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June 26th 2010
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Geo: 51.5002, -0.126236

June 26, 2010

London, England

Got up at 6:30 a.m. (actually 6 am but hit snooze button 5 times) and went to see buffet bar breakfast. It was okay. Lots of sausages and canadian bacon (ick), runny scrambled eggs (I thought it was yellow grits), fried eggs (more like lightly fried- dad would love these styled eggs!), fried toast (not bad, but very greasy tasting), hash brown patties, fried potatoes, fruits, breads, cereals, and juices. I will have to double check tomorrow to see if the meal was charged to my room. I could have sworn it was complimentary since I was in an executive suite. I did go by the executive lounge to see what they consider a continental breakfast (juice, croissants, and fruit). I may just have that for the rest of my stay in London. After eating, I met up with my Majestic London tour group. I boarded a bus along with other people going on other tours. We were driven to Queen Victoria Coach Station. This is where all tour groups from all the hotels are taken and then we are sorted to the correct tour bus. Very confusing! Also, this is were most of us were told that we would have to make our own way back to our respective hotels. The bus do not take us back! Luckily, I am familiar with the Underground from yesterday. A couple of Americans decided to follow me around since they said I seemed to know what I was doing and had been in London the day before. The following are the places we visited in order from morning to evening: Albert Memorial (5 minute photo op: seen from across the street, not up close and personal, but awed and amazed at the size of it!), Royal Albert Hall (part of 5 minute photo op, did not enter), Big Ben and Westminster Abbey (15 minute photo op, did not enter) , Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace (10 minutes of waiting, 5 minutes of watching and then speed walking to get to palace, 10 minutes of standing at a distance to see same guard go into the gates, then a fast walk back to the bus; The palace looked great! Postcard perfect!), Trafalgar Square (1 hour lunch break here, so I was really able to see all of the square; People were climbing over all the statues they could reach or standing on the plinths posing for pictures, others were eating lunches all over the square; grabbed a hot dog and a soda; spoke to a Bus Transit official who was keeping track of some buses to see if they are arriving and departing on time. He also was watching to see if a large demonstration was going to be held- it didn‘t), St. Paul's Cathedral (quick walk inside, sit for 10 minutes while Tour Guide discussed the dome, 10 minutes of looking at the alter area and the book of American who died defending England during WWII, quick and brief visit to the crypt; 15 minutes to shop or use the restroom; The Cathedral has a no camera policy, but not enforced, so me and few others were quietly sneaking shots whenever we could get away with it. I mean, they allowed you to bring drinks in, touch almost everything, but you can‘t take a picture of the beautiful architecture and art work! Rubbish! Cathedral was very interesting, but would have liked more time to really read all the tombs and here more about the history of the place; on the way past the place we saw where bomb shrapnel took chunks out of some of the buildings nearby), Tower Bridge and the Tower of London (last leg of the guided tour; saw the bridge from the bank next to the Tower, I was surprised that the bridge was blue and white….always thought of it has black and gold! Guide said its been blue and white since he was young! Walked around looking at the outsides of the each building for about 20 minutes and then the guide sent us on our own since the Tower doesn‘t allow guided tours inside the buildings. The other Americans that I was loosely hanging out with went their separate ways, so I was able to see the crown jewels and got caught once trying to get a picture of them (Once again no camera‘s allowed. Why I don‘t know since you can see all of it online! Toured the Bloody Tower where the two Princes were supposedly murdered-not impressed with the room but with the actual staircase one must climb. It was a very tight spiral staircase. Saw the spot where Queens Anne Bolyne and Catherine Howard were executed- supposed to know as the saddest spot in England; 5 others have been executed in the same area; but the rest of about 100 were executed outside the Tower walls for public enjoyment at that time. Didn't enter White Tower since it had only stairs to reach the top, and by that time of the day, my leg was throbbing due to low air pressure or in other words my leg was hurting because it was going to rain soon!) , River Cruise of the Thames River (after shopping for some geegaws at the Tower shops, I headed to the Tower landing to hop on a boat that would take me to Big Ben. The wait was about 20 minutes and then the ride was about 20 minutes. Nothing to exciting. Did see the recreated Globe Theatre of William Shakespear time and Cleopatra‘s Needle from Egypt that was 3000 years old. Arrived at Big Ben right at 6pm so I was able to video tape it while it was chiming the hour.) Besides the above, we also passed some of the following: 10 Downing Street (Prime Minster's residence), Old Scotland Yard and New Scotland Yard, Majesty Theatre, American Embassy (along with the 911 memorial in its adjoining park), Picadilly Circus, Harrod's, old pubs, old buildings, The Serpentine, and finally many famous streets like Fleet, Regents, Pall Mall, Grosvenor, Strand, Oxford, and Knightsbridge.

After leaving Big Ben, I went around the corner and was planning to eat at a pub called the Lion's Den and finally have fish and chips, but they quit serving food at 5. However, right next door was a tiny Italian/English café that offered fish and chips. So I sat down and then looked at the menu and saw that they also had Shepherd's Pie. Here was another dish that I wanted to try. So, I decided to leave the fish and chips until Sunday evening after the concert. (One of the American couples on the tour told me about a great place down the street from our hotel, so I will go there. It is also near a Starbucks where I can get wifi for free, since the hotel only allows internet access on their computers, but no downloading. I would have to pay for wifi if I wanted to download these blogs and photos ($10 an hour!) The food came out and I had to take a picture of it. I had never seen mash potatoes cut like a cake slice and served on basically what I would call a thin, loosely formed hamburger patty. There was a side of mixed vegetables and what looked like small fried potatoes. I took a bite of the pie and loved it! I plan to try to eat this again while here in London. Hopefully they are all made the same way! After talking to another American who was only in London for the evening and helping her find something to do by using my guidebook, I finished eating and started to head to the Underground to get back to my hotel. I wasn't looking forward to traveling undeground and dealing with not only the noise and congestion, but with making 2 transfers to get back to the hotel. While I was walking past some city buses, I saw that one of them said Marble Arch. So, after speaking with the driver, I found out that I could take a bus all the way back to my hotel's area with no transfers and for only £ 2.00! I got on the traditional double decker bus, and rode most of the way on the top level. I got off at Marble Arch, walked tiredly back to the hotel, bought some water for the room, and planned on calling it a night once I went online to check emails and some other things. Glad I did! Found out that the actual time for Paul McCartney is not until 7:30 in the evening. Other bands and performers will be playing until then in Hyde Park. So I will have time tomorrow to go to a few places like St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. I also need to find the Beatles Store and Abbey Road. So I will do some of my own touring tomorrow and then head off to the concert! So far I have been happy with the trip, but I am tired, so I will probably sleep in until 9 of 10 tomorrow.


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27th June 2010

cool, cool, cool, keep pinching yourself that you are actually there and seeing all this history in real time!! GREAT photos!! ENJOY Sir Paul!! ciao! RM
27th June 2010

wow, there was one of those monuments in downtown Rome, Italy too...man, she really got around...lol
29th June 2010

WOW! I never seen Alberts memorial before
29th June 2010

Everytime I happen to pass it while out and about, I am overwhelmed by it size and its beauty....do women say that about you?
7th August 2010

Wow....beautiful

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