Possibly their will be some photos of our London experience. I started and then I messed something up and didn't save what I had started so I got frustrated.
You'll probably all remember me saying how I was going to be in shorts. I wore pants on the plane and by the time I hit the scorching airport in London I was ready to rip those babies off. I've never taken so many showers in my life just simply to cool down.
The customs officers were very nice and the line was moving smoothly but there was a fellow with a loud mouth from a country below Canada and above Mexico who was discussing his displeasure in a way that made others feel uncomfortable. He complained through the whole queue.
HEX ~> For the convenience factor alone I would recommend this mode of transportation. Mind the gap was more like mind the gapping hole as you get off of HEX. So in North American terminolgy, "watch your step," or you will find yourself mercilessly pinned between a train and the station platform and it wouldn't do much to help your face if the train started to move again.
I actually really like the Paddington area. I thought it was busy with an interesting compliment of enthnicity. There are plenty of tiny restaurants and what we call convenience stores so you can pick up your fix of sugar to take to your room before retiring.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the tall trees in this section of London. Love it! As well as those cool Maples that lose their bark. I believe I saw some majestic looking Elms a block away.
Appreciate the advice about the Barclay bank not charging Scotiabank customers. Tis true and really helpful.
When London turns into a sauna the tube is like being forced into a sardine can and thrown into a pot of boiling water. Not to worry. Onward's happy tip of the day is. "Don't sit down, but find your way to the back of the train where once the train moves the gust of air from the tunnel will shoot through the open window of the door and you will be the first to benefit.
No complaint about our hotel, staff were friendly and it was budget as we expected. AussieJohn you are so right about the toilets on the stair landings. I think they may possibly be smaller than an airplane loo.
After a short settling in we set out by foot. We weren't aware that there was a Barclay bank right around the corner and a convenience store fellow sent us in the direction of a Pub's ATM which did not provide us with needed cash.
Nevertheless we walked around Paddington and through Hyde Park. [I think the grass was still green at that time]. By the time we reached the other side at the corner near Albert's Memorial a nice gentleman stopped and asked us if we were lost. I guess we just had that look on our face. I think my wife was more stunned than we were. She said, "We're Canadian." We ribbed her about that comment, No we're not lost, we're Canadian. Anyway this fellow sent us on a nice foot journey through some side areas in Brompton and ending up at the Barclays near Harrods.
Ok, Brompton is super nice. My daughter wants to move there!
After collecting our needed funds we hopped into Harrods just to look around and cool down. Nice place.
Walked over passed the Royal Mews which were closed by this point and then around to Buckingham the Palace. I would have loved to strip down and swam in that water beneath Victorias monument. Let me tell you people, it was hot. The water shooting from that guys mouth in the fountain was looking pretty appetizing.
After a short time watching other tourists do the tourist thing we walked over to St. James Park. One of my favourite places. Does anyone know what those birds are with the weird feet? They almost look like a Kiwi [not the one you eat.]
As I'm writing I can't believe we're doing this after a 9 hour flight. We must have been out of our mind.
Walked over to St. James Palace. Lot's of interesting buildings back in that area. Then on to Canada House and Trafalgar Square. As we approached the Square we saw a big red balloon and we saw that there was some Canada day celebrations going on and people were getting into the music of eastern Canada at the time. Trafalgar was packed out. Like that was a totally cool welcome to London if I ever saw it.
We passed by Her Majesty's Theatre and into Piccadilly Circus. It was at the Picadilly Circus Tube station that we purchased single fares back to Paddington and day passes for subsequent travel.
Note to fellow travellers.
If you're unfamiliar with the Tube allow the ticket agents to help you choose the best suitable tickets to accommodate your travel needs.
We slept with the window wide open all night long. It wasn't noisy at all and there isn't any bugs.
The next day!
The first thing we did was to go to Madame Tussauds. [Mr. C. my kids loved it and we thought it was cool too.] The little ride at the end was neat if you're not familiar with the history of London. It was well done.
After this we headed to the Southbank and took in the History of Gardening museum. [Dearest Anemone, the plant that looked like a lamb was freaky.] There was a transient that came into the museum while we were in and giving the workers a hard time. When we exited apparently he was making his home in the small graveyard. He yelled out at us calling us "F - ing republicans." It was actually quite funny.
We hopped on a bus and went down a ways and then walked the rest of the way along the Thames crossing the Westminster Bridge. We reached the towering ediface in which Big Ben is housed at precisely noon and it was so majorly cool to hear all 12 rings. We got a short video of that experience.
This was July 1st and we were delighted to see the Maple Leaf flying over Westminster Abbey. Did we stand on guard for thee at that moment? No, but our hearts were tickled to see our flag displayed in such a glorious manner.
I can't quite remember what we were doing next but we were walking along Regent St. and then somehow ended up at "The Albert." This is where we had a carvery that everyone loves so much. This is also where we learned the difference between still, tap and gas water. See to us still water is water sitting somewhere that insects are laying their eggs in. The carvery was actually far too much food.
After this we went back to the hotel rested a bit and then got ready to go to see the Phantom. Piccadilly was one busy place that night. This was the night that England lost their World Cup opportunity. We sat in the front row at the Phantom and literally looking up the nostrils of the performers. It was such an awesome experience. My wife and I had seen it but we didn't tell our kids [who are 20 and 16] what the chandelier would do and it was priceless to see their faces as it rose above our heads right in front of us. When the theatre let out it was crazy nuts in Piccadilly. We finally made our way to the Tube station and back to our hotel.
The next day!
We wanted to head in the direction of the Tower of London. We were getting a bit confused by the shutting down of some lines. Then we got confused between the Circle and Direct Lines [always read front of train!]
Londoneratheart your direction to that shop to purchase our tickets was superb. Thanks again for that helpful advice it saved us precious time, plus we picked up some cold water.
There was a mini changing of the guard outside the crown jewels where all the tourists were getting excited so we used that opportunity to beat them all in to see the jewels. One of those things you see once. The history of the Tower and the views from it are quite something.
We crossed that big bridge outside the Tower and on the other side went down to the river side to pick stones. It's really quite an enjoyable experience. I heard a news item claim that the Thames is the cleanest metropolitan water ways. Is this true?
We then walked the short distance to HMS Belfast which is in my opinion well worth visiting and a very well done museum. Something that people just do not see everyday.
Walked past the London Dungeon and took the London Bridge Tube back Paddington.
Once back at Paddington we decided to eat at Garfunkles. It's OK, sort of an Americanized eatery.
All the time we were at Tower of London we didn't really know what these green signs were with a man and arrow and a rectangle. We were saying it meant a man running to a box. It was at Garfunkles that I looked up above the door and realized that it means Exit. Here our signs say Exit / Sortie.
After dinner we hopped on the # 15 bus to see some other sights. It was interesting for the most part but extremely hot sitting at the front of the double decker on the top level. It was likeing being in a greenhouse and there was absolutely no air at all. We weren't aware that the route would deliver us somewhere and the driver would announce "end of line." We were shocked and we thought Satan had certainly delivered us over for punishment. We thought it would just circle around and go back. We were in the Docklands bus loop kind of thing. No clue where we were we asked the driver and he said to go over to the other side of the loop and we would be picked up there. Thankfully we made it back to our place safe and sound. We did ride past some neat places like St. Pauls though.
The next morning we would be off to Eurostar. See future report.