Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crowds, Crowds, Crowds.

(Sunday, March 27, 2011)

No sooner did I get on the Underground than I remembered there was some big game with Scotland today.

Football I think. By Fooball, I mean Soccer.

How was I reminded of this?

The Underground was full of drunk, kilt wearing, singing Scotsmen. Drunk. 10:30am.

It was interesting.

Today was a 'finish the stuff I haven't done yet' day.

First up, Harrison House.

Harrison House.

This is the B&B that my Mom stayed in when she was in Europe in 1972. I stopped by to see if it still had the same owners. There are new owners now who are very nice, but do not know the people that used to own it. The new owner does make a good cup of tea though.

Check out the crowd!

Once I was finished at Harrison House I decided that I needed something to eat in the near future. So back over to Soho... I like Soho, it's where I bought my purse, bracelet and pink bag.When I got there and went for a wander I was shocked by the crowds! Every street was packed. So I took this one picture, there were so many people that I didn't take the camera out much, there was just no room to take pictures.

I did take these though...

That paint running down the window is not part of the display.

How ridiculous.

This is just a wee bit of the damage done yesterday.


A bit later in the afternoon I found this place. They make these...

Mmmm...

I had the Strawberry one in the middle.

The crowds had worn me out, so back to the hotel.

Rest Day... Ahhhh!...

(Saturday, March 26, 2011)  

After all the walking of the last few days and not taking a rest day since I got to the Hostel I have decided that today would be my rest day.

As I was checking out of the Hostel, they let me know that there was a rally going on through Central London and they were expecting 500,000 people to march. I checked the map and found that the protest would not interrupt my route to the Underground. I just hoped that the Underground would not be insanely busy, and off I went.

We all know what happened at that rally. Unfortunately a minority decided it would be a good place to riot and cause all sorts of trouble.

Fortunately I made it to my Hotel and was safely watching it on TV as it happened. I think the most exciting part of the day was my long hot shower and my nap. It was just what I needed.

Off to bed and then I will be all ready to go tomorrow.

They change what?!

(Friday, March 25, 2011)

Today was a 'git er done' day. I am down to the last items on the list that I want to do, so I started at the top, and off I went.

First thing, Changing of the Guards. Since this is only done every other day right now, I had to plan out when I was doing this. Today was the day. When I went on my Bus Tour the other day I learned that they offered a free walking tour for the Changing of the Guard. So this morning I was at the meeting point at 10:30 and off we went. We went to The Horse Guards Parade first, then St. James Palace.

Beginning of the Changing of the Guard at St. James Palace.

Next up was Wellington Barracks then Buckingham Palace.

The crowds at Buckingham Palace, there was no way to get close...

Finally back to St. James Palace. We actually saw the change at St. James Palace, there was no one there, but there were thousands of people at Buckingham Palace so there was no way to get close, we were there for a chance to take pictures of the Palace before the change, and then saw the change around the corner. It was neat to see, and it was nice that our guide knew that we could see the change at St. James Palace. Our group were the only ones there!

He is waiting for the change. Soon buddy, soon...

We also had a chance to meet the Police officers that accompanied the Soldiers on Parade and stopped traffic for them. They were mounted Police. I stayed far enough back that the horses couldn't get me.

Look how close I am to that horse! I didn't even use the zoom on the camera!

Next item on the list, lunch. Since the Hard Rock Cafe was around the corner, I figured I would give it another shot. The first time I went I was underwhelmed. It was nothing bad, but also nothing great. A second chance is always a good idea in these situations, and I was really, really, hungry. I had the same impression again today. It seems like the White Spot to me. When it started it was great, now it's just a corporation. So, I can now say I have been to the Very First, Original, Hard Rock Cafe. And I can cross it off the list. Permanently.

After lunch I hopped on the Underground and off I went to Shakespear's Globe Theatre.

The stage at the Globe.

 Cool. Really cool. They are in rehersal right now and shows don't stary until April. I wish I could have seen a show. It's something that will go on the 'When in London' list. It's a round building that is open air, so the centre of the roof is 'missing'. Plays are performed in the day as there is no artificial light in the building. They do things as 'authentically' as they can, so no microphones, lights, very few props and sets. Very cool. It has the first thatched roof in London since the Great Fire of 1666.

By the time I was done at the Globe it was time to head back to the Hostel. It has been a long week and I need to do some laundry and get ready to move to the Hotel tomorrow.

On the way to the Hostel I saw this sign...

I like this.

