My Bus Tour was really a River Cruise Day

Trip Start Mar 26, 2011
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Trip End May 01, 2011


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Where I stayed

Flag of United Kingdom  , London, City of,
Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Today was my day to take the bus tour that I booked along with my railpass (that allows me to use the underground and buses and maybe something else too).  I started a few blocks from the hostel and got a bus to Piccadilly Circus where I was to switch to one of the main lines.  I was going to do the yellow bus because it was in English and you didn't need the earphones, but they were doing construction and the buses weren't stopping at the usual place that I had been directed to so I ended up on the red line.  i got on the open top deck of the double-decker tour bus.  I also had to wait for the right company since 2 companies were operating from the same stops.  We went past the Horseguards and Parliament, Big Ben and over the Westminster Bridge.  I got off here near the London Eye (the giant ferris wheel) to catch my Thames River cruise.

I really liked the cruise.  It began to rain a bit so I put on my raincoat.  It seemed like real London weather rather than the sunny to overcast of the days before....although I was grateful for those.  The boatman told us about various features along the river...lots of significant buildings...I wish I could remember them all, but I do remember the old Scotland Yard, London Towers, various docksides (I have forgotten the names of), the east side where the poor people lived and the other side that was most heavily bombed during WWII.  We also saw new apartment and commercial development with high-rise buildings down along the east side...I can't remember the name of that area now.  Oh, we also saw the dome of St Paul's Cathedral.  The turnaround point was Greenwich and the boatman had recommended the sights there so well....plus I had just finished a book on the prime meridian...so I was inclined to do a major excursion and get off the boat here.

It was after two....I wish I had started earlier again....I headed up the hill to the Royal Observatory where I took a photo of my feet on each side of the meridian.  I saw many of the early chronometers that I had read about and Hershel's telescope too.  In the astronomers' quarters there was a lovely octagonal room designed by Sir Christopher Wren.  Then I checked out the new observatory and the planetarium show...a depiction of tonight's stars where we got to see close-ups of the Milky Way and Andromeda.

By this time I had to rush to catch the second to last boat back.  It made a stop at London Tower and I was so struck by the buildings that I decided to get off here and make my way back by Tube.  The 24-hr Bus Tour may be 24 hrs but it takes a big break after 5 pm or so until the next morning.  I should check to see what time they start but I didn't find it was all that useful...I should have just gotten a ticket for the Thames Cruise and used my railpass to get from one point of interest to another.

In any case, after getting off at London Tower, which was now closed on the inside, I made my way to the Tower Bridge and walked across that.   Along the Thames there are a lovely series of paved walks that are heavily used by runners....there are lots of runners here in London as well as speedy cyclists in spandex.  So I took the walk on one side until I got to another bridge...I am not sure which one...and crossed over but then I must have crossed over again since I arrived at St Paul's at long last which is on the same side of the Thames as London Tower.  It is amazing to see all these places that are so much a part of the history I absorbed over the years:  London Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Greenwich, etc.

i almost decided to eat fish and chips at a pub near St Paul's but then I was kind of tired so I headed back to the hostel by Tube.  I got on at St Paul's, switched from the District line to the Picadilly line and was back in no time at all.  I went to the neighborhood pub I had checked out the first night and got some chips and a real English beer.  The barmaid recommended it as springy and it was light and springy!  Ooud was going to the lounge when I got there but she decided to come back to the room and we chatted.  Now she is in bed so I should probably give up writing for tonight.


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