Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Our first day in London (for reals) -- A brisk walk to the Tower of London

Rise and Shine! The Tower and Bridge await!

We watched a little BBC and went to sleep. We slept kind of poorly, which is surprising, given how tired we were. I woke up at one point, thinking it was really early in the morning, but it was probably about nine or ten at night and people were coming into the hotel. I think that Wry also woke up a number of times during the night.

We got out of bed at about four in the morning, showered, watched the news, checked email, and talked to the kids via webcam and Skype. They were all fine, but it was nice to see them. Just to look around, I went to the door, intending to open it and look around outside (or something). I left the room and walked down the stairs and looked around and went back to the room. I forget what I was going to show my husband, but when we tried to leave the room, the door was stuck. Firmly. We both tugged, and I worried that I had managed to lock us in. We finally called the front desk manager and she came and opened the door, despite the ghastly hour. I think it stuck because of the paint still being a little tacky.

Breakfast was at seven thirty, but I thought it was at seven, so that is when we left the room. We went downstairs a couple of floors and found a nice Russian-sounding young woman there, getting breakfast ready, looking sleepy. She told us that breakfast was not for another half an hour, but that she would make us toast if we wanted. We politely declined and beat feet upstairs ... I was a little embarrassed, because it was just that we were up and about, not that we were starving or rude or something.

So, we came back about a half an hour later. We were the first ones in the dining room and sat next to the window. A mistake that I would not make again. It was freezing. I finally use the sense that God gave me and changed chairs.

Breakfast was a full English breakfast, complete with egg, baked beans, sausage, bacon, toast and tea. The bacon was actually really good -- like a cross between ham and bacon. I am not a big sausage fan, but this was good. I had about a gallon of hot tea ... mmmm. Wry was happy to get orange juice along with his tea. He is a man of few needs.

WM pondered the merits of fine shred versus regular marmalade. There was lemon marmalade, too.

I had blackcurrant jam. I still like the fact that toast was served on little toast racks.

We finished breakfast, but it was still too early to leave the room, so we puttered around a little, getting ready for the day. I took some pictures outside of the bedroom window. It was very pretty. I tried not to take pictures of people in their houses. That is probably really rude.

One of the things that I did that I was pleased about was that I brought some of those handwarmers -- you know the kind that you get at Wal-Mart for a dollar or so? I was a little worried that they would set off some kind of bomb-sniffing device in the airport, but they didn't.

I made sure that we had a couple, in case we got really cold. We also dressed in layers. My husband had on a silk undershirt and an undershirt and probably another layer or two and a jacket. I had on tights under my jeans, along with socks. I hoped that Wry would not freeze, but I wasn't going to bet money on it. I double checked the fact that he had gloves, made sure that we had an extra camera battery, and we finally set off.

This is a picture of the view from the front door of the hotel, walking down the street to the train station. As you can see, it is only about two or three very short blocks -- right into the thick of things. However, I did not actually take this picture. I scrounged it from the Internet, because I forgot to take a picture myself. It sure was a bright sunny day ... probably in the summer.

We got on the Tube and got off at the London Bridge station. Apparently, we got caught in the morning rush, because it was packed -- and I mean packed. I didn't know that you could cram that many people into a train. It is a somber, Darwinian moment, trying to get on the train. First, you calculate where you think the fewest people will be trying to get on and queue up. A nice Aussie and a woman who had lived in London for years bemoaned the influx of people into the City, now that they had open borders. They said that the crowding was much worse than they could ever remember. We said that we were going to the Tower of London, and the local woman told us to get off at the Tower Bridge station.

Never listen to a local in London.

I say that somewhat in jest, because there is an Underground station that lets off right across from the Tower. We got off on the back side of the Tower, and it was a bit of a schlep to the Tower. On the plus side, we got to walk across the Tower Bridge, which was pretty great.

Here, we are considering how to get out of the station.

Did I mention that it was cold? It was, and no, I have not taken up smoking. At this point, we were wandering through the early morning streets, and I am completely lost. Great! We have been out on the streets of London exactly twice and I have gotten us lost both times.

Thankfully, I can see the Tower Bridge, so I just keep heading that way.

WM has some weird love of odd or incongruous mascots. This is his first London one.

The Tower Bridge!!


rowan said...

Ooh, that brekky looks yummy. bacon sausage and egg would go down well just now. Cooked by someone else, of course. I would need to go do the washing-up, to release the required crockery, however. And go get bacon that is actually within its sell-by date. And defrost the 70 calorie quorn sausages my mother gave me. :/

Nah. Sometimes you just gotta drool over pictures of the real thing.

The hotel dining-room looks nice!

It looks cold out. I like the smoking reference! Btw...I am sure that I still have burn-marks from those handwarmer thingies, but can't crane my neck to see. However...I will wait and post on the subject in the appropriate thread, being a good on-topic blogfly. :)

Bama - I sort of expect to get off at the wrong stop wherever I go. If I alight at the correct one, and arrive on time, I am chuffed and feel all happenin.

Ah, Tower Bridge! Lookin forward to seein the pics and readin yer comments.

Was it exhilarating? Really historic? Skeery and high, but deeply appealing? totally freekin unforgettable?


Can you tell? :)

Bama said...

I wanna go too!!!!

I can't wait to see the post about the Tower of London! Yay!

Yesterday I drove to a part of Dallas that I'm unfamiliar with..and was promptly lost, driving the wrong way down a one-way street...the whole nine. I just kept thinking how bad I'd be in a foreign country. I hope to go to Europe someday...but I'm gonna need a seasoned traveler with me or I might get lost forever!

Ummm...lemon marmalade? Yummmm...

rowan said...

I like marmalade too! It is piquant, which I like to assume means there are few calories. Howevah...eating a whole jar with a teaspoon still makes me come out in a hot flush. Funny that...

Bama said...

Rowan- I think marmalade counts as a fruit serving. ;)

rowan said...

Ah, that's good! As there's probably about three pounds of fruit distilled in each jelliesome jar, I can spoon a whole one one once a month or so, and never have a concience if I never eat a raw orange ever again. Cool...:)

rowan said...

Conscience...sigh. Some typos just can't go uncorrected. Now I am thinking conscientiously about the big bag of oranges bought for show last week, and never touched. I am pissed that they atrophy so quickly, but am not keen on them having a whacking great dose of rads, or an arctic blenny gene to compensate. I just gotta go bite the bullet and eat them, and thus save money, as well as my cardiovascular and epithelial systems.

(Man, I can't even correct a typo without digressing. I need help. Please send all prophylactic Creme Eggs by recorded delivery.)

Bob - I am remembering about the crescent moon button thingy, and wondering what it was for. Would never have realised it had a unique function. Am also most eager to see yer report and pics from Tower Bridge. Am feeling a little jellis, and vertinigious, in anticipation.