After our dinner we went to hop back on the water bus. This morning the bus we had taken took us from Westminster to the tower of London, where it turned around and headed back to Westminster. So I got the bright idea that we could hop on at the Globe, and ride it to the Tower, and then back to Westminster, initially going in the opposite direction. But this boat kept going East. So I figured, that’s cool, we get to see more of the Thames than before, and kick back and enjoy the ride. But it kept going, and soon it was dark, and we were surrounded by people who were clearly commuters, popping open beers and settling in for a long ride. We were getting a bit nervous about how long this ride was, when Dave went and asked one of the stewards how far the boat went, and he said Woolwich, which it turns out is quite a long ways!
So we got off at the next stop, which was Greenwich. By then it was raining, and dark, but we had a quick walk around town.
Of course everything was closed as far as visiting the observatory or anything, but we did get a peek at the Cutty Sark from the outside, which was pretty cool.
We had a front row seat on the boat coming back because there were no commuters heading INTO town. Great view! We also quite enjoyed watching the men rope the boat to each dock it stopped at, tossing the docklines skillfully over the mooring posts, quickly and smoothly each stop, then giving it a quick toss to unmoor and the boat would be off for the next stop in seconds.
We got back to Westminster, and had a good look at Big Ben. It is not all I hoped it would be. It is under restoration for the next three years.
We headed for the underground and stopped to listen to this guy playing beautiful violin music in the tunnel. When I posted it to FB a friend said he had seen the SAME GUY playing in a tunnel in London years before!
The next day, we decided to head out to see Winston Churchill’s War Rooms, and drop by the Queen’s Gallery and Royal Mews along the way. When we got to Buckingham Palace we heard a band playing, and noticed mounted police gathering, so we stopped to watch.
Then we heard the band playing ‘September’, which was a surprising choice for a marching band, and when they finished they marched on out, and continued on towards the palace. There were a LOT of people gathering there, so we headed over to the Gallery and the Mews.
The Gallery had a collection of items from India, which was all very interesting. The Mews is where the Royal horse and carriages are kept.
We saw a groom walking this horse around the parking area, and he was getting a bit feisty about all the leaves blowing around.
It was cool to come to one of the biggest cities we’ve ever visited, and see horses!
Inside the museum, along with other carriages and cars the Queen uses, was this display of a carriage used in coronations – The Gold State Coach, built in 1760. It was neat they had it set up with horse mannequins to display the ornate tack the horses wear while pulling it.
By the time we got done with the Mews the crowds outside had thinned out a bit, and we headed down to the War Rooms. Unfortunately the crowd had apparently gone there, because the line was VERY long. We re-evaluated how badly we wanted some WWII history, and decided to pass for now.
We continued walking, and eventually came to Trafalger Square. Neat architecture here as well. Everywhere in London is a mix of old and new.
Dave was excited to see this pub since he’d just finished playing Sherlock! We passed on it, as it was just another chain pub.
When we couldn’t walk any further we stopped for lunch at a little cafe across from this theater where Iam Mckellen was doing a show. Pretty cool. The little cafe was nice, with an open window looking out on the street, and we were sitting at the window, enjoying watching the people go by. When I ordered Fish & Chips, the guy wrote it on his order pad and said ‘fish & chips & beer’ and we were like ‘wait, what’, and he says ‘it comes with beer’, and we said ‘we don’t want beer’, which puzzled him ‘no beer?’ ‘No, no beer’ and ordered a Sprite, which is when I think we found out that in the UK Sprite = Diet Sprite. If you order ‘lemonade’ you get something like 7Up. Cultural differences, I guess!
Next up: The British Museum, and surprisingly expensive Indian food.
The whole trip:
England – Stratford on Avon and Warwick Castle