I landed in London, England yesterday. The flight from Greece was long, but I was able to sleep on the airplane. After arriving, I checked into my hotel. I am staying at the Grange Rochester Hotel. It is pretty fancy, but it is close to Big Ben and the other sites that I want to see here in London.
The first thing I did was to sign up for a Double Decker Bus tour. Our first stop on the tour was at Buckingham Palace. Here we were able to get off the bus and watch the changing of the guard ceremony. This happens on odd days in December and starts around 11:00 am. As you can tell from my 'you tube' video, there were people from around the world watching this ceremony speaking all sorts of different languages. It was fun to watch how the guards marched with these short little steps. They made me wonder how they kept those tall black hats on their heads.
After the ceremony ended, we took a quick lunch break. More than 225 million portions of fish and chips are served in the shops of London each year. Sort of the McDonald's of London. So we had to try them. Fish and chips is a serving of fried fish, usually cod. The chips are a fried potato, sort of like a french fry. The whole meal is wrapped in a newspaper cone and handed to you. It is a meal to to that you eat with your fingers.
Next, we stopped at the London Eye. This is a huge Ferris wheel type structure that was built in 1999. It is 135 meters high and has 32 capsules attached to it. We got into our capsule and rode around the wheel looking out at the sites of London. I was amazed to learn that up to 10,000 tourists ride on the wheel each day.
Then, the bus took us to the Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower. This is where Big Ben is located. There is a massive clock in the tower. There is one face of the clock on each side of the tower. At night, all four faces of the clock glow in the dark. I was most impressed to learn that Big Ben's timekeeping is regulated by a stack of coins that are placed on the clock's huge pendulum.
The Double Decker Bus is a great way to see the city. The top of the bus is open, sort of like a huge convertible car. You can get a student ticket for 11 British Pounds. This is about $18 in US currency. Compared with cabs, this is a very cheap way to see the city. The drivers point out interesting sites. Then, you can hop on and off the bus to explore sites more thoroughly.