Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Travel With Me - Day 2

Brian is in Paris today.  I haven't heard from him, but I'm assuming that all is well and that he is asleep right now.  He probably ran on adrenaline all day...and croissants, of course.  The weather is decent...and he's been there before...so on this trip he won't have to stress over not getting to see something fabulous.  (Not that he did on the last trip either...but whatever.)  He can just enjoy the experience with his friends.  Frankly, I think that totally rocks.

But come with me back five years to day 2 of our London/Paris/Chateau de L'Aubraie adventure...here's what I journaled for our second day in London...


Transport v. 1, carry from one place to another, convey 2, imbue with strong emotion,3, carry into banishment

Boys and Girls, today's word is "transport" as in "transportation."  Sometimes, there can be too many choices.  In London, with our 3-Day Travel Cards, we had complete freedom of travel by bus or train!  After making our way through Gatwick Airport and to Victoria Station, we found our way to the Luna & Simone Hotel in adequate time for the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.  Unfortunately, the rain chance of 100% that was shown on www.weather.com became a reality. 

At 10:50 it started...and it just isn't the same watching the guard change with regular hats and raincoats while perched with 29 other people on the stoop of a local business. 

Not to be completely bummed out, though, we attempted to find our next stop - which was Trafalgar Square.  For the first time since 1986, Admiral Nelson and his horse were under renovation.  As it rained, to pass the time, we were able to watch a demonstration (to free Palestine), eat lunch at Cafe in the Crypt at St. Martin's in the Fields and slip into the National Gallery of Art. 

The National Gallery had Van Goghs and Seurat paintings in the first room we came upon!  After realizing that the rain was pretty much going to plague us off and on all day, and that indoors was indeed the best bet, The Boyfriend (TBF) suggested that we go over to Harrod's.  Great idea, but that meant that we had to get on a bus again.  Other than the guy with the odd bundle and the vacant stare - it was uneventful - and we found our way there fairly easily.

There is nothing that will help you learn the transportation system faster than just jumping in.  Fatigue and rain made the bus a welcome place to be.  We road it a great deal of the afternoon.  Someone in London is enjoying my umbrella, and that's fine, as I apparently left it on the bus.  I'm just glad that we got to see as much of London as we did on those buses.  If anyone doubts that we got our money's worth for the Travel Passes, I'd totally have to disagree.

At Harrod's we looked all over the store.  Unfortunately, I realized that I was wearing my pink Crocs because it had been raining.  In spite of the total disregard for fashion that was so evident to me (at least where I was in London), I still felt a little out of place.  FYI...nothing screams "AMERICAN TOURIST!" like pink Crocs just so you know.

My discomfort was compounded by the fact that they had someone in the restrooms expecting a tip, and my "London for Dummies" book didn't address that.  Had we had time to hang around, Pele, the soccer wonder, was due to make an appearance at Harrod's that night. However, our objective was to find the London Eye for a 6:30 flight.

The London Eye was great!  We actually arrived on time (30 minutes early) and got right on.  We were on a pod and back off at the time that we were supposed to be getting on.  No lines!  We took some great pictures, and in the little pod we couldn't feel the rain or the unusually cold temperatures (a cold front from Antarctica had moved in...and we were dealing with 40-50 degree weather...and did I mention the wind?  No? Okay...put it together...Antarctica Winds...and that pretty much described our three days in London.  Mind you, it was 94 degrees when we left Atlanta...but whatever.)

Dinner that night was in an Italian restaurant by the hotel.  I don't know if it was the pink shoes, the fact that I asked for another Coke from someone else or what, but the waitress was not my friend.  The Italian food was great, though, and we didn't have to do anything but walk down two doors to get home.  No bus.  No train.  No problem. 
The Changing of the Guard just doesn't have the same "oomph" with raincoats and regular hats.
This looks like the "Changing of the Shift" at Police Headquarters in the U.S. not the "Changing of the Guard" at Buckingham Palace. 

Oh, I see how it is.  Five minutes later, the rain stops and we go all red and black uniform.  Fine.

It is gold, shiny, and pretty.  And across from Buckingham Palace.

The man in the red jacket and orange shirt (fashion king that he is) annoys me in this picture.  Always has. 

A lovely day for a demonstration, yes?

Okay, see the colored box in front of the guy on the horse suspended into the air?  Yeah, that's Admiral Nelson.  Under renovation.  First time in 20 years...and I show up during that week...

Lots of people protesting.  Lots of people apparently not working because they have time to protest. 

Harrod's...where you pay to pee...(and where pink Crocs are frowned upon.)

A pod.  Not an iPod.  Just a pod.  Big enough for party of 15.

View from the London Eye.  Of what...I'm not exactly sure.  But it is pretty. :)
More London cityscape.  (That sounded classier, didn't it?)

Parliament: home of Big Ben (the clock)

Mo' Big Ben

Can't get enough apparently...

A lovely shot of the Thames (pronounced "Timms" for some unknown reason) River.  It was the color of well, dung, but we weren't planning a swimming outing, so that was fine.

More of London from the London Eye

Brian.  Age 13...and a little scary in this photo.

St. Martin-in-the-Fields (or something like that).  We ate at Cafe in the Crypt under the church.  Which sounds quite unappetizing if you think about it.  So, um, don't think about it.

Brian looking out of the pod.  Probably at Parliament. 


One of my favorite shots of Parliament.  Brian probably took this.  His shots were pretty awesome.

Another shot of the pod below us.

Gigi and Poppy.  Her hair was holding up pretty well in the humidity.  Miraculous, actually.

Beyond the clock...trying to get some architecture shots.  Not entirely sure why.  But pretty.

Can't get enough of the same shot?  Apparently me either! 

Thanks for reliving Day 2 with me...come back tomorrow for Day 3!  :)

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