After lunch we used the local wifi to call a taxi, to take us up to the British Museum. The Museum was very busy, though the line to get in wasn’t too bad. Being short, I find crowds tiresome.
Dave could see everything.
But to me it all looks like this.
At this point we had been walking so much for the past week and a half that I was just beat. I just wanted to find a bench to sit down and gaze at something interesting for a bit.
Done! The Eqyptian displays at the museum were really amazing. There was just so many things to look at. And then there was the Assyrian section, and the greek section, and watches and clocks, and it just went on and on and on. So much to see. We sort of raced through it glancing at stuff, but not with enough time to really absorb much, which would have taken a lifetime.
After the museum we bought a ticket for a hop-on bus, and enjoyed the view from the top deck heading back to our part of town, but the bus driver said it was the last stop, and shooed us off in Picadilly to catch a connecting bus back to Victoria Station.
Oh my god, SO MANY PEOPLE!
We waited at the bus stop so long for the next hop-on bus to go to Victoria Station, we were about to give up and go see about taking the underground, but finally one showed up, and we got a bit of a tour around the area until we finally were back home again.
Back at home, I was surfing through the local restaurants looking for something within walking distance, with good Indian food, because everyone said you have to go have Indian when in London. We finally settled on a bistro attached to a hotel not far from us, which seemed to have a good variety on the menu. We walked down there and went in and the lady asked if we had a reservation, and we did not, but she got us seated, and we found ourselves in a weird table with our backs against the wall, side by side, facing other tables, which is an awkward seating arrangement for a night out.
The waiter came over and showily shook out the napkins and laid them across each of our laps, and asked what we wanted to drink. I said water, and he rattled off choices, and I picked one, but I should have said ‘tap water’ I guess, because later we found that carafe of water was extra. They asked if we wanted the tasting menu at £80 a piece, or a la carte. A la carte, please. We were still a bit confused about how this had sounded very different online. The menu wasn’t as we saw online, but I found something to try, and Dave found a lamb shank that sounded good, though both dishes were fairly expensive. They brought appetizers and asked if we wanted rice. Sure. That rice was another $4. And bread was more $$ as well. Then later they brought out some sort of tomato cocktail aperitif, and they didn’t ask if we wanted it, they just gave it to us. Dave’s lamb shank turned out to be quite large, we could have just split that.
We didn’t realize it, but this was all adding up. In the US, things like rice and bread are usually included, and they don’t just bring you things that they charge extra for without asking if you want it, and letting you know it costs extra. At home I don’t expect water to cost extra! By the time we were done, the whole little meal had added up to $120! Probably the most expensive meal we’ve ever had, and there wasn’t even any alcohol involved! And it certainly wasn’t the best meal we’ve ever had, the whole thing felt awkward and weird. We had an annoyed laugh at getting snookered like a couple tourists, and headed home to our hotel for the night. We may have hit Shake Shack for a treat on the way.
Last day in London! Breakfast at Starbucks, then hop on a bus and go to Westminster.
Beautiful Westminster Abbey. We hopped on another water bus and headed back to:
The Tower of London. This time we decided to go check it out. We had already done everything else on our list, and Dave wanted to see the Crown Jewels. We got the tour from a Beefeater, to get a bit of history and context, then went and looked at the line for the Crown Jewels, which went around the block and through the courtyard. Now it was Dave’s turn to get frustrated and lose his cool a bit. It was a VERY long line.
We looked at getting lunch before getting in line, but the food there looked like basic cafeteria fare. We instead went to the ice cream cart in the courtyard. While standing in line, a VERY stiff breeze blew through and launched a stack of ice cream cups into the patron’s faces!
After we had ice cream in hand, the line didn’t seem so bad. It took a while, but there were ravens to entertain us.
The raven was free to go where he pleased, but he mostly hung around this post, cawing and fussing at everyone. The ravens are part of Tower legend, that if the ravens leave, the kingdom will fall. So just to be safe they have a Ravenmaster and keep a small flock on hand.
No pics, but we did finally get to the Crown Jewels, and they were indeed very impressive. Afterwards we went looking for lunch, and walked over to a waterfront area nearby, again with no phone research to lead us, and tried a restraint that sounded good. The French host asked us if we had reservations, and we said no, and he seated us, and we took one look at the fancy cloth napkins, and remembering the previous night, got up and left. Too fancy for us, we’re not falling for that again!
I think we finally just grabbed a sandwich from a coffeeshop, and it was good.
On the way back to our hotel we stopped by for a photo with ‘Little Ben’, since Big Ben was enshrouded in scaffolding.
For dinner we took the easy route and hit a little hamburger joint down the block and took it back to our room, and ate while watching our new favorite British show – Bullseye. Because competitive darts/trivia is just so British.
The next morning we got up before dawn and headed down to catch the tube to Heathrow.
We had no problems in customs, and grabbed some breakfast in the concourse, bought a few souvenirs, and turned in our British money for US dollars. It was baarely light when we got a glimpse of our plane.
We had a really nice stewardess who was from Louisiana, but now lives in Scotland, giving her a Southern/Scottish accent. We had the seats at the front of our section, so we had tons of legroom, and the stewardess’s seat was there for takeoffs and landings, so we got to chat with her quite a bit. It was nice having the room to stretch out or stand up a bit. We watched a couple more episodes of The Crown and relaxed.
I got a peek at Iceland before the sun came up and the windows darkened. It was all just clouds after that anyway, all the way to Seattle. We had a layover in Seattle that was long enough we could have just driven home, but at least we had wifi for entertainment. Eventually it was time to fly home, and we had great views of Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens, and Mt Adams, Lake Merwin, and finally Vancouver Lake. It’s so cool to see all the local landmarks from the air! And then we were home. Sherry gave us a ride form the airport, and the pups were waiting for us at the house. Our first overseas trip was completed.
The whole trip:
England – Stratford on Avon and Warwick Castle