Black Beauty

Friday, May 24, 2013

Cold and Wet London

Today was another good day, except it was very messy and COLD.  I didn't get enough sleep last night (only 4 hours), so I'm pretty tired tonight.  I was pumped up with adrenaline from the walk home from the train station, so I took a long time to go to sleep.  And this morning, I woke up an hour earlier than I had planned, so it just wasn't enough rest for an old man like me!

We got up, drank some instant coffee (provided by the hotel), got ready and were out of the hotel before 9:30am.  We walked to the train station, bought tickets, and got on the train to London.  Once in London, we walked a short distance to a place that sold tour bus tickets.
Gary and Linda Waiting for Right Bus
 It seems that there are 3 major tour bus companies in London, and we stopped at a store thinking we were buying one type, and learned about 2 miles of walking later that we had bought tickets to the Grey Line bus.  Trouble was, there were about 10 other busses for each Grey Line bus.  So, we had to wait for a bus each time we got of and tried to get on another one.

And it started to rain, real rain.  Imagine standing in the pouring rain, 43 degrees, with strong winds, while waiting for a bus and trying to stay dry and warm.  Can't do all of that; cold set in pretty quickly.  We were all wearing waterproof jackets and hats, but pants were nylon or cotton and getting wet and cold.  Finally, our bus came along and we got on.

It was a double decker, with part of the upstairs under a roof and part open to the sky.  We managed to get seats under the cover, but it was COLD.  After a while, we went downstairs to get out of the cold, even though the view was not so great with the traffic and rain.
Busy Streets and Tall Busses

London is a beautiful city.  I've never seen so many beautiful buildings of such varied architecture.  Imagine it, and it's there.  From very modern glassed front buildings to structures that were hundreds of yea
rs old and had intricate design in the construction.  Just beautiful.  Unfortunately, with the rain on the bus windows, taking pictures was not so great, so I didn't take a lot of pictures.  And if I had tried to photograph each neat building, I would have taken thousands of pictures.
Pretty Architecture

There are also hundreds if not thousands of statues scattered around London.  Animals, people, soldiers, everything you can imagine.  Many are located on or around buildings, but some are scattered in many parks in the City.  So much beauty.

Lots of Statues
And there was traffic like I've never experienced before, anywhere.  The roads are not straight with 90 degree intersections.  There are countless traffic circles and intersections in a "Y" configuration.  And every configuration and angle made, I'm sure.  Combine that with literally thousands of busses (lots of city busses, but plenty of tour busses), motorcycles and scooters, bicycles, cars, trucks, and pedestrians. We absolutely made the right decision to not have our own vehicle in London.  The bus drivers are extremely skilled at wheeling those big busses all over the streets, going places where I was convinced we couldn't go.  Sometimes I literally closed my eyes and gripped the seat because I knew we'd hit another vehicle.  But we didn't!  Now i see why the subways are so well used.  If they weren't, it would be mayhem in the streets of London.

We rode most of the day and got off a few times for bathroom stops and meals.  I had two very good meals; one of roast beef and vegetables, and another one consisting of a pulled chicken Caesar salad.  Both were delicious!  Virtually every meal I've had since the plane landed has been wonderful.  Much better than my earlier Europe trip to the Alps region.

Our tour bus tickets included a free walking tour (which we didn't discuss due to the rain) and a river ride for free.
Typical Tourist Boat Ride on Thames River
 So, we went down to the river and boarded a large catamaran boat.  The best part of the ride was the warmth inside the boat.  It was nice to be warm again.  We got off the boat (it was a one-way trip), found the tube and had dinner.  After dinner, we walked back to the tube, got on it and worked our way back to the hotel.

As we walked back to the hotel, the rain started again (it had briefly stopped), making most of the day wet.  And did I say COLD?

No pics again today due to the computer issues.  Phone still dead, but I did hear back from the insurance company, acknowledging my email to them, and telling me that I had to call them to finish the claim.  If it were only that easy.....  When I saw that I have to call Monday thru Friday (only), I knew to forget about it until sometime later, if at all.  I just don't need the frustration, since I don't handle it so well.

Tomorrow, we're off to Stonehenge.  It should be great.  Supposed to be 61 degrees and some sunshine.

Until tomorrow.....


  1. Sounds like you're having a good time. Be safe.

  2. Just one it cold????? Hahaha!!! Traveling along vicariously, be careful, I don't want to be lost. B/S

  3. Compared to yesterday, today was heaven. Sun. Reasonable wind. NO rain. High of about 60--very reasonable.

    And yes, we're having a great time. London is amazing. Highly recommend coming here if the opportunity arises.