Day 2 in London was all about doing touristy stuff so we prepped ourselves, walked down to the tube and headed to Westminster where we would see Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and eventually Buckingham Palace. We had prepped R for “The Big Clock”, mostly to entice him to get on his shoes, and emerged from the subway right underneath Big Ben, only to find that it and a sizable portion of Parliament were completely scaffolded for restoration.
The weather, as you may be able to tell from that photo, was also inclined to be its normal state of grey-with-an-e so we were feeling a bit ho hum about our prospects…we were 35 minutes into the day.
Parliament and Big Ben (actually just the name of the bell inside the tower) and All The Things sit on the River Thames, and up and down the river are hop-on-hop-off boats. Our back up plan was to jump on the boats so we made a snap decision to execute to keep us and the kids happy and it turned out to be a pretty great thing. As you go up and down the crew give you the low down on each bridge and a lot of the sights and it turned out to be actually kind of relaxing. We passed the infamous London Bridge, that is actually always falling down, a proper obelisk from Egypt which was super unexpected, a modernized version of The Globe theatre which I thought about cancelling all of our other plans to go see, and got good views of most the famous skyline buildings of London.
Oh, and they also said that seahorses and otters live in the river and that you can drink the water if you want. I passed.
For me, the best part was seeing the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. Staying so far west in the city, I was afraid we wouldn’t get to see them, but the boat made short work of the distance. Now, I would love to inside the Tower at some point, but just seeing it was enough for this trip because I would totally want to geek out in there for like 3 days and I just don’t think my family’s snack habits would be up for that.
The boat turned around and headed back to where we started and we have a new crew (well we were actually on a different boat which was ridiculous because they told us to get off the boat we were on because it would be faster to get back if we got on the other boat so we did because what do we know and then we got that other boat and before it left…like 10 minutes before it left…the boat that we had been on before sped off down the river and erin was furious because optimizing things for her is like kind of a big deal and i bet those guys were just done with their shift and didn’t want to have to talk anymore end of parenthesis) so had to listen to basically the same commentary again. This was find because this time around the fellow had an entirely different accent so it all sounded new.
We got off and started walking towards Buckingham Palace through St. James’ park and happened along Westminster Abbey (above) on our way…or Erin planned for us to walk by…it doesn’t matter. We walked through the park which had a bunch of hobbit-inspiring trees and like a million ducks (and the whole time I am just thinking about that scene in The Tudors where Henry VIII eats the Swan) and came to destination…
…no not Buckingham Palace silly! C’mon…I’m posting this blog well after this day actually occurred which means that if you are reading it you are, for whatever insane reason, actually into reading it. That means that you know well and good that going this many playgrounds without talking about a paragraph…see…see my fingers just want to type about playgrounds…
L woke up after a good hour or so of stroller napping so we decided to walk over and get the obligatory picture of the palace itself and the big statue in front of it, but honestly, it was kind of lame so we just turned around, walked back to the subway, had lunch at Pret a Manger again, and headed over to Notting Hill.
We did a walking tour of the neighborhood which really was nice; all the building are painted different colors, there are lots of funky shops. We passed the spot where George Orwell lived, but were mostly looking for some ice cream.
Ok well. That was the day, so this post is over now. Yep. Just like that.