Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thursday in Central London! (In which I cruise up the Thames, vote in the NZ general elections, explore Buckingham Palace, and find my way back by tube and bus without getting lost!!)

We hit the ground running this morning, with an early start - so much to pack in to the day!  MyTour  Leader Sue has the route planned to provide maximum coverage of things on my list, and although my body still isn't sure whether it's day or night and consequently whether I should be awake or asleep, I'm ready to show it that I'm in London now, so enough lagging, let's get touristing!

First up was a flight across the Thames by  cable car!  (The Millenium Dome visible in the top photo).
Then we boarded a ferry and sailed up the Thames.  These were really wonderful ways to see London and I loved them both!





We walked down the Embankment,

dull weather, but warm.
Highlights of a day walking round London:
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.  
To be honest, the Houses of Parliament were far bigger than I'd imagined and there was no way they could be photographed, except perhaps from the air.
We crossed over to the historical church of St Margaret's,
and Westminster Abbey, which stands right beside it.

Met this interesting plaque - 
Then walked past the entrance to Downing St, where security guards with big mirrors on poles were checking the underside of cars, 
and along to the Horse Guards.
We were on our way to New Zealand House 
for me to vote in the General Election.  For which, I was surprised to discover, my passport wasn't required!
Piccadilly Circus, all a bit overwhelming - the traffic, interesting architecture,
hordes of tourists, and in some places, bizarrely dressed people.
Through Green Park to Buckingham Palace, which was open to the public, so Sue left me there to collect the children from school, and I took the tour.  What a magnificent place!  Strangely - despite the gilt accents on ceilings, chandeliers and silk wall coverings in places - it was beautifully tasteful.  I'm not big on displays of wealth or opulence but this was just gorgeous.  The state rooms, familiar as backgrounds to the royal family photos over the generations are actually awe-inspiring.  I was enchanted!
In the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
Needed the refreshments marquee afterwards! 
Back through Green Park to one of the highlights - I caught the RIGHT tube, which took me to the RIGHT place to catch the RIGHT bus (a double decker - I was even brave enough to go on top!  Which put me much further away from the door when it was time to disembark, hence the bravery..) to meet up with Sue and the kids at their tennis lesson at East Ham Central Park.  Anyone who knows how geographically challenged I am - well, feel free to marvel!  I DID ask a policeman for help at one point, and I DID struggle to find my way out of the Canning Town tube station, but a most successful first exercise in getting around by London public transport!
Green Park

8 comments:

  1. Fabulous!! Black bogies yet?

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    1. Ha ha no, but Sue has mentioned the phonomenum!

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  2. You are doing so well! I feel nervous about the prospect of instructing my au pair on how to take the local bus to the train station...let alone take it myself!

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  3. When you write it all down it sounds great! Next blog about aching feet and the unique East Ham pedicurist Jess!

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  4. What a wonderful time you are having! Sounds like Sue could rent her tour guide services out!

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    1. Sarah be assured I'm getting paid with Marie having to listen to Ella's endless stories of "My Little Pony" Grace .. well .. generally being Grace and wanting lots of attention from Marie and Amy ... actually she's been easy!

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    2. She TOTALLY could! And she knows ALL the nearest eating places!

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