Tuesday, July 8, 2014

London - Day Two

Again - the pictures are on Facebook.  So sorry about that.

Well - it was almost 8 AM before we actually got out of bed.  My back was so sore - I thought I was paralyzed. But I managed to get up and stretch a bit and I was fine.  I wasn't sore from the mattress - nope - just from staying in bed so long.

Today was Hop On - Hop Off bus day.  We went and bought tickets and then we were off.  Thankfully the stop for the bus is only a short walk from the hostel. We started off on the top deck which has no roof.  It isn't all that warm here and I brought a sweater. M wore pants, sandals (more sensible ones than the day before), and a blouse, but NO sweater.   So like the good Mom that I am - I lent her my sweater. Then I had to hug my arms to my side and had my back pack on my lap in order to stay warm!!!!!    Ah children - they never learn. I guess you could say - that I (as the Mom) was unprepared - but she is old enough to know how to dress. Let's say that tomorrow - we will both dress warmer, although I was fine with my sweater - when I did have it.

We saw some beautiful sites along the way, but our main goal was to get to the river for two reasons - we wanted to see the London Eye and the Aquarium. Off the bus and went to find something to eat.  Ah - here is a souvenir shop - I wonder if they have something somewhat inexpensive for M to wear.   Yep - we found a jacket/sweatshirt - not tacky and only 20 pounds.

Fish and chips for lunch which was NOT cheap. Then we were off. To brave the LONDON EYE.   For those of you who do not know me - I am NOT that keen on heights.  I remember one night long ago in Montreal when a friend of mine and I took some ferris wheel type ride. I had on high heels and you could hear my heels tapping the entire time on the metal floor of the chair.  My legs just wouldn't stop!   I wanted to be brave for my kid. So I sucked it up and there we were in the line.

It is pretty cool as this wheel does not stop to get you on and off (unless you are in a wheelchair).   The doors open - people get out and the new group gets herded on. The doors shut and someone flips a latch on the outside.  Yikes - and we were off.  OK - so at the beginning - you can feel the movement.  It feels like it is swaying, but it is not. I sat down to start and then I realized that nothing bad is going to happen - so I stood up, walked around and took pictures.   It was great - and absolutely amazing to see London from that angle.

We took lots of pictures of Big Ben and I thought of my Grandpa Mills. He was born in London and when he was nearing the end of his life, one of the few things that he remembered was Big Ben and he talked of it all the time.  Yes - Grandpa - you were in our thoughts today.

Once we were getting close to the end, someone flipped the latch open on the outside, the doors open - we were herded out and then two men with mirrors on a stick were in quick as a wink to view the underside of the bench. Checking for bombs???  gum???? - yes - must be gum!!!!!    And then they were out and the next group herded into the car.   WOW - quite an experience.

We also had the opportunity to watch a short 3D video of the London Eye and views from above. So we zipped in to watch that.  Then we were off to the Sea Life Aquarium.  Wow -  M for some reason is fascinated by aquariums. We went to one in Paris, she has been to New York, the new one in Toronto and now London.  I have no idea where the fascination has come from, but it is there.

Saw some amazing creatures.  Very cool and the penguins were very cute.  Apparently we had also purchased the Behind the Scenes ticket. We were the only ones and had a great chat with a very enthusiastic employee about the life of the sea creatures and the future of the world.   It was pretty cool.  Did you know that the starfish in the touching tank (well at Sea Life) works three hours, then gets TWO days off.  I mean - how lucky is that.   We got to see baby sea horses, baby jelly fish, the quarantine area, and the feed preparation area.  It was as interesting as the aquarium itself.   I am glad that we did that.

Then M (who had fish for lunch) and was affected by the smell in the behind the scenes area - wasn't feeling the best. So we got back on the Hop on Hop Off bus. She snoozed for a bit and we went right into the heart of London - into the financial district.  By the time we got back to the London Eye - she wanted to get off for waffles - so we did.   YUM - we had them fully loaded - whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce.

Back on the bus and trying to get back to the hostel. It started to rain and there was no room below so we put on our rain ponchos!  Oh yes - very attractive. Our stop is the LAST one on the route. Then we stopped at the grocery store to grab something to eat and finally made it to the hostel AFTER eight PM.  I know - a long day. Not quite 10000 steps and my Fitbit did NOT register the London Eye steps.

Just eating now and getting pictures loaded and the blog done.   Then it may be an early night again, although not nearly as early as last night. We have had NO TROUBLE getting around.  Everything is pretty easy to find and so far so good.

I have NO IDEA how many people they have crammed into this hostel, but it is hopping.  A LOT of Europeans here and the soccor game is on.   Oh my - Germany just scored!

On that note - I am out of here.

Have a great day!!!!!


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