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April 11th 2017
Published: April 12th 2017
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IN the 2 days we spent in London, we walked about 14 kms (consequently a foot soak - with or without teabag, would be a great thing right now!). We've had a HUGE couple of days. Slightly saddened to see that the included breakfast was continental, not hot, we filled up nonetheless and headed out on Monday 10th. which was the coldest day we have had so far, tops of 14, with a biting wind. Kinda glad we didnt book a thames cruise really. Our first stop was a coffee at Starbucks (which has sentimental value for Evie as we used to frequent a Starbucks in Hornsby when she was little before they closed down all but 2 stores in Sydney), then walked to Kensington Palace, and walked around the Diana Memorial Gardens, and took in a bit of Hyde Park. We took a tube from Queensgate to St Pauls, and spent time in St Pauls Cathedral, a church of such massive scale and beauty. We didnt make it to the whispering gallery, due to the queues to get up there...after this we headed across the MIllenium Bridge and found The Globe Theatre, which we were both absolutely stoked to see. There was a museum/exhibition which had costumes, models, props, and information about the theatre and Shakespeare himself, before we embarked on a tour of the theatre itself. We were fortunate enough to be in the theatre at the moment the cast entered to begin their first rehearsal on stage for the production of Romeo and Juliet which opens on April 23. Bump in was taking place prior to this so the stage was alive with sound checks, tech people, and all the hard work that goes into putting on show. As soon as the actors entered, they called "Silent Running" which means for the tours taking place, no talking and NO PHOTOGRAPHY (on pain of being forcibly removed). The director and Sound Production people talked to the cast, and their had their WHS talk, before we heard what will be the opening music of the show. SO COOOOOL!!! From there we had some lunch in a Nandos that was located in an abandoned tube station. We were then heading back over the river, and noticed street blocked off. We realised we were witnessing the state funeral of PC Keith Palmer who was killed in the Westminster attacks a few weeks ago. Police lined the streets for kilometres in an amazing honour guard, and as the service occurred it was broadcast over loud speakers in the streets. Stop All The Clocks by Auden was read. It was unbelievably sad and we felt very honoured to be there. After a time we decided to move on to the Tower of London, where we saw our first proper Beefeaters, and the Crown Jewels, as well as the Tower where the 2 young princes were locked up. By this time its 5.15 and we have show to see at 730 so we headed back to our hotel - where I realised I had forgotten to pack stockings - lucky there was a tesco up the road! changed into more appropriate West End attire and booked a cab (sadly an Uber not a proper london cab) which cost 25 punds from earls court to picadilly circus (ouch!)..made to the Queens Theatre to pick up tickets with 10 mins till show time....We took our seats in the Dress Circle which had a great "birds eye view" of the stage, and settled in to see Les Miserables. IT WAS FANTASTIC! We had the same actors playing Jean Valjean and Javert as in the Australian production we saw 2 years ago. After the show we got a tube back (much cheaper!!) and grabbed a late night bite to eat from a local kebab place (which is messier experience as its served in an open pita pocket rather than rolled - and NO CHEESE dammit)...anyway we slept REALLY WELL that night. Next day (Tuesday 11th) we checked out of our hotel, left our bags there and headed back out for another day...we tubed to Westminster, got out and there's BIG BEN! RIGHT THERE!... we walked around there and the houses of Parliament, before heading to Westminster Abbey, where we say the tombs of many queens and kings, and the place where royals married. From there we headed over the bridge , had coffee and a brownie at Pret a Manger. I tried to get tickets for the London eye, but after queuing for 15 minutes with another 30 mins of queuing to go that the tickets being sold at midday were for a 6pm Similarly the London Dungeon was a 2 and a half our wait, so we decided to skip that as well, got a tube from Waterloo to Hyde Park Corner, walked to Buckingham Palace and said hi to her Maj and a lot of pigeons. Lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe which was yum! and Evie bought a T short and some guitar picks from the Rock Shop - woohoo! We collected our bags from the hotel and travelled via Paddington station (Please look after this bear, thank you) back to Reading for a final night with Eileen and Malcolm. I called my Aunty Helen who I wasn't able to meet up with this trip for about 25 minutes and re-packed for tomorrow's trek towards the north of England. Thanks London!

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12th April 2017

I loved Big Ben too! I'm sorry you missed out on the eye, what a bugger. The theatre sounds great and I remember the crown jewels too from when I went in 1995! Very impressive. The funeral would have been very moving. What a messed up world it is lately.
13th April 2017
Evie outside Buck House

Buck House tourists
Amazing luck to snap Samuel L Jackson behind Evie!

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