Day 2, 1/6/02. Bus Tour
Today we got up bright and early (well, yeah, ’cause 7am was 3pm our time, mighty late to be getting up!). We went downstairs for our full English breakfast. The staff was not particularly happy with Genevieve’s lack of table manners (okay, she threw a heck of a lot of food on the floor, Shadow our dog usually eats the dropped food so we don’t notice it when we’re home), but the breakfast was really good. I tried the cooked tomato, but as much as I love tomatoes it really wasn’t for me. No biggie, there was plenty more to eat. After breakfast and a few scowls from the restaurant staff (I did try to clean up, though), we were off to catch the “Big Bus” guided hop-on hop-off tour of London. After a bit of a disagreement on how to read the underground pedestrian subway map we got to the designated corner, paid for our tickets and boarded upper level of the bus. Any hope I had of keeping my hair in any semblance of style was quickly dissolved as the fog combined with the wind from the bus gave me a very lovely Farrah Faucet circa 1975 feathered do. Oh well, It’s not like I was seeing anyone I know anyhow! Genevieve loved the bus, she kept shrieking, causing the other tourists to look and see what was the matter (her huge grin convinced them that I was not, in fact, torturing her). The tour guide’s banter about the sites was very informative, but Genevieve was getting restless so we decided to hop off at Buckingham Palace, as I wanted to get a picture of Genevieve with the guards. Unfortunately, you really can’t do that because they’re behind a fence. I don’t know how tourists get those photos, unless they’re all taken during the month of August when the palace is open for touring. No matter. I lost my watch near the statue of Queen Victoria (NOT an attractive woman, in fact none of the queens were particularly attractive. They were rich, though, which I guess compensates!), which gave me a good excuse to need to buy another one while we were there. After Buckingham Palace we walked to the National Gallery (going through Trafalgar Square where I was convinced one of the myriad of pigeons was going to leave droppings on my head) and we spent a few hours perusing the artworks. Monet’s Waterlillies is there, and a few paintings of Venice in the 16th century which I found interesting. We had lunch in the museum cafe, and then caught the bus to the Tower of London, which unfortunately was closing soon (it gets dark at 4pm in London in the winter, so things close early). We checked out the outside and then took the included boat ride back to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. From there we decided that as we couldn’t actually go anywhere at night anyway we might as well take our time getting back to the hotel so a leisurely walk down Regent and then Oxford street was in order. This took us through Picadilly Circus and it was nice to see all of the Christmas lights still up. We walked past Hamleys, famous London toy store, and we couldn’t help but go in. We couldn’t decide what to buy, and they were closing, so we just got a cow book to tide us over until we could go back. You would think that we would have taken the closing of Hamleys as a signal that maybe we better buy diapers lest we run out, but no. By the time we figured out what was happening we passed by closed store after closed store. Finally we found an open Boots and bought diapers for Genevieve, averting a potential catastrophe. Once we were back at the hotel we ordered room service which was okay if a bit wierd (I ordered a smoked salmon sandwich which arrived prepared as all British sandwiches do, more like what we would call tea sandwiches, but it had tortilla chips with it. Didn’t seem to match, this high falutin’ sandwich with mexican chips. Whatever). We gave Genevieve a bath and went to bed.