Friday, August 28, 2015

What I Did on My Summer Vacation: England Day 6: London Day 2 : The Tower, Tower Bridge, Harrods, Abbey Road, and More--Shew!

  Our second day in London started out with confusion. Cheryl's hotel was near Liverpool Street station. I had loaded up her bag of goodies the night before so we'd be ready the next morning and could set off early. We arrived at Liverpool Street station and were set to walk to Cheryl's hotel and drop off the bag.

We texted Cheryl for directions. Apparently,'the exit across from Marks and Spencers' can be interpreted more than one way! There were several exits, all taking you out on to a different street. There was also more than one Marks and Spencers. Cheryl misunderstood which one we were in front of, because I didn't know there was more than one.In the end Cheryl told us to just wait and she'd come and get us.

Cheryl gets a look at her presents.
In shuffling the heavy bag of root beer flavoured goodies, (and other stuff.), the handle broke on the bag! Cheryl had seen how the girls shopped the day before, and 'suggested' that if the girls went back to the hotel with her and passed the big market on the way, we would never see anything that day. She thought it was a better idea if she just ran back with the stuff,with Ken as her porter, (It was a pretty heavy load and Cheryl, like me, has a bad back. She was going to transfer the stuff to her wheeled suitcase.),so they could be back quickly and we could get going.She was probably right, but after seeing Ken's pictures of the market, I agree with Ken: the girls would have loved it. When Ken and Cheryl got back, (Cheryl arrived with a new backpack she had bought in the market on the way back, to carry what wouldn't fit in the suitcase.), we headed out for the day. Since it was Sunday I had sorted out things that were open on Sunday, and things we could see no matter what the day or time. First off we set out for The Tower of London.

They were doing some jousting at The Tower.
Ivy had said she didn't want to visit the Tower because with it's murderous history and the stories of it being haunted, it creeped her out. She denied this, so we went and she didn't have a problem with it.
And Emma was really excited to see the Tower...

We saw the crown jewels. Sorry Ivy. No free samples...

Ivy, Emma, Cheryl, and me. Just under the clock behind us is where the entrance is to see the Crown Jewels.
 The Tower was once home to a collection of exotic animals, which were gifts from other countries.For 600 years The Royal Menagerie was entertainment for the royal court and the public. Animals were allowed to fight to their deaths as part of the 'entertainment', and during the time of James I a platform was built from which the fighting could be better observed by the king and courtiers. After the animals escaped from their enclosures several times, attacking each other, the public, and members of the Tower staff, they were sent, in 1832, to what is now the London zoo.

These wire sculptures are representations of the animals that used to live there. They're really amazing. They're all around The Tower in unexpected places.

Emma, Ivy, and Cheryl
Cheryl, me, Emma, and Ivy. My feet were killing me.
   A quick stop at the gift shop on the way out. I bought a Tower of London Christmas ornament that matched one I bought at The National Gallery the day before. (Metal, heart shaped, with pictures of the places on them. Better than it sounds!)  I love Christmas and Christmas decorations. I like to buy an ornament when we go on trips.
The gift shop: Beefeater bears, and ravens. Legend is that there have been ravens at The Tower since the 1600's. They have become part of The Tower's mythology. Supposedly if the ravens leave The Tower the monarchy and the kingdom will fall. Seven ravens are kept at The Tower at the government's expense, (Six, and one in 'reserve' in case something happens to the other six.) There is even a 'Raven Master' to look after them. Recently the whole legend of the ravens has come into question. There's an interesting article about it from The Guardian you can read HERE. Incidentally, I didn't see any ravens while we were there.

The girls and Ken with a real Beefeater, one of the ceremonial guards of The Tower of London.
 From The Tower we headed up to Tower Bridge.

Tammy managed to get out of the purse again. She brought the shirt over with her, the cheat,

Because it's such a famous London landmark a lot of people think Tower Bridge is London Bridge.In fact, London Bridge was in disrepair, and in 1967 it was sold to a rich Arizona business man. The story is that he was a bit upset when it was reassembled for him in Arizona and it looked like this:

...because he thought he was getting this:
This picture was taken from the other side, after we crossed the bridge.

As was this one of The Tower.
Of course,he denies the story. But then, you would...
  Cheryl and I had gone up in Tower Bridge the day we met the first time. (Remember, we had been pen pals back in 1985. I think we had exchanged all of two letters when we met.), and Cheryl had been up fairly recently. And it's a bit expensive, so Ken and the girls went up while Cheryl and I walked over the bridge and found a place to sit down for a while.

We got lucky and the bridge had to be raised while we were on it, giving the girls a chance to see this. It reminded Emma of the movie "Inception", when Ellen Paige's character is learning to 'build'.

Ken, Cheryl, Ivy, and Emma. The bridge is raised to let a boat through. It may have been for show, as, according to Ken, the boat they let through could easily have gone without the bridge being raised.

The girls up in the bridge. I do remember hating that glass floor.
Ah! Those feet on the left belong to Emma and Ivy.
 I have a terrible time finding shoes that don't hurt, and my feet were really starting to bother me. For some reason the second toe on my right foot had decided to start walking on the third. I was developing a blister that by the end of the day Ken would describe as 'an extra toe'.
  After Ken and the girls met back up with Cheryl and me, (and yes, that is grammatically correct. Think about it.), we decided to head for The Globe, the recreation of Shakespeare's theatre, (and, incidentally, the theatre they used for the Doctor Who episode "The Shakespeare Code".) Cheryl insisted it was near enough to walk. I tried to insist that it was, except that we didn't have time to waste and maybe we should take the tube. I was out voted, so we began to walk. I wish everybody had remembered that part later when I got blamed for us running out of time to see the Globe...
  It started getting late and we hadn't eaten. We weren't going to get to The Globe before it closed for the day. So we stopped to eat at a pub on the river called The Mudlark.

