Good Evening, Americans & Other Worldwide Friends!
I woke up today with a raging sore throat but not so sniffly. I didn't really feel like getting up, but didn't want to waste a day feeling crappy in my hotel room. But, it took me a long time to get up and get going. To make matters worse, there was NO water when I was ready to take a shower. I waited a bit and then there was water but it completely stopped during my rinse cycle! I had to get out and call down to the front desk. They were unaware of any problems. While I was on the phone the water came back on. So, I hopped back in and finished what I had started. I guess you need to get your shower before 8:30 a.m. before the water pressure goes down.
After finally getting ready, I headed to Starbucks with my phone for a quick coffee and to check for messages. It wasn't working for me and just making me mad, so I went to the bank to get more money so I could finish paying my hotel bill. Last night they had locked me out of my room because I had a balance due. I mean, in the USA, you pay at the end of your stay, not before. Whatever.
Got a wad of money and stuffed it in my money belt so it would be safe all day. Hopped on the Bayswater tube and headed for Westminster Abbey. I must have been in the Abbey for three hours. So much to take in. Pictures were not allowed. But, it is so beautiful. So much history and a lot of over-the-top honoring of the dead.
There were elaborate sculptures everywhere! There were also mini private chapels and lots of effigies. It was interesting to see Queen Elizabeth I's tomb, as well as the current Queen's parents. Several kings and other dignitaries are buried there as well as hundreds and hundreds of other people.
I was surprised that tourists were allowed to walk on top of the marble slabs that were everywhere. A lot of the memorial inscriptions were so worn that you could barely read them.
I noticed something interesting as I was walking through and had to ask one of the red- robed clergymen there. Many effigies were displayed with some sort of animal at their feet. A lion usually meant royalty or power, a dog meant companionship and a porcupine meant something that I can't remember at the moment. He said that they didn't know what the other animals meant. I saw one effigy with a beaver. Strange but fascinating stuff!
When I left the Abbey, I had to use the bathroom so I asked where one was. I was directed to a park across the street. When I got there, I noticed the sign for the public loos. Of course, they were pay toilets again.
Then, since I was right there at Westminster Pier, I decided to get on a riverboat and go to Greenwich. I knew there was a Fan Museum there and it was on my list of things I wanted to see. I had to wait awhile for the boat to arrive. Then it was a good 20 - 30 minutes to get to Greenwich with the 5 or 6 stops made along the way.
The first thing you see at Greenwich Pier is the Cutty Sark. I didn't really feel like going in and exploring everything there is to know about it, but I'm sure I would have enjoyed it if I'd had more time and felt better. So, I took off walking up the street in search of lunch since I was pretty hungry by this time. I found a TexMex restaurant. I decided to give it a try and it was pretty decent. I just got a plate of beef nachos from the appetizer menu. From there I walked around until I found the Fan Museum.
It was very interesting and I enjoyed it. It was something different. I took my time and saw some interesting fans.
I started to slowly make my way back to the pier. I stopped in a few shops but didn't buy anything. There was a huge outdoor market going on—sort of like a flea market. Nothing of much interest there.
I got back to the pier but had to wait a good 20 minutes for the next boat. There was no place to sit. I was tired and cranky and still didn't feel well. I sat down on a chair outside a restaurant until the manager came out and kicked us all off the chairs if we weren't buying anything. I don't know why the river boat services don't install some benches or something! Geez!
It seemed like a very long ride back to London. I figured I'd get off at Millennium Pier and ride the London Eye. But, by the time the boat got there, there were so many people I changed my mind. I had to walk across the bridge to get back to Westminster tube station. About every 20 feet or so on the bridge were shysters playing a shell game. This area was particularly rife with these types. There were also a lot of poorly costumed characters hoping to make a buck if you wanted your picture taken with them.
I eventually made it back to my hotel. I was locked out again, so gave them the rest of my money and put the balance on my credit card. The only reason I didn't pay the full amount with my credit card was because they charge an additional 3% or 4% for processing. With the conversion rate so bad, I don't need to pay any more unnecessary fees! On the bright side, though, I haven't spent nearly as much on food as I had budgeted for. My dinner tonight was a muffin and café mocha. LOL And, I've only paid for one breakfast.
I need to be leaving soon so I can get back to the hotel and do some laundry. I need to pack up and check out in the morning. I don't know yet if I'll have the hotel hold my bags or if I'll take them to Paddington Station to be held for the day. My train doesn't leave until almost midnight tomorrow night. So, I'll still have a full day of sightseeing tomorrow. I guess I'd better try to go to Harrod's.
I'm sad that I won't be able to see & do all that I had hoped in London. I guess I'll just need to come back!
It is my understanding that Paddington Station's First Class Lounge has free wi-fi. Sleeper train customers get to use that lounge, so if I'm able, I'll post another blog tomorrow night. Otherwise, it won't be until I get to my B&B in Cornwall on Saturday (assuming their wi-fi works for me.)
Glad you all are enjoying the blog and photos. I wish I could have taken pictures where I wasn't allowed. I also enjoy getting your messages, so please keep them coming!