Come, Join Us On Our Trip To
LONDON and GREAT BRITAIN
May 25-31, 2006
DAY 1, MAY 25th
On May 24, we flew from Orlando International Airport to Miami, then on to London's Heathrow Airport. After an 8 1/2 hour flight, we landed around 9:15 a.m. on the 25th, and were transferred to our hotel, the CROWNE PLAZA LONDON-ST. JAMES. I immediately realized I had made the right choice in deciding NOT to rent a car and drive. The traffic was horrible. The hotel is a 4 star hotel just down the street from Buckingham Palace.
I told Suz that we could truly call this hotel A-MAZE-ING since we felt as if we were in a maze as we found our way to our room, #478. Once we were in and unpacked we took the Underground or "TUBE" over to Paddington Rail Station to collect our train tickets for Saturday's trip to Gloucester. We found the area quite safe as we were about a block from NEW SCOTLAND YARD.
Once this was done we ate some lunch at the ADAM AND EVE PUB on Petty France, just up from the St. James Park Tube Station.
You can research Pubs in the UK at BeerInTheEvening.com
We spent the rest of the day resting from our day's travel. We ate our dinner at the BUCKINGHAM ARMS PUB, also on Petty France. Both establishments had good food. The Adam And Eve even had a separate NON SMOKING ROOM which could seat about 12 people. Below is a map of this area using GOOGLE EARTH and here's a wider view
(You can download GOOGLE EARTH at http://earth.google.com/)
DAY 2, MAY 26th
Early this morning, we had to walk to the Jolly St. Ermin Hotel, just down the street from the St. James Park Tube station where we were "collected" for our all day tour, DISCOVERING LONDON. (All our excursions were booked on line through the site: HOLIDAYtoLONDON.COM). Today's tour was conducted by EVAN EVANS, whom I will NEVER voluntarily patronize again. We were taken to the VICTORIA COACH STATION where we found a horribly disorganized mess. I stood in the queue (line) and collected our extra passes to the London Eye, which we would visit later. Then we stood in the queue for our bus. After considerable confusion we loaded the coach and headed off to Westminster Abbey. I was amazed at the burials of famous people in the floor of the Abbey, such as Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Goeffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens and too many to remember or mention. The Coronation Throne was interesting, as were the tombs of Royalty such as Queens Elizabeth I, Mary I and Mary, Queen of Scots. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside the Abbey. They did tell us one interesting story (I don't know how true it us). The official name of Westminster Abbey is The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster. Early on there was a tax made on coal to help with the building or repairs to the Abbey--BUT, the money was "redirected" to aid in the building of St. Pauls. Hence the phrase "ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL."
An excellent article on the history of Westminster Abbey can be found at Wikipedia.
After this tour we drove past #10 Downing Street and on to the north side of St. James's Park. We "alighted" from the coach and crossed into the park. Shortly after we were able to see the Palace Horse Guards, the Palace Band and the Palace Guard as they marched down to the palace for the CHANGING OF THE GUARD. (We were lead to believe that we would be able to see the changing of the guard on this tour. Yet another strike aginst Evan Evans).
Following the Guard's Parade, we moved on to lunch at the SILVER CROSS PUB on Haymarket Street, Just down from Trafalger Square. Luch was over cooked, slow and late causing us to miss the boat for the Thames River Cruise.
We proceeded to "plan B" causing us to drive to the TOWER OF LONDON for our tour. Enroute we Passed St. Paul's where Prince Charles Married Lady Diana Spencer, AKA Princess Diana.
The image of St. Paul's comes from Planet Media's CD Postcard.
We bsoon arrived at the TOWER OF LONDON where we had about 1 and 1/2 hours to see all that we could see. Unfortunately, the quesues were quite long so our time was very limited. Although no pictures were allowed to be taken of the Crown Jewels, which are housed in the Tower of London, here is an article, with pictures found at wikipedia-Crown Jewels.
There is also a good article about the Tower of London, itself, also at Wikipedia-Tower of London. First we saw the TOWER BRIDGE, often mistaken for London Bridge.
Then there were the Tower Guards.
and the Beefeaters.
Then there's the tower, itself!
Finaly, we boarded a tour boat and cruised up the thames toward Big Ben and Parliament. I took only 1 picture from the boat, one of the London Eye.
As we exited the boat, the tour group leader, Trudy, was nowhere to be found. I only found the coach quite by accident. At that point the tour was ocver and they were preparing to drop us off at different spots. Since our location near Big Ben was the same distance from our hotel as Victoria Station, where we were to be left off, we informed Trudy we would just walk from there. We arrived at the hotel quite tired and, after an hour or so of resting, we decided to go eat dinner at one of the local pubs. We ended up at the Adam and Eve where we shared a delisious plate of nachos. The rest of the evening was devoted to resting in preperation for our next day's trip to Gloucester.Day 3 and 4