Another bus

Trip Start Sep 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 20, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, September 19, 2011

Our original plan for today was to go to the Tower of London, then take a walk along the Thames and go see St. Paul's Cathedral. But Katherine felt even crappier today than she did yesterday, so right after breakfast she went back to her room to nap.

About an hour later she was feeling more human, but not quite up for doing a lot of walking, so we decided to take a Big Bus Tour. I haven't done one of them since Katie, John and I were here in 2000, and I honestly don't remember it lasting for over three hours. Can't say we didn't get our money's worth! Part of the reason it took so long is that there are traffic diversions creating chaos everywhere, on top of which traffic is just plain crazy. But it was fun seeing things I hadn't seen in ages (the Monument, for example) or seeing things from a slightly different perspective. One of the nicest things was that I got to see St. Paul's without a speck of scaffolding, which is a first for me – and this is my 11th trip to London in 26 years.

We decided to get off the bus at Harrods so that we could use the bathrooms and get something to eat. At the bathroom, Katherine ran into the two Australian ladies who sat next to her on the flight from Dublin. Small world. One of them had bought a Valentino pashmina, and it came in the most gorgeous red box. She wasn't sure if she'd be able to get the box home, but for me that would be half the pleasure of the purchase!

We had lunch in the Laduree tea room. It was ridiculously expensive, and about halfway through lunch I realized that I hadn't brought my credit card with me and didn't have much cash. Very embarrassing, but Katherine paid for my lunch; I will pay her back. I did, however, have enough to buy some macarons: Katherine chose pistachio, Michelle opted for lemon-thyme, and I had orange blossom. Divine!

Another Big Bus was pulling up when we got back out to the Brompton Road, so we hopped on to continue the tour, which lasted close to another half hour. We got off where we had gotten on in the morning and went back to the hotel.

I eventually went back out because I wanted to see the Animals in War Memorial near Marble Arch. It's been there since 2004, but it's new to me. As you'd guess from the name, it's a lovely memorial to animals who served during wartime in the 20th century. There are two curved walls with a space between them, and they are engraved with animals and sentiment. People have even laid wreaths at the base, some of which are made of birdseed. On one side of the walls are bronze sculptures of mules, and on the other side a horse and a dog. It's moving without being syrupy. The website ( tells more about the memorial and has stories of some of the animals who have been awarded the Dickin Medal. The poem about the horse made me cry!

Walked down Oxford Street – wall-to-wall people – to Bond Street station and went back to Harrods so I could visit the Food Halls and pick up a few things. The Tube was roasting hot and even though I really like the Tube, I can't imagine commuting on it every day.

Katherine called my room around 7:00, and we all went to dinner up the street at Bizzarro. I had puttanesca and tartufo (vanilla ice cream with a chocolate zbaglione center, all covered in chocolate, crushed hazelnuts and cocoa powder) for dessert. I'm now back in my room trying to finish up packing while watching a documentary about Windsor Castle. Ergo, I'm not getting much packing done!

Big travel day tomorrow. Ugh.

P.S. I forgot to mention that yesterday, about a block from Buckingham Palace, we saw a fox
crossing the road!
Slideshow Report as Spam


Yvonne on

I'm so glad you mentioned the Animal Memorial. I've never heard about it and it sounds really cool. I'll have to remember to check it out if/when I get back to London.

minnspark on

Love the Animals in War Memorial! I'm going to check out the website. Have a safe trip tomorrow. What a great vacation you've had!

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