The sheer exhaustion that led us to bed at 8pm on Sunday night had us awake and excited at 6am. Heather cooked breakfast, and we planned our day. We ultimately decided that taking a bus tour would make the most sense, as it’d give us some history and a way to get our bearings. Full of eggs and bacon and coffee/Diet Coke, we left the house and set off on our first official London adventure.
We took the tube into central London, ending up at Trafalgar Square. Many pictures were taken, and H braved an iconic red telephone booth that was made of pee. We had some glorious weather, and we spent the morning more or less giddy at the fact that we were in FRICKIN’ LONDON.
H and I braved the top the sightseeing bus, which made us regret the decision to not bring jackets in addition to our sweaters. R, being smarter and not as laden with cameras as we were, wisely sat under the heated bus covering. The tour we took was a long one, but it was awesome – the guide was smooth like silk and told us a great deal about what we were seeing. The day clouded over and the wind picked up, but there were so many things to look at so we sucked it up and shivered while squealing and swearing the whole time.
London is incredible. We saw SO MUCH on the tour, and we barely made a dent in our list of things to see. I don’t know how we did it, but we found ourselves at Big Ben at the stroke of noon and marveled at the sheer ridiculousness of it all. We saw the Tower of London, went over London Bridge (which I am pleased to report was not falling down), St Paul’s Cathedral, enormous parks, Buckingham Palace, the Eye of London, all the history ever, and so much more. Tomorrow will be even better, as we’ll actually go TO these places and not just see them from afar – but even afar was spectacular. So much awesome.
We were starving at this point, so we hopped off the bus and had lunch at the Sherlock Holmes Pub. R went for a steak and mushroom pie, while H and I enjoyed some fish and chips. Mushy peas: I am not a fan. We walked off our lunch and found ourselves on the tube again: we were going to Harrods. We discussed it over lunch, and it was determined that I was wearing the most decent of all the outfits I had brought to London with me – so if we were going to do Harrods at all, we should do it when we had the greatest chance of my falling within the confines of their dress code. I’m happy to report that my boobs were NOT an issue, and we made it into Harrods (with ten thousand other tourists) to gawk at the sheer opulence of it all. I’ve never really been in the market for things that cost in the tens of thousands of pounds, but if I ever am, I know where to go. We did pick up some souvenirs for ourselves and others, and we went gasping outside from the seething throngs of tourism that Harrods, although iconic, seemed to contain.
Ironically, we had all missed Occupy Vancouver due to our travels – but we DID get to Occupy London, so we’re feeling a little closer to the rest of the 99%. Also, we didn’t spend thousand in Harrods. That helped.
We were all getting a little grumpy with soreness at this point, but instead of resting or eating, we continued on our way. A visit to the Lomography Store was in order, and it was amazing (and so expensive). We stumbled upon Ed’s Diner and onto Carnaby Street, which is apparently THE place in London to shop (if you are an incredibly rich hipster). We did wander into a few shops for some minor trinkets, then tubed back to Victoria Station to bus back to the house; utterly worn out and with extremely angry feet.
Tomorrow we’re gonna try to catch a changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and take a boat tour along the Thames. London is amazing. I’m so glad we’re here!
Also, it’s beyond amusing to see the city undergoing the pre-Olympics renovations. The tour guide kept insisting that London wasn’t usually buried under scaffolding like this; they were just .. y’know, cleaning up before the world gets here. It’s so very much like Vancouver was in 2009 that we can’t help but laugh – even a lot of the promos and signage is the same. We know what you’re in for, London – have fun with that. :)
To bed! We have a Tuesday to take on!