Mom and I woke up early, and headed down for a traditional English breakfast. Breakfast in Europe always includes lunch meats like salami, ham, olive loaf 'looking stuff' (I'm pretty sure that's it's official name), cheeses, and bread. Depending on the country, there might be more...or less. England had a great selection. I'm not really a 'breakfast person,' but I soon learned that with the pace we were keeping, sometimes all we had time to grab was something from a roadside stop for lunch, so I ate breakfast....bread, of course. Now, before I make the following comment, I do need to explain so the world doesn't stop on it's axis, and the wheat farmers of the world don't panic, or flour stock goes down. Most of the bread were rolls, and baguettes, and butter. By the end of the TRIP, after eating bread at least two meals a day, and several pieces (since I'm not into meats, and bypassed most of those)....I....Christy Ann Robbins, was tired of eating bread. Notice, I didn't say I STOPPED eating bread, I just said, I was tired of it. I think if there had been more flavors offered, or garlic etc involved, I'd never say such a contradictory statement to so much of what I lived for these last 29years, but....it's true, it happened. I'm over it. Let's not discuss this again. Bring on the garlic bread, and sesame rolls! OK....now back to the trip. We walked a long way, and finally found a stop for the double decker bus trip. I highly recommend these buses. You have a fabulous view of the city, they stop at all the major stops, and there is commentary, both live, or recorded on the sites we passed, city history, and great views up ahead (head sets, and ponchos are provided for riders). We did most of the loop, then started hopping off at the stops. When we wanted to get back on a bus, there was very little waiting involved, and always a seat to be found. It was a great view of all the moldings on the buildings, the elaborate lamp post (I don't know why this struck me as so odd), and just the buildings in general.
After riding around for an hour and a half, we decided to hop off at Buckingham Palace. It was NOT part of our plan to do so during the changing of the guards, but our timing was a little too 'on' because at 11, as we walked up....they had just begun the ceremonies. We couldn't see too much because of the crowd, but we got the general idea. The palace is very impressive, lots of gold, and wrought iron fences, and lamps.
The police kept yelling for everyone to watch their belongings. I guess this is a happening place for pickpockets. We stayed for about ten minutes, and then headed on so we could avoid the crush of people all exiting at the same time.
Next, we grabbed a bite to eat at a pub called the Silver Cross. It's interesting how 'different' everything is, and how difficult it can be to set aside your expectations for how things are going to work. Meals were always an experience. At the pub, you went to the bar and ordered, but then you sat yourself at a restaurant style tables, and the food was delivered. In other countries, if you sat down, you paid more for the same food, than if you took it and left. Sometimes you paid first for the meal, then took your receipt to the counter to let the chef know what to get for you, and tips are also not a thing that most people do, I guess the servers are paid more, but it's hard to know what to do. Enough on that, the food was good at this pub, I ordered a 'jacket'...or rather a potato....so nothing too exciting, but...good. No fish and chips for these non-fish eating gals. There are pubs everywhere, so I'm sure you can have great experiences where ever. This just happened to be at a stop we hopped out at when it began to rain.
The next 'big' destination was the Tower of London. We saw it from the outside....next time, we will do the tour.
We then walked down to catch a river cruise down the Thames, included in the price of the double decker buses.
At the end of the day, we hopped off at Hyde Park. On Sunday, they have something called 'Speaker's Corner'....where people just stand in a spot, and start talking....about anything, and generally, a crowd is drawn, and debates are had.
I didn't hear any elequant subjects being discussed (and rarely do when I listen to debates, it was who can talk the loudest, and the longest, and I also questioned some of the sobriety of the other park goers), so we did a quick loop, didn't feel too safe, and then....headed out to grab some dinner, and get to bed.
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