Tuesday, October 24, 2023

A perfect tourist day in London

Tuesday, October 24
Relaxed morning at hotel, took advantage of the included breakfast - toast, cold cuts, yogurt, granola. Short walk to go on hop off bus stop and on our way to national gallery. Love the tid bits you learn from the recorded commentary on the bus. They talked so much about Hamlin's toy store that we decided to hop off. Took photo with bear mascot, Hamlin?

Next door was Levi's, I could really use a good pair of jeans. Such service! I did try on a few, but did I underestimate my waist size! 🤪 Almost bought a pair, but to pay 100 pounds for a pair of jeans, they had to be perfect, so no.

To late for the gallery now, because we had reservations for the London Eye at 2:30, so we hoped back on bus and crossed the river, getting off at London Eye stop. Now we're hungry but don't have time for a pub. Found a hot dog stand, then started to the line for the Eye. Discovered that the VIP, champagne experience that Jim booked had a completely different gathering spot, inside at a lounge, wow. 

Juan was our guide. He gathered up the champagne cart and 2 other couples and led us straight to our private "pod" on the Eye. It's like a ferris wheel but it's purpose is to see the view, not to take a ride. And what a view it was! Jim had arranged for the perfect, Crystal clear, sunny day. He tried to go live on YouTube while we were there, but it dropped off after an minute or so. It was just as well because we wanted to enjoy the experience. The two other couples spoke English and we enjoyed them. One even had a question on their phone that I could answer! Why doesn't my screen rotate? It has been "broken" for months and no one could fix it - till me!

The Eye was definitely a high point of our visit to to London, then we got on the the boat for a ride up the Thames. Did I mention what a gorgeous day it was? And the congratulations was brilliant. Had you ever heard of London's bureau of records where they keep documentation of births, marriages, and deaths? Otherwise known as "hatch em, match em, and dispatch em." 😂

We disembark at the tower of London, the infamous place of many beheadings, and even a zoo at one time. We didn't have a particularly strong desire to visit it, but we had developed a particularly strong thirst by now so we set off in search of a pub. It didn't take long to find the Hung, Drawn, and Quartered. I just love the ambiance in these traditional, dark wood, carpeted bars. They may have some background music, but generally it is quiet, even with lots of people, the acoustics soak it up and you can actually converse in normal tones. We struck up a conversation with the 4 women next to us. They were teachers from Georgia who had been traveling various places together for many years. The menu was the same as the Red Lion from the other day except, instead of the Red Lion Stout, they had the Hung, Drawn, and Quartered Stout! Good stuff. They also had the small plates. 

It was dark when we finished so the HOHO bus was not running. Jim got out his trusty Google maps in public transit mode and found the underground station nearest us, figured out the correct line and directions to get us 'home.' It's so cool that all you need is your phone - if you have Google pay, or Apple pay you just "tap in - tap out" to pay.
Then it was a short walk - we know our way now - to our Caring Hotel. Not quite 10,000 steps today.

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