Things went like clockwork! (Well other than dropping the sleeping pillow that Shawni had given me for the trip three times and leaving my roller bag at W.H. Smith for a short time (we were pretty tired). Other than that, we arrived at Gatwick Airport, caught the Gatwick Express to London Victoria (so many memories here) and met our Londoner, Saydi at “Left Luggage” even though she never got my text message to meet us there.
We were giddy to be together and she was delighted to be without her kids. Bless Jeff! He stayed home from work to take care of the them so we could go like crazy in London without stopping every few minutes for food and the Toilets.
From Victoria we walked straight to Buckingham Palace where we had fun taking pictures:
Passing British flags all the way down the avenue we saw gorgeous flower gardens that reminded us that it was spring even though it was still pretty cold.
A stroll through the adjacent St. James Park was awe inspiring!
See the London Eye in the background? That’s where we were headed….
Until we saw this…..
Wonderful Westiminster Abbey was just around the corner! They wouldn’t let us take pictures inside but none of us had been there in years and with the help of hand held recorders we reveled in what we learned/remembered as we tried to get all that royalty stuff back in our minds. Unbelievably complicated!
We stood on the very ground where kings and queens had been coroneted for thousands of years. These walls have seen myriads of Royal weddings and added to the somber nature of funerals (including Princess Diana’s) down through the ages. Poet’s corner is always a favorite spot. So many incredible people have added richness to our lives through their intellect and passion for music and poetry!
When we were here 35 years ago this building was all black. A result of a thousand years of dirt and grime from the elements.Today it is glorious to see it in it’s splendor (although the black was pretty awesome too)!
Across the street of course were the Houses of Parliament and our old friend Big Ben. Magnificent structures!
And of course our old friend Winston Churchill is still standing there after all these years. Saydi thought she would imitate his expression. Good job Saydi!
On to the London Eye where we ran into Saydi’s friends from Boston who were spending the night at her house while we were at the conference and were site-seeing in London for the day. Who would have thought that of the millions of people milling around London that day, we would find them! Such a darling family!
They had just gotten off of the London Eyre ad we were about to enter. What a amazing sight on earth!
See "The Gherkin” there in the background right below?
And of course St. Paul’s Cathedral…..
And the new building they are scurrying finish by the time the London Olympics arrives in 131 days called “The Shard”:
I saw lots more than I did last time we “made the rounds” including Waterloo station (above) and the Pods in front and in back of us (below) as we slowly rotated around the London.
What an amazing engineering feat that London Eye is! We walked over the bridge that we had just seen from the heights and right into Trafalgar Square which was blocked off because of a celebration the next day and probably because of the London Marathon too. It was being run the next day by 37,000 people! London was abuzz!
We stopped for a lovely little lunch at Prez and then we were on to a quick run through the National Gallery, which is my favorite gallery in all the world. Again, no pictures but we relished seeing the works of geniuses!
As you can see by the clouds, it had been threatening rain, which was in the forecast for the afternoon so we jumped on a bus and drove through Regent Street, the area where Saydi and the fam had stayed for three weeks when they first came to London.
We made a quick stop at Piccadilly Circus.
I must admit that we loved the sights from that second story of the bus, but even better was being able to sit down! And it did rain! We got a nice dowsing while shopping for souvenirs for Shawni’s kids and friends but it was amazing that it rained so little while we were out and about!
By then it was time to ride on another double-decker bus through Kennsington, Hyde Park Corner and back to Victoria Station where we picked up our luggage, bid Saydi a fond farewell (until the next night) and headed for Euston station where we caught the train that took us to Northampton for the BBS conference.
It was a luscious day in London! Collages compliments of Shawni:
There’s no city that we original Eyrealmers love more than London so this was a day we’ll never forget, thanks to Saydi and her guidance through a day of frolicking and fantastic memories!