Second Day in London

Second Day in London

We felt stronger today. We were all well rested and seemed to have forced the mysterious twenty-four hour bug out of systems. We were ready to take on London again, a London that was even hotter than the natives remembered it ever being. I logged into the Internet to check email and got a message from Stan saying the sun was fierce. He asked me what my plans were for the day and he picked the Yahoo icon that displays worry when I said we were going to be on the London Eye. His, “I wish you luck dear lady”, sounded rather ominous to me. But the intrepid travelers that we are we set out. We weren’t even bothered by the newspaper headlines that faced us and said “36° Deathtraps: London Underground”. Besides David Beckham’s tears signaling the end of his dream that was the only other headline to be seen.

Our hotel is very conveniently located above the Paddington Station so all we had to do was hop into a Circle Line train. We wanted to see the Buckingham Palace and determined that the closest stop would be St James Park. The underground is, as I’d heard many times before, quite impressive. The announcements are clear, unlike the New York subway where the public announcement sounds something like this, “Ooga Chaka, Ooga Booga”. The people are also very helpful, they give you clear directions and lots of helpful pointers. They are actually quite helpful in NYC as well, but they wear perpetual frowns that probably intimidate tourists. If you scratch the surface however, chances are you’ll find them bursting with sweetness as well.

Buckingham Palace wasn’t open to the public until July 26th, which was quite disappointing, so we stopped at the Royal Mews instead and took in a fairly interesting guided tour of the stagecoaches that Her Majesty likes to use. They were fascinating, accessorized with intricate carvings, coats of arms proudly displayed by the side. We saw the horses being trained and harnessed. The most fascinating carriage however was the one that was used during the reigning monarch’s wedding; Gold plated and drawn by four horses.

We did get to see Buckingham Palace from outside and took a few pictures. Facing the palace was St James Park and beyond the park the enchanting London Eye called out to Anoushka. “Daddy, Mommy…the London of Eye… let’s go there, c’mon!”

“It’s the London Eye Anoushka, yes, that’s where we’re going!”

So we traversed the park diagonally, keeping the London Eye in line of sight. We strolled through the park at a leisurely pace and spent many delightful tête-à-têtes with storks, ducks and geese along the trails. Anoushka tried to feed them leaves and grass (we weren’t carrying any bread and didn’t want to get arrested for feeding Her Majesty’s birds) but they apparently weren’t interested in salad and broke Anoushka’s heart. Another little girl kept tearing off pieces of her sandwich and filling up the stork’s beak. Two police officers stopped by and impressed us with their diffidence as they told the girl, “I wouldn’t recommend feeding the birds, the park staff does take care of the feeding”. But the girl wasn’t prepared to listen and carried on.

We alighted (they like saying that here) at the front of an unnamed palace. There was a lone unsmiling guard there who was allowing people to get their pictures taken with him. I kept trying to figure out what palace this was but had no luck. We spotted the London Eye again as did Anoushka, who was now literally pulling us in that general direction.

Finally came close to it but we were at the opposite side of the Thames and were really tired of walking in this 36 degrees C weather. But we still had another bridge to cross and we did. We waited in line for tickets and finally found ourselves within a roasting capsule aboard the London Eye. It was well worth it. The London views from atop the Eye are breathtaking and spectacular.

We were completely drained though and didn’t think we could wait in another line in this heat. The heat is relentless till about 7:00 PM at night, when it finally starts getting more bearable. The sun doesn’t set till 10:30 PM, although things shut down when it still feels like early afternoon. All the museums are closed by 5:30 PM which is rather inconvenient. But I suppose we’ll just need to rise earlier and convince Anoushka that it is quite Ok to look like a bum while traveling!

We had a pleasant dinner with a relative who resides in St John’s Woods, near Regent’s Park and Abbey Road. So we got ourselves photographed as three Beatles of different shapes and sizes crossing Abbey Road. Called it a night then after a long hike to the Baker Street Station to board the Circle Line train back to London Paddington.

Tomorrow we cross the English Channel aboard Euro Star to celebrate our fifteenth anniversary in Paris.

2 Comments

  1. Happy Anniversary!!!:)JJ.

  2. Happy Anniversary P. Have a great time in Paris.


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