Friday, April 3, 2015

A big day in London

We jumped on a double decker bus this morning and went to visit some of our London bucket list addresses. It’s pretty funny how much pleasure we get out of new forms of transport and the double decker was no exception. I think Taine would have been happy to sit in the bus all day so long as he could have the front seat on the top deck!

We went to visit the Queen Elizabeth today but she wasn't home. Her guards put on a good show though, as they changed places and marched through Buckingham Gate. The Prime Minister wasn't home either but we did talk to a lovely policewoman at 10 Downing St. She said David Cameron is probably out sussing alternative lodging in case the upcoming election doesn't go well for him.

There were thousands of people on Westminster Bridge so it was hard to get a good view of the houses of parliament and Westminster Abbey. We'll check back there another day. 

We thought the Eye would be too busy today but remarkably, after paying the extra for the fast track pass, we were in a gondola, high in the sky above London before we knew it. It was also very considerate of the clouds to ease up long enough for us to complete our rotation. The view of London from the Eye is similar to the view of Paris from the tip of the Eiffel Tower but not as pretty (mind you, London definitely makes up for this at ground level). It is fun to 'spotto' all the famous landmarks though and the bird's eye view helps to orient you to the city.

Exploring the area around Jubilee Park we stumbled upon a delicious food market at Southbank. The free samples were enough to stave off the lunchtime hunger pangs and we bought some amazing cookies and custard tarts ‘for ron’ and chips cooked in duck fat to nibble on while we walked to the bus stop and the Shakespeare Globe Theatre.

For a couple of Drama teachers this was the ultimate in travel tours. The guide was great and we not only enjoyed the opportunity to be in the theatre out of season (because it’s open air the season only runs April to October) but we also learnt a few things about Shakespearean theatre. The exhibition running at the moment was also excellent, with great insights into behind the scenes of the early plays.

From there we walked over yet another bridge (to be honest I was getting a bit foot sore and over the whole walking thing by then and despite Siri saying it wouldn’t rain so we hadn’t taken the umbrella, it was raining so this part of the day is a bit blurry).

Anyway, we ended up at St Paul’s Cathedral just as the Good Friday Liturgy was beginning. The cathedral is every bit as lovely as you imagine. It also has a tube station nearby, for which I was very grateful.

No evening activities tonight, except for a relatively satisfying salmon dinner at the nearby Irish pub.

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