Our first day in London was fun and exhausting, as it should be. After taking the train to Victoria Station we started walking toward Buckingham Palace. We walked past one of my favorite places for traditional tea, The Rubens Hotel, and then all around the palace. We checked out the gate, the guards, the grounds, the Victoria Memorial, past St, James’ Park and all the way around the palace. We then took off in the direction of the Parliament and Westminster Abbey, stopping at a small Italian store/deli for a delicious sandwich made with prosciutto and mozzarella at a sidewalk table.
Just walking through any area of London you will see many iconic places that you’ve heard about all of your life, whether from books, movies, TV, news or history class. I always get a little thrill when I see the name of something that I’d heard mentioned sometime in my life. Paddington, Wembley, Bond Street, Bloomsbury, Covent Gardens. I love looking at the architecture, monuments, gardens, the different cars and road signs. One thing that I noticed on my first trip there and subsequent visits is the lack of pick up trucks. I’m from the West Coast and pretty much every man I’ve known, starting with my dad, had a pick up truck. Of course I come from a long line of construction workers, which means most of the people I hang out with have something to do in that field. My husband who, by the way, worked at a grocery store when I met him, also works in the construction business. Neil asked a couple of workmen that he met on the train about how they go about doing business without a truck. We were told that they either use the boot of their car or hire a van when they need to move bigger stuff. You’re more apt to see Euro Vans about town instead of a pick up truck like we would use here.
After our lunch we headed down to look at the beautiful and historical Westminster Abbey and then waited in the long lines for the London Eye. It’s a great way to see the city’s layout. I feel it’s kind of expensive at £21 a person, but of course we paid because it’s something we wanted to do. I’m not really complaining except as a reference for the reader. I’m sure that it cost a fortune to build and maintain. But it takes 800 passengers for each rotation, 32 cars with 25 people in each car. It takes a half hour to go around and it doesn’t stop. At last count, it takes more than 3.5 million visitors a year. At the current cost of a ticket, and they have no discounts for seniors or children, that’s almost £74 million pounds a year. I just checked their website and the tickets have now gone up to £29.95! I’m pretty sure they get an excellent profit from that and the corporation is very pleased.
I had only ever been at night, so I purchased the “360° Viewing Guide” for a couple of pounds and well worth it. It shows the view of day on one side and night on the other. In addition to showing many, many iconic buildings on the guide, it also shows the direction that you’re looking. I found this very helpful because, as many times as I’ve visited, I have no sense of direction there, at all. Unless it’s sunup or sundown, I haven’t a clue.
We left the eye and walked around a bit more, found a great bakery and picked up dessert, then headed back to Fox Hill B&B for dinner and a little TV with our friends.