Walking and Walking and Walking, Oh My!
16.08.2010 - 16.08.2010 78 °F
Sorry that I wasn't able to post last night. We were completely wiped out after a full day of traversing around the City and we didn't go to bed until 11pm (including the little people).
So I'll try and recap what I can from yesterday then move on to what we did today. I've also uploaded a few new pictures of our adventures.
We woke up and headed down to the train station again (Allan Michael leading the way of course). Arrived at Waterloo Station and walked across the street and down a bit to the most visited tourist attraction in London - the London Eye. Huge ferris wheel with pods that 25 people can fit in that goes round and round (very, very, very slowly - takes 30 minutes to go all the way) but gives you a spectacular view of the city. We could see many of the sites from above and we were quite lucky because as we were up in the air, the weather cleared and we could see far away. The bad thing was that it was actually quite hot yesterday when the sun was out (not sure but probably 80 degrees in the sun) and there's no a/c on the London Eye (or much of anywhere around here for that matter) so it was a bit toasty and smelly inside the "capsule" but we still enjoyed the view. Of course the kids were all done with the excitement after about 5 minutes into it - until we got to the top and they could say "We're on top now, we're on top now" then excitement waned again. They were most excited about how small the people on the ground looked from up high (forget about St. Pauls' Cathedral, Westminister Abby, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Wimbley Stadium, or any of the other sites you could see!).
After we got off the Eye, Mom's friend from home - Ricky- met us and we ate lunch on the grass by the Eye. As we were eating, the kids noticed statues that started to move and ventured closer. There was an avenue of street performers - of all sorts - so we wandered through there after lunch - we were all captivated by one magician named Richard - he was juggling swords and striking matches held by a 4-year old with a flying yo-yo and escaped from a straght-jacked wrapped in a 30-foot chain in less than 3min. It was quite entertaining - he's certainly a pro - we figured he must make at least 2000 pounds a day from doing that if not more.
Next we walked up to Trafalgar Square and looked around . There was a huge ship in a bottle (the ship was probably the size of a go-cart) plus other interesting things. Then we got on a double-decker bus and headed back to the Tower of London (we were by there on Sunday but didn't go inside).
Tower of London - We got there about 4:00 (they close at 5:30 and it takes 2 hours to see it all) so we did an amended version. We saw some dungeons and the traitors' gate and the bloody tower. Next we wanted to see the crown jewels (real jewels still used by the queen) and the "queue" was over 200 people long probably so we said nevermind and went inside the white tower instead. We saw King Henry the VII's armor as well as the shortest and tallest set of armor in the World (Guiness record certificate there to prove it). The shortest set was smaller than E (and they say made for one of the princes) and the largest was for someone 6ft 8in tall. We also saw some pretty scary weapons and things (the kind you beat each other with, quite disgusting to think about really - but of course Allan Michael was into all the gory details. Oh yes - this is the place where they beheaded Anne Boleyn (one of King Henry VIII"s wives) so they got to hear about that too. As we were leaving the White Tower because they were closing down - we paused and Allan Michael and Elaina ran into the building where the crown jewels were (Mommy, Mommy - look there's no line [because they were closing] - Mom and I chased after them and the nice guards let us through - so we were the last visitors allowed inside and had less than 10minutes to see it - but we did get through it and saw some pretty amazing stuff - including the famous Cullinan diamond (a 530+) carat diamond!.
So we met Ricky after we finished at the Tower of London and walked about a mile, past a really nice marina and by some really nice places to his flat in Wapping where he lives with his wife Jillian (sp?). They have a lovely flat on the Thames in a really nice residential district (as we were walking he pointed out the homes (or former homes) of Rod Stewart, Cher and Helen Mirren. After the kids had some grape juice we went downstairs to the pub next door "The Kidd" - the place where they used to hang pirates - they'd hang them up during low tide then wait 3 tide changings to make sure they were dead. The pub looks as if it sits in the river when it is high tide. It goes up 27 feet during high tide. Another favorite story of Allan Michael's.
After that it was quite late so we headed back on the underground and then the overground to get back to Maureen's.
So check out the pictures and read on for more updates.