Tenacious, Insatiable, Treking Sisters Italian Adventure travel blog

Buckingham Palace from St. James park.

Tower Bridge - not London Bridge

Arrived in London around 11:00 local time and took a surface train from Stansted airport directly to the Paddington station. From there we walked right to our hotel. Only a few blocks. Our hotel is in a strip of once was probably townhomes laid out in a square with a park in the middle. All of them in this area and throughout other areas we discovered, converted to hotels. Our room is small, but does have it's own bathroom, unlike Venice. The bathroom however, was added in the last few decades and is a "unit" that Ross comes to call the space capsule.

Every once in awhile there is this noise and rumble that crescendos then disappears. A line of the tube system is directly below us it seems. We come to hardly notice this, but at first is somewhat frighting. Other than that, we are quite happy with our hotel and its location. And we especially enjoy the great English breakfasts each morning. This includes 2 eggs cooked however, beans, sausage, and ham and sliced tomatoe. This is really opulent for me. I'm used to dry packaged toast, maybe a croissant and yoghurt.

London itself is hard to get used to at first. It's so different than Italy. Waiters, and ticket people, and people in the line with you are so polite. Even the subway voice is polite- "Mind the gap".

The first two days we joined a ON/OFF bus tour. This gave us a lay of the land and plan as to what sights we wanted to see. Throughout our 5 days in London we saw plenty including the Tower of London, British Museum, St Paul's (yes we climbed the dome) and Hampton Court. We even toured a British WWII battleship anchored in the Thames beside the Tower Bridge. This seems like an odd choice for those of you who know me, but my dad served on ships like this during the war and I had never seen one close up. The tour came with an audio that gave us details of what we were seeing as well as documentaries of those who served. This commentary along with actually climbing into the boiler room made it pretty emotional for me. I tried to imagine what it must have been like for dad in this cramped space knowing that it would have been hot as hell, noisey and probably next to impossible to climb out of in an emergency. But dad was on 2 ships that were torpedoed and sank, so he did it. Twice. I wish he was still around for me to say I'd been there.

As you've probably all heard the London tube system is very involved yet extremely efficient and pretty easy to use once you get used to it. We were on it constantly and learned to avoid the busy times making it really comfortable to use.

Overall the crowds at all the sites were less than Italy. Most sites we walked right in. The only time the crowds were overwhelming was on our last day - Saturday, we decide to walk down Portebello road for a second time. We had done it the day before and it was busy, but fun. This time there were so many people you could hardly move.

We enjoyed great weather in London. It was cool and drizzling the second day there, but other than that, it was sunny and clear. Our last morning there before we took the train to the airport, we walked through St James park in the beautiful fall air. The leaves just beginning to turn and brilliant blue skies made it wonderful.

We left for home on October 10th. We both enjoyed London, and are very glad we came. We learned so much touring all the sites. But I'm not sure we'll be back. There are too many other places out there.

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