June 27, 2010
After waking up to 2 disturbing dreams (One where I was being attacked. When I began to hit back, I awoke to hitting the wall next to my bed. Then in the 2nd dream I lost my purse which had all of my information and money.), I finally woke up completely and decided to do a royal tour or my own and go see Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s Gallery (which is next to Buckingham Palace), Westminster Abbey, and then if time Kensington Palace. After double checking to see if the continental breakfast from the day before wasn’t charged to my bill (it wasn’t), I headed off to the buffet
. Once again same foods as the day before were offered. So I had cereal, bread, fried potatoes, and juice. Decided to use the Big Bus Company (£ 25.00) which is an hop on-hop off bus that goes to all the sites in London. It is a 24 hour pass so if I decide to go somewhere in the morning, I can take the bus until 10:00 a.m. The tour guide on the bus was funny and happy that I was willing to interact with him. He said most people just sat and listened. The day was already sunny and warm on the open air top part of the bus. The tour guide said this has been the warmest June London has seen in years. I joked with him that I had to come to London to get a tan! I visited the Queen’s Gallery which was showcasing Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bringing together over 400 items from the Royal Collection. No picture taking was allowed in the 5 rooms, and this time I couldn’t sneak a shot with so many docents hanging around in each room. It was a lovely visit, lots of beautiful pieces of artwork and jewelry. Also on display were sketches done by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Before heading off to Buckingham Palace, I decided to stop off in the museum’s loo (restroom). And what a loo it was!!! Very posh! Each stall was actually the size of a large closet with an actual door. Maybe that is why the term “water closet” means restroom. There are plenty of public restrooms (although they are called toilets here), but so far of the ones I have used, The Queen’s Gallery has the best
! Next I walked up the street and around the corner to get to the front of Buckingham Palace. The area looked very different in the afternoon without all the crowds watching the changing of the guards from the day before. I took some pictures and then decided to head for Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, the buses go in one direction, so I would have to go completely around the loop again to get back to Westminster Abbey. I decided then to go to Kensington Palace near Hyde Park. On the way there, we were stopped in traffic for 30 minutes due to a police action that completely blocked the route to get to the entrance to Kensington Palace. So the bus made a u-turn in the middle of the road, and we went to the next stop after Kensington Palace. I decided not to take another way there since it was already after 3:30 and I still needed to eat dinner before the concert. I grabbed some McDonald’s again and headed for my room. I ate and then took a quick nap. I headed for the concert after ascertaining that cameras were allowed by checking the Hard Rock Calling website. The sun was still quite high up in the sky for 6:30 and it was still hot. I got my ticket from collections (will-call), and seeing that there was no where to sit other than the ground, I headed for the Hard Rock Café which was a large indoor pavilion. I grabbed a Pepsi and sat down on the carpeted floor next to some open doors that were in a corner and best of all in the shade. Another man was doing the same, so we chatted a bit about my travels and his opinions about where I should go (fellow Beatles fan so he gave me some ideas on how to get to Liverpool since my tour doesn’t include that)
. About 8 I made my way to the standing room only crowds and picked a great spot. Although Paul looked as tiny as an ant from where I was standing, I could see above the crowd since the blacktop path I was on was raised. Two big screens projected his image for the crowds and I watched those most of the time. I ended up standing next to a couple who has been there every day this weekend to watch most of the performances. On the other side was a man named Mark. We chatted up quite a bit. He even offered to get me a beer, but instead got me some water when I declined the free beer. Nice looking chap. Too bad he was heading in the other direction after the concert. After parting ways with him, I followed the crowd to the exits that were directing us to Marble Arch. Unfortunately, when I got to the other side of the street, I had absolutely no idea where I was! It was dark outside and the exit was not in the same area as the entrance. I was speaking to Mom and Dad on the cell to let them know that I was still alive, so I had to ring off and speak to a Bobbie (police officer) to find out where I was. After following his directions and walking a few blocks, I still didn’t recognize anything. I asked some guys in the crowd that was heading in the same direction if Marble Arch was up ahead, and after their confirmation that it was, I felt less unsure. I mean, it wasn’t like I was completely lost, just unsure of where I was. I just didn’t want to be walking in the wrong direction. After walking another block, I say a bicycle cab. Since I have seen them around town and wanted try one for a ride, I asked him if he could take me to my hotel. He said that it was just up one block and around the corner. Since it was within walking distance I thanked him for the info and headed off to my hotel. After a long day I was ready for bed within 20 minutes of entering the hotel.