Friday, May 28, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010…….London Sights
The jet-lagged Wendel’s started out day two in London at 7am only because room service delivered coffee as requested. It was 2:00 AM Houston time but undaunted, we did our best to wake up, start planning our day and were soon out the door. We walked three blocks to the Eat.com counter style breakfast place for more coffee and Egg McMuffins “a la Her Majesty”.
From there we headed down the street to the Marble Arch Underground and purchased an all-day pass. We checked all the maps and figured out how to get to Buckingham Palace. While we were waiting for the train, we met Peter, an Underground Security type who immediately asked me if I was from Texas. Still can’t figure out how the Texan in me showed so much! I promise I wasn’t wearing a cowboy hat and boots!
Peter’s job is to keep people from getting too close to the trains as they whoosh into the station. But for Texans, he breaks out in song! We were serenaded with “On the Road Again” and it was our job to guess who the singer was! I got it right with “Willie Nelson”. He sang several lines from different songs and the singers we guessed (correctly) included Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra and Louie Armstrong! He was kind enough to have his photo taken with me and then our train arrived, we waved goodbye and headed for the Queen’s palace.
To get there we got off the train at Green Park. We walked through this beautiful place with nary a bird in sight! We did however see a really fun elephant statue exhibit. As a matter of fact these elephants are all over the place as part of a fund raiser for the preservation of the species. Each of the elephants is colorfully painted and decorated. They reminded me of a similar display of painted cows all over Chicago.
Anyhow, we made our way toward the Guards Museum and on over to Buckingham Palace. The Queen was busy but we did find the Mounted Guards on parade getting ready for the official ceremony at 11:30. We staked out a good photo spot and waited until official events began.
I did get some great photos of the Changing of the Guards as they marched into Buckingham Palace and later as they came out of the Palace. The photo here is one I took later at the Horse Guards near 10 Downing Street. When we get home I’ll post all the pics on Smug.Mug and let you know.
After all this we walked up to Parliament Square and on to Westminster Abbey. We got the senior rate tickets and did a self-guided tour of Westminster Abbey. I took a couple of unauthorized photos which didn’t come out very good. But it’s an impressive place with lots of famous folks buried there.
We then walked up to Trafalgar Square and found a recommended eating place, Prêt a Mange, which means “ready to eat” in French. We had a salad and pizza wrap. After lunch we got back on the Underground and made our way to the Tower of London. I got some great photos of the Tower Bridge but we decided not go into Tower of London itself. Both of us have been there before so we saved a little cash, like $60 US!! This place, if we haven’t mentioned it yet, is kind of expensive!
Our Princess bus leaves from Victoria Coach Station tomorrow morning. We wanted to be sure where we needed to be so we decided to check that out next. We thought we were leaving from Victoria Station only to learn after several inquiries that we need to make our way to Victoria Coach station, not Victoria Train/Underground Station. Glad we did that little trial run!
By now it was late-afternoon, seven hours of sightseeing, subway trains, stairs, escalators, and tons of people and traffic jams. We were both tired so we made our way back to the hotel and watched the Chicago White Sox play Tampa Bay Rays on British TV. Go figure! Fish and chips again tonight, then tomorrow its farewell London, hello Princess and the Iberian coast! Meanwhile, the Cubs and the Cardinals are on TV and it looks like a beautiful day for baseball there!
Finally for all our TLC class members, we are joining with you in prayer for Dr. Young’s complete and swift recovery.