfast room. It was very nice, but we got there late, so we didn’t have a lot of selection. We followed Sarah to Victoria station and we headed to the Original Bus tour ticket location. Sarah was off to Kim’s wedding shower, whereas I (a not so good friend) was continuing my trip through London. I am very excited for Kim’s wedding, but because I am travelling with Lynette (and also because I am cheap) wanted to make the most of the adventure and squeeze as much as I can into the trip!
We chose to take the original bus tour which among other things does a two hour tour of the city. Our tour guide was very attractive and the over the top, extremely cheesy jokes made me smile so much. Lynette and I were sitting directly in front of him so he kept looking at us. We made a “woo hoo” noise when he mentioned Wales and he started talking with us about why were excited about it. He eventually realized he was still on mike and then apologized to the whole bus and got back to commentating. It was really cute! I took a total stalker picture of him while he was singing Handel’s Messiah which is the sound that Big Ben makes before chiming. I definitely wanted to take him home in my bag with me. :O

We mostly accomplished a full circle before we hopped off at Buckingham Palace/Westminster Abby to REALLY see the sights of London. I actually really loved Big Ben. I was thinking it wouldn’t be that impressive, but it really is. Westminster Abbey was stunning and not as busy as I thought it would be post Royal Wedding. The architecture is beautiful and I was awed by all the author’s graves in Poet’s corner. There were several of the author’s on my list that I have recently read including, Henry James, Charles Dickens, and George Eliot. A few of the other impressive ones include C. S Lewis and Robert Browning. One of the memorial plaques on the wall had a quote that said, “Do Great things for the Lord”, and I really liked that. I was in awe almost the entire time I was in the Abbey. I was shocked though by people’s need to be buried in the church. Most people of ancient times I think lived with a real respect for the afterlife and wanted to make sure that they go to heaven. Sadly you couldn't take pictures inside but I did catch a few outside the building on the way in.

After we were done in the Abbey which took a surprising amount of time we took a tour bus back to London Tower. Unfortunately we left it way to late and by the time we arrived back at the London Tower there was not enough time to view the exhibit, so we had to settle for taking pictures of the outside of it, which is still impressive. We took a river cruise back to Westminster/ the London Eye. We were privileged enough to watch the Tower bridge opening to let a tall ship past through. These cheesy tourist guides were also awesome and pretended to have it done just for us, but I knew better. This tour guide sounded just like Hatter off of Syfy’s Alice so I was greatly amused. The only dude of a tour guide we had was on our way to the London tour. He listed the sites, but without any of the funny jokes. LAME!

Lastly we tried to go to the Slug and the Lettuce but it was jam packed so we ended up just catching the tube back to our hotel and eating at a Scotch steak place by our hotel. It was alright, nothing to write home about and nothing like the great pubs we have been eating at so far. I am really hoping to go to one of the REALLY old pubs that are in London, but I fear that may be one thing on my list that I won’t get to do. There is always something that you have to cut out. I was just sad that it had to be recommended food place. I love sampling the local food. After our crappy meal (actual it was alright I ate chicken cordon bleu) I was still hungry having completely skipped lunch so we got some pastry from Mimo’s cafĂ© across the street. We drank coffee for a while in the cool lounge downstairs with the blue leather couches. Now we are reclining in the room trying to catch up on notes and also photo posting.

Fun fact from the tour bus: the majority of “London” is actually Westminster, but the small old city still remains. I was so excited to drive through it and see where Dicken’s used to hang out. I took a photo of Chancery Lane as we passed it which was in Bleak House. The tour guide talked a lot about the London Fire and the Black plague which was really interesting….although quite creepy and a little sad.

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