Day 3 – Went to the Lord Mayor’s Show parade in the AM. It was a good parade. Daughter took lots of pictures of horses and soldiers. I’m thinking the Lord Mayor was the one with all the gold on standing out of the window of his carriage, but I’m not really sure. For anyone who wants to know about the weather in London in Nov, it was grey and cloudy when we got to the parade, then poured rain, then was sunny, then poured rain again, then was sunny, then was cloudy, then was drizzling, all in the 1-2 hours we were there. It also started earlier than the timeline on the website. It was supposed to start at 11:05 or so, but the first band went past at maybe 10:30. This was outside the Bank underground station. After that we took the DLR to Greenwich to go to the market. Daughter wanted to eat at McDonalds, so we did. After that we looked around the market for awhile and bought some gifts to take home but then her stomach started to feel upset (after McDonalds? Go figure.) so we went back to the hotel to rest. That evening we started out to go to the fireworks, but just as we were coming out of the station, they announced they were cancelled due to high winds. We turned right around and went back into the station since all the other people waiting did not seem to know they were cancelled yet, and I didn’t want to be getting on the tube when all of them were also trying to get on. We ate dinner at Giraffe and then went up (down?) to Carnaby Street, Regent Street, and Oxford Street to see the Christmas lights, which were nice, but daughter was underwhelmed. After that we went to the Tower to wait for the Ceremony of the Keys. We walked across Tower Bridge and along the Thames to London Bridge, across London Bridge, and back up the Thames to the Tower. That left us with about 20 minutes to wait for the Ceremony. It is pretty cool to be in the Tower at night, although there was a huge group of people from some club inside the Tower who were there who at least doubled the number of people “from the public” who came. We didn’t do the Twilight Tour, but I would think it would be interesting, as the Tower seems quite different at night. Daughter didn’t say much about the ceremony, but we have been marching in step like soldiers ever since, so I guess it made some sort of impression.
Day 4 – Did the first part of a self guided walking tour from the book “Walking the London Blitz” by Clive Harris. It starts by Hyde Park and then goes to Grosvenor Square. Eventually it ends up at Westminster, but we still weren’t there after walking for a couple of hours so we detoured to the nearest underground station and went to Westminster to do daughter’s Spanish homework. She has to give a weather report from a world city in Spanish, so we did it on the south side of Westminster Bridge with Big Ben in the background. We were there for a good 1.5 hours as she said it had to be perfect. While there some guy came up and asked for money for the bus because he supposedly had left his wallet at home. I said no several times, but he was very persistent. Fortunately around then a nice police officer arrived and offered to help him at which point he quickly walked away into the crowd with her following him. When she finally got through the weather report, we walked down the north side of the Thames and saw the Battle of Britain memorial and the RAF memorial. Then we came back to the hotel so daughter could do homework to make up for missing school to come on this trip.
Day 5 – This morning we went to the Museum of London which daughter liked. She did 3 different kid’s trails there. We went to the London Burning exhibit, but there were a bunch of kids on a school trip there, which made it harder to look at. There was a school trip when were at the Imperial War Museum too. Daughter wants to know why her school never goes anywhere cool like that. I told her the school bus can’t drive across the Atlantic. I don’t think she was impressed. We had lunch at Pizza Express which is in a bridge over the road (London Wall?) right by the Museum of London. Kind of a fun place to eat, but it was all full of people in business suits who probably don’t appreciate the fun-ness. We walked over to St Paul’s cathedral and climbed to the top. There’s a great view from the top, but a lot of stairs. Daughter liked the arrow slits on the staircase where she could shoot invisible arrows at all the enemy invaders. By the time we got back down, it was about 16:00 so we looked around in the gift shop and then stayed for evensong, which was very nice.
Day 6 – Went back to Westminster because daughter watched her video the night before and didn’t think it was perfect enough, spent about another hour videoing the weather report for London which is outdated now any way because she had to hand in the rough draft for corrections before we left home. I don’t speak Spanish, though, so about all I got out of it was the dates. After that we did a self guided Harry Potter tour I found online at www.the-magician.co.uk which was interesting, although there was a lot of non Harry Potter stuff on it. It goes down some nice little back lanes, alleys, and passageways. It also goes down Cecil Court, which we had been planning to go to anyway (was supposed to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter). Daughter liked the shops but the staff seemed nervous about her looking at things. Of course since they were selling things like supposedly signed first editions of Harry Potter books for 600GBP, I can see why they’d be anxious. They had other much older books too. It also goes through many of the streets the Death Eaters fly through at the beginning of the latest HP movie. We skipped the middle and went over the Millennium Bridge which the Death Eaters rip apart in the movie. Fortunately, it stayed intact while we were crossing it. It then went past the Globe Theatre, the Old Ferryman’s Seat, the site of the original Globe theatre, Southwark Cathedral, and the Golden Hinde. By then we were getting tired and it was getting dark, so we just stopped at London Bridge station and came back to the hotel to eat and get ready to go to the theatre. We saw War Horse, which we both thought was excellent. Leave some extra time if going to the New London Theatre, though. I bought the tickets on www.tickemaster.co.uk, and they had trouble finding them, we had to wait in two lines after which they found our tickets at the first window we went to. The people in front of us had the same problem. We had great seats, seats 3 and 4 in row B which was 4 rows back from the stage.
Day 7 – Not so good a day today. We were going to go to Dover, but it’s closed on Tues and Wed in the winter, but it turned out we were better off staying in London. We went to the Tower of London (we went on our last trip but daughter wanted to go again). On the way there, we walked past some smoking people, and daughter said the smoke gave her a headache. Sometimes eating something sugary will help when she has a headache, so we bought some candy and some water at the shop there, but she just kept feeling worse and wanted to go home. We got as far as South Kensington station to change from the Circle to the Picadilly line, and at the bottom of the escalator she threw up all over the floor. Most people ignored her, some gave her dirty looks, like she did it on purpose (not that there are any trash cans in the stations she could have run for), but one man stopped to ask if she was ok and gave her some tissues to wipe her mouth with. Another guy said he would tell someone at the top of the escalator, but no one came, so I pushed the “Information” button on the thing on the wall (I was afraid to push the one that said emergency since I didn’t know what would happen) and someone answered it and came down in a few minutes. There was nothing they could do for her, but I didn’t want to leave the puddle there for people to step in. The rest of that day, she just slept. Fortunately, I had nausea medicine, Tylenol, and ibuprofen at the room, so I gave her that and by evening she was able to eat some plain pasta for dinner.
Daughter is now sleeping again which is why I am here with nothing to do but post this trip report. We'll see what happens tomorrow. (Although she was asking for chocolate bars tonight, so I think her stomach is improving.)