27 September 2013

Playing tourist

Never fails.  Go off world for a week and I spend 3 weeks playing catch up.  

Slowly catching up on my chores/work/blog readings.  I will be trolling the net trying to catch up on everyone's updates.  In the meantime, I need to finish up my road trip from last week.  So many pictures, so little time...

After spending the afternoon with RC and his lovely wife, I was looking forward to spending some time exploring London properly.  When I was over there two years ago to meet up with RC, it was a weekend "drive by".  I basically had 24 hours in country to see as much as I could see.  This trip, I deliberately planned a few extra day to see the sites.  Woke up at early and had breakfast at the B&B.  Part of the B&B's attraction was free WiFi and a full breakfast service.  That boils down to pretty much anything you could think of.  The first morning, I went for all the marbles - a full English Breakfast.  For those not familiar, this is usually juice, toast, tea/coffee and eggs, bacon, mushrooms, bangers (sausage) and beans.  Normally, I do not eat much for breakfast, but, hey, I figured that, while in England, why not try the real thing?  Way more than I had expected.  I ate so much that I skipped lunch and had an early dinner.

I had planned to hit the town hard, but, took my time getting started (answering e-mails).  I debated buying one of those London passes that allows you access to a large number of tourist sites/spots (Tower of London, Tower Bridge, etc.), but you need to start that early in the day (0900) to get the most benefit.  Instead, I opted for the tour bus tour of London.  I know, cheesy, but I find that, when hitting a new town like London, getting a general tour of the town gives you a foundation to work from.  This was one of those open top Double Decker bus tours that will take you all over town extolling the sites and history of London.  One thing I liked was that it was a "hop on, hop off' deal which meant you can get on or off at any of a number of spots along the route.  Another bus would be along in 15 minutes or so.  While it was campy, it was a good tour, despite the rain.  And, it DID rain.        

Some of the sites I saw along the route:
Trafalgar square
Tower of London (Warder tour)
The Shard
St Paul's Cathedral
Optometrist along Fleet Street

London Eye
From the top of the bus

Blue trees around St Paul (never did get the story on those)


 The Monument (311 steps to the top)
Sherlock Holmes pub

And while I was out wandering all over town, I had to go check out the Death Ray tower to see if it lived up to the hype.  Easy to spot - just a few blocks over from the Tower of London.
Because of its concave shape, at certain times of the year, on sunny days, the sunlight will be focused on a spot on the street below the building.  Think magnifying glass and ants...

I found the spot on the street where the light was focused and can honestly say it was uber hot!  Was like standing directly under a very intense heat lamp.  Temp difference was at least 10-15C higher than ambient.  I could see why it has become a unofficial tourist attraction.   

I rounded out the day with a pint at the Sherlock Holmes pub.  Had to head back to my room and pack up for my trip to Wales.  


ShadowRun300 said...

So nice that you allow us to see London through your camera lens! I was there years ago, but I was a teenager and not interested in much of the tourist stuff. I saw it all, I just wasn't interested. If I had known then what I know now... sigh.
Anyway - the tour buses may be cheesy, but they are a great way to get an overall view of the city. Nice that you were able to get on and off. The one in St. Louis is just ON.
Hope you're finally caught up at work, so you can get back to the important stuff like blogging. It's not quite the same without your two cents. :)

terri said...

I would totally do the tour bus tour. For anyone who is not a very experienced tourist, it could get really expensive trying to figure out what to see and how to get there. This seems like a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck. And you got GREAT pictures!

I'm not a fan of rain, but I would really love to see London. One of these days...

agg79 said...

SR300, Yea we really didn't appreciate things we were younger. I am making up for lost time. The bus was a pretty neat deal. You could hop on and off as many times as you liked and the ticket was good for 24 hours. I used to get from one spot to another without having to use the tube.

Terri - you have GOT to go. If not for the sights, at least to meet RC. Lots of fun things to see/do. Just bring a rain jacket.

meleah rebeccah said...

"Never fails.  Go off world for a week and I spend 3 weeks playing catch up."

Yep. I was just offline for two days - because of a terrible flare up - and it's taking forever just to catch up with blogs and emails.

"Instead, I opted for the tour bus tour of London.  I know, cheesy, but I find that, when hitting a new town like London, getting a general tour of the town gives you a foundation to work from."

I don't think that's cheesy. I think that's smart.

And wow - these pictures are absolutely amazing. I especially like that concave crazy shaped building!

Abby said...

Great sights!

Was the concave building designed on purpose to bake the street dwellers? Or was that just a favorable side effect?

And yeah, what is UP with the blue trees???