Something happened last night to the hot water here, so there was no hot water last night or this morning for showers. Tonight the water was just tepid. The problem is apparently fixed and the 'Olympic sized' hot water tank has to heat up. Not in time for a shower before laundry, but I will be at the hotel tomorrow, so I can handle it.

I think that once I am settled in the Hotel, tomorrow will be a rest day.

Now I am off to fold my laundry and go for some Thai food. I found a place called Thai Metro a couple blocks away and this will be my third time there. It's really, really, good.

After dinner it will be bedtime.

Oh, and that was wishful thinking...

Once I was back from dinner and in my jammies folding laundry the fire alarm went off in the Hostel. So I slipped my flip flops on, grabbed my jacket and purse and got out of there. The three of us in my room were the only ones who left the building. Brutal. A few minutes later we were told it was safe to go back in.

So, finally, off to bed we went.

A Day of Famous Faces

(Thursday, March 24, 2011)

My feet are really sore, so I decided that there would be no rushing to do anything today.

Surprisingly, I got a lot done!

I got up, had a good breakfast, and then headed out.

First up, Madame Tussaud's. It was neat to walk through and see all the famous faces.



Some good guys...



Some bad guys...


This is a much younger, but no less crazy, Gadaffi.

And this guy, who is BAD, but in his own way...


They also had a Marvel Superheroes 4D Movie, which was pretty good! I was underwhelmed by the one I saw at The Beatles Experience, but this one sort of restored my opinion of 4D. What little opinion I had...

Next up, something to eat. I was surprisingly starving by the time I left. Fortunately there was a cart selling veggie burgers right outside. Once I was done, I headed off to the Tower Bridge.


I was very thankful that they had elevators.

I got to walk across the upper spans and go through the original engine room. The view from the upper spans was pretty cool!



The bridge was originally powered with steam engines. It was really neat to see.



Then I needed a drink. I wandered around and found an old friend...


I sat on the patio for a little while enjoying the view.


Next, the Loo. I wouldn't normally share bathroom stories... in one of the places lived in, I had the smallest bathroom, or so I thought... this is the smallest sink I have ever seen!

My hand is there to give you an idea of the size of this sink...

We headed off toward the Underground, today was sunny and warm, so the walk through the park was great.

This guy was out for a walk in the park too!

I decided to walk down Oxford Street, and stop at Mildred's on my way back to the Hostel. I ended up wandering down about half of Oxford Street, and then went to Carnaby Street, which is a pedestrian shopping area about a block away.

I like Carnaby Street.

I stopped in at Ollie & Nic for this cute purse.

It's grey with black trim.

I fell in love with the diagonal zipper once I opened the snap.

And check out the adorable liner.

I also went to Joy Everley Fine Jewellery and Eastpak for these...

Yes, it's another bracelet. Silver, hand woven.

This cute little duffle will be my carry on.

Then I was done. Back to the Hostel to take my shoes off and put my feet up.

London Pass, Day Two.

(Wednesday March 23, 2011)

Today is the last day of my London Pass.

First up, the ZSL London Zoo. I like the zoo. They have all sorts of creatures, here's a few...

Diana Monkey.

Asiatic Lion.

Ruppell's Griffon Vultures - Vultures fly the highest of any bird.

Pygmy Hippopotamus - This one is a cutie patootie!

Galapagos Giant Tortoise - Enjoying a leisurly lunch.

Australian Hunting Dogs, or, Australian Painted Dogs - Not lap dogs.

Warthog - It's Pumba!!

Zebras - Chilling after lunch.

Giraffe - I am jealous.

Bactrian Camel - Do you think this one might be named Alice?

Sumatran Tigers - Sleeping. What all cats do best.

Okapi - Adorable!

Check out these noisy guys...

video

I spent a few hours wandering, I could have spent all day.

Next it was time for something that didn't involve walking. The Original Tour. I like these tours, they give you the lay of the land and a really good idea of how to get from A to B, and what attractions are close to each other, or not. They also provide an entertaining commentary during the ride. Since it was sunny and warm I decided to sit up top on the bus, for the fresh air and some good pictures. And a sunburn.

Westminster Abbey

Trafalgar Square - pre riot...

The pock marks on this church are shrapnel marks left from WWII.

The Monument to the Great Fire of London 1666.

Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast.

This is the new City Hall in the City of London, it has been nicknamed 'The Onion'.

They also have this building, nicknamed 'The Cucumber', or 'The Gerkin'.

Wellington Arch in Hyde Park, at night.

Big Ben!

On the Tour they pointed out the original Hard Rock Cafe. So I stopped in for dinner. It was neat to get to see the memoribelia that started the restaraunt chain.


By the time I was done dinner, I was done. Bedtime.