Sunday, May 21, 2006

Day Two in London

But first, let's finish yesterday's adventures. We went to the Comedy Club. After asking several people if it was appropriate for all ages (while pointing at William), and being assured oh yes of course even small children - uhm, I suppose one could argue that most of the jokes would have gone way over the head of small children. Although I suspect they would have recognized most of the swear words. Oh well, William has never been sheltered from the things most kids are sheltered from, and probably wouldn't be by his age anyway, even if the parents pretend they are. And he certainly enjoyed the humor, so obviously we can deduce that he understood it. He did learn a very good lesson along with the laughs. Drunk people only think they look good and are funny. Lesson courtesy of two rows of young, inebriated New Zealanders.

After the comedy show, we zipped over to the movie theatre - maybe not zipped. Ambled quickly. It was only part of a block away. The theatre was huge. The seats assigned. We had great seats. The only bad thing was that they showed so many damn previews and commercials beforehand that the movie didn't even start for almost 45 minutes after we sat down. It was a midnight showing for crissake, get the show on and let us get home to bed.

The movie was good. Just my opinion, a bit slow in the beginning, but that might be because I knew the plot and was impatient to get the plot rolling. I think they did a pretty good job of slimming it down for the movie and it was even a bit touching in parts.

We got out around 3 am to find the streets still filled with people. Apparently London never sleeps! At least not on a weekend. We rode the bus back and walked the last three blocks or so and finally got in bed about 4 am. We found it highly amusing that we were stopped and asked for instructions a lot. We look like locals? What does that say about us? And even more amusing, with our maps and almost twelve hours of experience being in the city, we could actually help people find their way!

We slept in a bit but still managed to make it down for the last bit of breakfast. I figured make do with less sleep today and get back on a more reasonable schedule tomorrow morning. William's foot is sore but we took it easy and he actually ended up walking on it a lot. At first slowly, then more normally, now that the day is over and we've covered a lot of ground, he's sort of limping again, but it didn't slow us down as much as I thought it would. And probably, it's a good thing we've gone at a slower pace anyway.

So, let's see. We went to Westminster Abbey but it wasn't open because it was a Sunday. Who knew it was Sunday!? I've totally lost track of the day. We'll go back there tomorrow. Then we went to The Temple Church. Just like we'd seen in the movie the night before - all the Templar Knight effigies. It was really haunting. We had to wait about fifteen minutes for a service to be open and there was a cardinal and a priest there, which was sort of odd, after having just seen the movie. Cardinals stand out a lot in their red .... I know it's not called their robes or dresses... just like the bird.

Next, what William wanted to see most. The Tower of London. I was expecting a Tower, on a bridge. There is a London Tower Bridge, but that wasn't it. The Tower of London is actually more of a walled castle compound. It was interesting, but really, really crowded. I think I like the farther outposts of England better then the busy cosmopolitan center. Still, it was worth it. I really liked all the horse statues in The White Tower. If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about. I think William's favorite was the suit of armor and the "mini me" suit of armor. There 's a teensy little suit of armor that was made, I presume, for someone's child. I also liked the ravens, but that wasn't what I expected either. And I was annoyed they didn't really have any raven stuff in the gift shop, just a few stuffed animals and one very tiny charm. Oh well. The Bloody Tower wasn't very impressive (without any heads dripping off of it, it looked just like a dozen towers we've seen already) and you weren't allowed to go up to the top anway.

Oh, and the umbrellas. Now I know why Londoner's always carry an umbrella. Did I mention it was raining almost all day? And gusty. My umbrella, a cheap travel one, kept turning inside out. William threw my umbrella up at one point and it blew into a walled garden. Fortunately there was a way in from the other side and a kind passerby retrieved it for me and tossed it back over the fence. I took a bunch of photos of all the umbrellas.

We ate lunch at a pub across the street from the Tower and although the food,when it finally got there, was good, we had such bad service that if it wasn't for the fact that we were both so hungry I didn't think we could make it to another place without passing out on the street, we would have left.

Travel is a lot of thinking because you are doing most things only once, and for the very first time. We had a dickens of a time (dickens - Dickens - London - get it - ha!) trying to find the subway this afternoon. Once we found it, we could of course go straight there next time we use it from that particular spot. But we probably won't use it from that particular spot again. I figure a good rule of thumb is everything takes three times as long the first time. We finally did find the subway though, because we had to go over to Waterloo Train Station to look into eurostar tickets to Paris. We've been trying to find the right info on traveling to France ever since we got to London and I think we're finally getting it all put together properly. Tomorrow we'll have to make some definite plans.

After finishing that business, we went to the next thing on William's list, the London Eye. A "ferris wheel" that's over ten stories tall. I didn't want to go but guilt is a good motivator - not that I feel guilty about William's injury actually, more accurately I mean I feel sorry for him - so we went on it even though I swore I wouldn't. I figured if I'd done huge castle walls and rocky cliffs, what's one completely enclosed glass egg going up in the sky.

It turned out to be really fun. And virtually no lines because the bad weather had kept everyone away. But fortunately for us, the sun peaked out just as we bought our tickets so the sky and the clearing clouds were quite beautiful and dramatic. I hope some of the photos I took through the glass turn out okay.

We walked along the Thames afterwards, and back over the Winchester Bridge, past the parliament building and Big Ben, the sun shining on it's gold detail. We came back up by bus to Leicester Square but we were too late to buy tickets for a play tomorrow. We'll have to put that on our schedule for tomorrow and tonight just take it easy, catch a bite to eat at the end and get to bed early enough for a full day tomorrow.

Oh, I'm sorry I'm not responding to everyone's comments. I'm trying to keep my internet time to a minimum because of course I have to pay for the time and more importantly, William gets bored. But I'm really enjoying reading them. I just wanted folks to know how much I've appreciated the small keep-in-touch's.

Okay, I gotta get out of here. It's too hot in here! I hope we get some clear weather tomorrow. Knock on wood.


Anonymous jeff said...

So, can you find a suit of armor for William to wear? I mean, like at a costume store? And then, have him pose in front of a castle? Okay, if that's not possible, then maybe both of you could watch the changing of the guards (at Buckingham Palace) and try to make the guards laugh! (they're not supposed to react-- there MUST be SOME way to get their attention!). Okay, if you can't get them to laugh, can you have your picture taken with them? And hey, you went to the Tower-- but you didn't mention the Beefeaters!!! Did you see any? Did you take an "official" tour of the tower? Or just wander around?

1:24 PM  

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