Sunday, August 31, 2014

London

Samuel Johnson said that if a man was tired of London he was tired of life, but I say if you're tired of London it's because the hordes of tourists armed with maps, cameras and brellys have worn you out.  We visit England frequently, but hadn't spent any time in London since 2001 so we decided to spend 4 days there after our week in the cottage.  Looking for a thrifty hotel we finally settled on a Travelodge, nothing fancy, basic hotel room at a reasonable rate and we opted to pay for the daily all you can eat breakfast to fuel our day.  Standard English breakfast, eggs, bacon (looks more like ham than bacon), sausage, beans, tomatoes, cereal, toast, croissants, juice, coffee, quite a bargain.
We'd turned our car into Hertz and had arranged for a car service to take us into London.  In the past we'd always dragged our bags to the tube and gone in, but decided we were old enough to deserve a better way to travel.
After checking into our hotel we walked down to the Thames, pass the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern to catch a boat going to Greenwich.  Beautiful day for a boat ride, got to go under Tower Bridge (in the past we'd been driven across it and had walked across it, but this was the first time going under it), passed Canary Wharf the new financial center of London and finally arriving at Greenwich.  Had lunch at a pub, the Adrmiral Nelson if I remember correctly, walked through the covered market and made our way up the hill to the Observatory to see the Prime Meridian.  Enjoyed the museum there, but as everywhere else it was heaving with tourists (and just what did I think we were?).
So back down the hill, back onto a boat who instead of taking us to where we'd originally gotten on dropped us at the Tower of London and we had to make our way back home on foot.
Globe Theatre
The Tower where they're putting in a poppy a day until Nov. 11
Observatory at Greenwich








Me on the Prime Meridian 0ยบ Longitude

Lunch at the Admiral Nelson

Imperial War Museum

The next morning we were up bright and early to visit the Imperial War Museum, we both wanted to visit the World War I exhibits.  The museum was free, you were asked to make a donation, and you were handed a timed ticket for the WWI rooms.  We had a bit over an hour to wait so we enjoyed the rest of the exhibits.
Main Exhibit Hall
Sopwith Camel

Trench with tank

The WWI exhibits were really well done, had it not been packed we could have spent the rest of the day there.  Particularly liked the trench exhibit and I finally got to see a Sopwith Camel.
From this museum we made our way to the Victoria and Albert Museum, again very crowded, but upstairs we found a section on the theatre that was very interesting.  Also liked the fashion from the Regency to Modern exhibit.
Regency Theatre at the Victoria and Albert
Had lunch at a barbeque place, great chicken and ribs.
On Sunday we went to the British Museum.  As we came up out of the tube station at Russell Square we were approached by 3 young Chinese men as we studied the street map.  They asked if we were going to the British Museum and when we said yes they asked if the could follow us, and of course we told them they were more than welcome to get lost with us.  As we walked one asked if I spoke Chinese, I offered up Spanish and German and Mac Turkish, but no Chinese.  He told me they were from China, but students in Manchester.  I told him that our daughter was flying to Beijing the next day on business.  She's there now in fact.
Turkish Temple

Copy of the Sutton Hoo Helmet
At the museum we went to look at minatures, then a Turkish tomb Mac wanted to see.  We skipped the Greek, Roman and Egyptian exhibits, we'd seen them before plus we've visited Greece, Rome and Egypt, so what we wanted to see were the Anglo-Saxon exhibits and the Celtic.
Saw parts of the Sutton Hoo find and the Battersea Shield.
After the museum we made our way to 221 Baker Street to pay homage to Sherlock Holmes, no desire to stand in line to visit, but it was fun seeing the outside.  Then it was off to Harrods to visit the food halls, OMG!  if I were rich I'd order all my food from there.
221B Baker Street
Then we walked down to Piccadilly and found a ticket agency to get tickets to see Jeeves and Wooster, the P.G. Wodehouse play.
Dinner was at a Chinese buffet.  Mac loves Chinese and I went along for the ride.
On Monday we had the first rain we'd had the whole trip, but that was ok, we had tickets for Churchill's Underground War Rooms which were spectacular and I'll blog about them tomorrow.
After that we decided to do one more museum and we chose
The National Gallery, looking at mostly 17th-19th century paintings.  Talked to a guard who said he'd visited the States and did it by Greyhound bus, I told him I bet he'd met some interesting folks on that trip.
That night we went to our play and loved it.  There were 3 actors playing all the parts and it was hilarious.  We've both been going around saying, "Jello", in Roderick Spode's voice since seeing it.
Boat in a bottle Greenwich
View From Greenwich
Greenwich
Tuesday it was time to head home, our driver picked us up promptly at 6:30 am and  dropped us at Heathrow an hour later, we had breakfast in the First Class Lounge and then boarded our flight where they proceeded to feed us way too much food.
Breakfast in the Lounge

We're home now, tired, but already planning next year's trip.  If we can find a place that will accept pets we may stay a month, but not in London, too many tourists and I don't want to be one of them.

7 comments:

  1. I think I would have enjoyed the rural part of your trip more than the London tour--I'm not a city person--though it would be nice with my love of English Literature to have seen the Tower of London and the places that figure in history.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a wonderful post! I think I like the one of you the very best...you should put underneath that photo..."This is ME in my PRIME". HA HA!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You certainly made the absolute most of your trip didn't you! I hope that you have fun making plans for your next adventure. xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a wonderful time you had - you visited so many super places. I would love to see the poppies at the Tower and the WWI galleries at the Imperial War Museum:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. So glad you two enjoyed your London trip (apart from the baby strollers - oh dear!). I love the Imperial War Museum and I enjoy a bit of mudlarking too. xx

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just catching up with blogs -great to read about your trip. We were in London last weekend and saw Jeeves and Wooster too - very funny.
    Next time we must visit Greenwich. If you keep travelling north on the meridian you will pass my house in Lincolnshire!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have to agree with you about selfish parents taking their children on inappropriate outings. I also hate to see children out in town way too late at night.
    I'm glad you enjoyed Jeeves and Wooster. We saw Stephen Mangan. I must go and find that theatre at the V&A. I didn't know of it before. Also haven't seen the WW1 poppy installation a Tower Bridge. You certainly packed a lot into your trip. Loved the pictures of you on your anniversary.

    ReplyDelete