Dressed to kill
Angela and I woke up a little bit cranky due to lack of sleep, but Jackie was happy as ever...of course. Ayanna would not even wake-up. Angela tried to explain to her that she would not be able to leave and get back in or get food...or anything and we would not be coming back, but Yanna just mumbled incoherently...so we left her. On todays agenda was to see all things London. We went to the tube station and got on to go to Westminster Abbey. A funny thing happened on our journey. While on the tube, a woman with the most offensive body odor ever got on...and as it was standing room only lifted her arm so she could grab the rails. It was hilarious to watch as the faces of people around registered the shock of this smell and sent furtive glances around checking for an escape from the odor.
What was even more amusing was that...just beyond her arm was an advertisment for deodorant using the exact same scenario. Oh the irony!
We escaped into an overcast London day (of course) and meandered our way down the street. On our way, and in the underground station we had encountered many young women dressed up and wearing hats. We took pictures of them, because it was so interesting. We asked them where they were going, but I can't remember now. So horse something or another...a race? a polo match? I don't know, but they looked fabulous and I immediately decided that for my birthday I would like me and my friends to dress up like this. We walked straight up the street and basically ran right into Westminster Abbey, where we declined paying 15 pounds to enter.
We did spend a lot of time talking to the gentleman outside of the Abbey and he told us about the statues above the door he also took pictures of us. What a nice guy. After, Westminster Abbey we continued our route onto the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. We took a gazillion pictures as we passed through this area. We then continued on our way to the London Eye. I have taken a "flight" on the London Eye and think it was a must do for the views of London. However, my party did not think it was worth the almost 18 pounds so we decided against it. London really is expensive. We then kept our journey moving, walking among the street performers. I'm always curious about street performers. Some have a talent, but some don't really appear to.
Big Ben and me
Such as these guys in costume that simply peddle their bike when you drop money in their bucket. Really? How did they come up with this? They are entertaining, but I wonder when they said..."I'm gonna put on this colorful lizard suit and peddle a bike and that is how I plan to earn an income!
From here we just kept walking with no predetermined destination. We walked across the Millenium Bridge and made our way through the Victoria Embankment Gardens. We enjoyed a bit of a summer concert and grabbed yummy fish and chips at the Embankment Cafe. In general, we just enjoyed a leisurely paced afternoon in a fantastic city. Which I appreciated. Often, when you have such a short time in a city everything feels rushed.
Arthur Sullivan - Interesting Art
On the other side of the Gardens was a business area and we wandered those streets as well and finally set our sights on the Tower Bridge. Around this time my niece began calling saying she was bored and hungry. Angela told her too bad, but really we decided to head back. We took the bus so we could see the city. It was fun because we took it to my old stomping grounds...Oxford Street. When I spent my 6 weeks in London in 2002 this was the neighborhood my flat was in. However, I don't remember it being so crowded when I stayed there. It was so thick with people you could barely maneuver. We hopped on the underground to take it to our hotel. Ayanna was sulky when we got back like it was our fault she wouldn't get up this morning.
While she was ready to go...we were ready to take a nap before heading out. The adults won out and we took naps and showered prior to heading out. I decided we should head to Picadilly circus so they could experience the atmosphere and then head to my old favorite - Covent Garden
s. We got a late start and I was starving, but we could not agree on a place to eat. I was getting so frustrated and hungry I felt ill. We finally decided on a great restaurant L'ulivo...and after food and wine I was back in business. We wandered the streets of Covent Garden - window shopping and watching the after theater crowds. The evening ended up being nice, but tensions in the group were running high. I was looking forward to tomorrow when Angela would drop Ayanna off to her school group and I planned a solo excursion to the Docklands Museum to see the Sugar and Slavery exhibit.