03.07.2014 - 05.07.2014 32 °C
After a very smooth ride under the channel in the train we arrived in London to a bright sunny and very warm day. London was looking at its best. We travelled to our apartment in step new in the East End and did a bit of grocery shopping then lunched at our new 'local' pub, a great place called The White Hart Brew Pub. So delicious, we went back there for dinner a few nights later. After the hectic pace of the last few weeks we decided just to have a relaxing afternoon and settle in.
The next morning we were up early and ready to take on the London transport system. This wasn't that difficult as we only needed to go two stops on the underground! We got to the Tower Bridge and then jumped the hop on off bus for our usual city orientation. We hopped off at Buck palace with about 45 mins to wait for the changing of the guard so decided to wait (along with a few thousand others). The queen was in Scotland and wasn't even there to greet us, so we hopped back on the bus heading for Trafalgar Square and a walking tour which came free with our bus tickets. It was a Harry Potter tour, we lasted for about 40 mins and then decided that we weren't die hard enough Harry Potter fans, so ditched it and found some lunch as it was almost 3 pm. After lunch, we walked up to Regent Street to see Hamleys toy shop which was lots of fun. With lots of purchases for some special kids at home we headed off to catch the scenic river cruise back to the Tower and home. We have worked out that the river cruise is much easier than dealing with peak hour traffic and much more relaxing.
I cooked dinner for only about the third time since we had been away! I didn't really feel like cooking after a big day but sometimes you just feel like a home cooked meal with lots of veggies. Food and drinks here are pretty expensive too. Though grocery prices seem pretty much the same.
This morning we had a slow start as we had tickets to the tower and didn't have far to go to get there. Everyone is starting to feel a bit tired, me included!
Our trip to the tower started with a Beefeater tour. Which was extremely informative and funny 90 minutes and gave everyone a basic rundown of the the history of the place. Including the execution and burial of three of Henry's wives, Anne Boyelyn, Katherine Howard and Jane Grey. This is included in the entry and I would really recommend it.
Our tour group, we are in there somewhere, taken by our beefeater ......Billy
From there we moved onto the Crown Jewels. The English really do know how to organise a crowd and people were moved through the displays without any of the fuss or drama we witnessed in France and Italy. It was well laid out had interps in about 10 languages! Unlike the louvre which was French or .....French! They jewels were just stunning and the Callinan diamond I at around 500 carats was pretty nice.
From there we moved to the White tower. This is the central tower or keep built by William the conquerer in the 11 th century. Considering this it is in pretty good shape! It's dungeons were used to torture prisoners and traitors. From there we moved onto the various other towers and walls with many displays taking a fair chunk of the day. With lots of interesting displays and stories, I really enjoyed this tour and everyone should do it while in London.
Back into town on the tube for some shopping (along with everyone else in London) then dinner and home ready to head off and pick up a car tomorrow.