Who'd have thought two Aussies (well one Aussie and one ex-pat Brit) would go to London and get sunburnt on their first day?
Strange - but true! Both of us looking like lobsters at the end of our first day in London.
It was a huge day though and we managed to pack loads in.
We got up early and left home about 7:30. Yes Maria, I do realise that is earlier than we get up for work normally, but maybe site seeing in London is a little more exciting then heading off to work, could be wrong, but that's my gut feeling. As we walked along the canal FT (Fat Turner) came over for a hug and some attention. Susan picked him up and he wrapped his paws round her like he was there to stay.
Anyway, onwards we went to the Tower of London, looking for somewhere to have breakfast. We ended up in a place called The Kitchen, which is next to All Hallows by the Tower. This is a church that dates back to 675 AD and is the oldest church in London. William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was baptised there and John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the USA, was married there in 1797. It was hit by a bomb in 1940 but repaired after the war in 1948. The Kitchen is attached to the church and the Tower of London is adjacent, there is a small garden in front and it was very peaceful. Hard to believe it was a Friday morning in the centre of one of the biggest cities in the world. We both had the traditional English breakfast, but Susan also had black pudding. She was overjoyed, I was repulsed!
We took a city bus tour, which is a great way to see where everything is and work out what you want to go back to and spend more time exploring. We saw pretty much everything you'd expect and were entertained by some interesting and funny anecdotal stories and history from the guide. I was very disappointed however, when the guide mentioned England had been invaded by the Normans in the 10th century. Outrage overcame me (I tutted) "That's not right!" I said indignantly to Susan, every primary school kid knows that England was successfully invaded by the Normans when William of Normandy (strangely enough) aka William the Conqueror (again strangely enough) defeated the Saxon King Harold Godwinson (Harold II) at the Battle of Hastings (although the battle didn't actually take place at Hastings. It was actually at a place called Senlac Hill, near the town of the aptly named Battle - "The Battle of Battle" doesn't quite have the same ring to it) Anyway my point is, this occurred on 14th October 1066 - this makes it the 11th Century NOT the 10th. You'd think a tourist guide would know better.
The tour lasted about 3 1/2 hours. We had a quick stop for some lunch and then hopped on a river boat. The boat trip is included as part of the bus tour. We went from Westminster up to Greenwich. We got off here and took a look around the Royal Naval College, the Queens House - named because it was commissioned by Queen Anne, wife of James I in 1616. We walked up the hill to the Royal Greenwich observatory, where Susan stood with one foot in the Eastern hemisphere and the other in the Western Hemisphere. It's also where she got into a fight with a woman for telling her child off - but that's a whole other story!!
One of the things that we've noticed is all the scaffolding everywhere. Just about everything is being spruced up ready for next years Olympic Games. A bit of a downside is that we don't get to see everything we normally would have. Whilst in Greenwich we would have liked to see the Cutty Sark but it's being restored so, no go. After a quick walk around Greenwich, it was back on the boat and back to Westminster. The river is a great way to get around and see things from a different angle. We saw a view of the Captain Kidd (the pub I mentioned in yesterday's blog) from the river.
We walked up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, where Susan managed to climb (with a little help from some passers-by) on the one of the lions.
Then we walked through Leicester Square and into China Town where we stopped for dinner.
By this time it was 9:30 and we were both tired so we took the tube back home and the end of a very successful day.