Saturday, June 13, 2009
Day One in London!
We started out our day nice and early. Lucy's grandad picked us up at 10:20 to take us to the train station. After much deliberation about which ticket to buy, we went to the platform (not platform 9 3/4 like on Harry Potter, although that would have been cool).
And, OH...I forgot to tell you WHY "Grandad" took us to the station, instead of Dork, I mean Jon. It is because Jon left VERY early this morning to go to France for Le Mans (in Okie, that is pronounced li mawn' ~HEAVY accent on the second syllable, think Steve Martin as Pink Panther). He and his friend Jon (weird right, but not as weird as this...the other Jon's wife's name is Lucy, too) decorated the other Jon's old MG like a racecar, packed up all their camping equipment and other accoutremants and headed to a campsite for this 24 hour car race. The best part is this: PATRICK DEMPSEY IS DRIVING IN THIS RACE (SWOON). I challenged Jon and other Jon to get his autograph...we'll see. Below is the picture of the car (nice):Notice the VERY realistic names of the "drivers" on the side. HMMMM....who is the dork? Jon and other Jon, that is who. I hope they have fun and don't get into a fight with a rival "driver" driving a pink VW bug.
Here is a GREAT shot of us traveling though the English countryside (if I do say so myself). We did not succeed in getting starting out travel shots for every day, so I thought I would make up for it by adding extra ones today!
The first thing we did when we reached the station was to put our bags in "kept luggage" so that we wouldn't have to mess with them. Notice the foreshadowing...you will need to remember this later in this blog entry. After leaving the station we ran to the London Eye, to retrieve our tickets (we had prepaid) and we had to "hoof it" to get there for the time we had reserved...we made it and boarded the coolest "pod" with some other people. Our "flight" started and it was a GREAT way to start out our trip to London, because it gave a bird's eye view of the city and allowed me to get my bearings and get an idea where everything was.
After we got off the London Eye, we walked to the Parliament building and got some good shots of Big Ben. It was so crowded in London today. We walked from the past #10 Downing Street where the Prime Minister lives and set about the task of finding somewhere to eat lunch. We stopped at a little sandwich place and got our food. When Lucy went to her bag, there was NO WALLET there. We were more than a little freaked out that someone could have taken the wallet out of her bag, but sat down and ate our food. I assured her that it was probably in the checked bag at the station. (Sidenote~I was not confident this was the case, but I tried hard to appear that I was.) After wolfing down our lunch we went back to the train station and (thank goodness) it WAS in the bag. Whew!! After we got back to normal, we went to the half price ticket booth in Leicaster Square and got tickets for GREASE. (Grease IS the word). Then we sat and had an ice cream, thankful that we could relax for a few moments after "Wallet Scare, 2009". (Lucy had a double scoop~I guess she needed it after that.)
This is a picture of Lucy post wallet scare.
Cool pic of telephone box in Leicester Square.
Next, we walked to Trafalgar Square, where Lucy had pre-warned me that there were lots of pigeons. (I don't like pigeons~or clowns for that matter.) When we got to the square, there were lots of people, but very few pigeons, for which I was very thankful.
After Trafalgar Square, we walked toward Buckingham Palace. Lucy mentioned that she didn't remember there being so many Union Jack Flags on the way to Buckingham Palace. There were also lots of metal barriors up by the sides of the road. We kind of wondered to ourselves what might be happening today or tomorrow. We walked through a beautiful park and even stopped to sit in some deck chairs (for the low, low price of 2 pounds for an hour of sitting, if you can believe it) and watched people and rested. Then we walked the rest of the way to the palace. It is huge and gorgeous and it never stops amazing me that the Beefeaters can stand so still and do everything in such a regimented fashion. We stayed for a few minutes and took pictures, then wandered through the park next to it. We followed the park sidewalk through to Piccadilly street, where it was very bustling with pedestrians and shops. It was really a cool section of town and if I go back it is definitely one of the things I would like to devote more time to.
We wandered through Piccadilly Circus and looked in the shops some until it was time to go to the Picadilly Theater to see Grease. It was GREAT! We both loved it. We clapped and sang along to the songs, like everyone else. I think Lucy may have even gotten some ideas for the school performance. Lucy said the guy who played Danny Zucko was on Britain's Got Talent and came in second or third. I really liked it.
After the performance, we got back on the Tube and got as close as we could to Jon's parents vicarage. Funny, on the way there, we saw this sign, so I emailed it to my son Beck....well...you get the point.
After the tube ride and a short bus ride, we got to the vicarage where Chris, Lucy's mother in law had some lovely dinner waiting for us. We talked about all that we had done that day and mused about the flags and barriers. Chris told us that tomorrow was the Queen's birthday celebration, so we knew it! Something was going on, all right. We discussed the possibility of going to it and decided against it, as we wouldn't have been able to get very close. The next morning, Lucy's Gran called us to ask us if we were going to the palace to see the queen...it was hilarious. It was a great day...we saw a LOT of stuff and met Lucy's MIL who was so sweet, fun and gracious. We slept really hard, so we could get up the next day and get going again! Great day!