The surroundings were pretty, and the food was good, but the service wasn't.

That's a vegetarian pie and gravy! There seemed to be a lot more vegetarian options, as a rule, at most places in England, other than fish and chip places. And it was good too. I couldn't eat it all, but Ken was happy to help...
 The waiter was, we all agreed, a bit rude. It was just not a welcoming experience.
Ivy enjoyed another J2O. I know. It looks like she's not enjoying anything. Ivy frequently looks like that.

I think Emma had black current lemonade. I hate black currant, but it's a very popular flavour for a lot of things in England. Emma has always liked it.

Ken had 'a pint' of something. Bleh.
Since it was too late for The Globe we headed on to Harrod's, to catch them before they closed.
Cheryl and me on the right. Notice that hat hanging out of my bag. There's going to be a quiz later...

Harrod's was one of the places Ken wanted to visit. He hadn't seen much of London in his life, but he'd been there. I'd been before too, and I remember that I wasn't that impressed because everything was too expensive to buy!

Case in point: Remember me posting about mini lamps just like these that I bought at Dollar Tree, for $1? Wow! Harrods has the same ones!
Well, not quite the same! Look at that price!

Harrods is beautiful though.
  The only other time I was there I had bought a Christmas ornament of a crescent moon with a face. What did I buy this time? A Christmas ornament! (A bear dressed as a Harrods door man.) Ken bought food of course.
  Ivy, who is possibly the cheapest human being in the world, bought a wash cloth! It was 6 pounds! For one wash cloth! (Remember, that's over $9!) When we checked into the hotel the night before we found that the hotel didn't have wash cloths. No big surprise, because wash cloths, (or 'flannels', as they are called in Britain.), aren't used by everybody over there. I was the only one of us who had brought theirs.Too bad for you losers! I always travel with a wash cloth, in case I'm somewhere that doesn't have one.
  Harrods closed not long after we got there, so Cheryl and I went outside to wait for the girls, who were who knows where, and Ken, who was scouring the food department. Once outside I realized I had lost my hat. Since it was the only one I had with me and I am supposed to avoid the sun, (You may remember I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my face earlier this year.) I ran back inside to find it. It helped that I knew I had had it when I paid for the Christmas ornament, which was the last thing I did before I left the store. I found the girls, and the nice Harrods employees located my hat, so we went back out to wait with Cheryl. The funny thing is, the only other things I've ever lost in England were an ink pen, (Ok, it was only an ink pen, but Paul McCartney signed my postcard with it...), and a hat. The weird thing about the hat is, I lost the hat when I left it on a bus in Hull: Hull is the town Ken moved from when he came to America! Nobody goes to Hull!)
  Ken couldn't seem to locate which side of the building we we on! It was Liverpool Street Station all over again. It took him ages to find us. I told him to just keep going around the building until he came to us.

Cheryl, Emma, Ivy, and me outside Harrods. Ken did find us eventually.
   From Harrods we left for Abbey Road.

You know. This place.
The last time I was there---Hey! Cheryl was with me there too!---there was no one there. I think one or two locals walked by while we were there. This time was a different story completely. It was packed. The poor drivers were totally annoyed by people constantly stopping traffic to have their pictures taken crossing the road. That made Emma decide she was definitely NOT having her picture taken crossing the road,even though she wanted to. Ken was disappointed, as he wanted to take the girls' picture crossing Abbey Road. I crossed over with them to take their picture in front of the studio.

Emma and Ivy in front of Abbey Road studios, where so much classic music was recorded, not only by the Beatles, but by countless others. Cheryl tried to shame us for taking these pictures and "totally ignoring the musicians coming out the door." I said we weren't ignoring them. "We saw them, we just don't know who they are." Nowdays they have given up trying to get people to not write on the wall, and actually encourage it. They have, however, given up putting the street signs up. They used to have enameled metal ones like the rest of London, but people kept stealing them off the wall for souvenirs. I noticed there isn't a single one around Abbey Road. Or maybe they had all been stolen when we were there...
  While we were over by the studio I told Emma how much her father REALLY wanted their picture crossing the road. She said that she did not want to be the obnoxious problem to drivers that she saw everyone else being, but I pointed out that it wasn't necessary to stop. She could just cross the road normally and I'd take the picture. She said ok, so we got it after all. No stopping.
Going the wrong way, but who cares? The Beatles even had to get over there to start, didn't they?!
  We left Abbey Road and headed for Westminster to see the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
The girls and Cheryl outside the Houses of Parliament.

Big Ben' is actually the name of the bell in the clock tower.

Trying to get a good shot of the Houses of Parliament through the fence.
 Ken was disappointed he didn't get to see Westminster Abbey from the inside.
"What?! You mean we can't go in?!"
It was still light out when we got there, but it was fading fast. Cheryl retired to her hotel to pump herself full of cold medicine and rest up for the next day.
On Westminster Bridge. Ken wanted to go on the London Eye too,(The giant Ferris wheel.) but it was somewhere around 30 to 40 pounds for a 10 minute ride. We all voted no.
Ivy on Westminster Bridge with Parliament behind her.
Parliament, Big Ben, a lamp post, and Ken.
The same, minus Ken.
It was another long day. My feet were killing me. Everybody was tired and grouchy. This is our reflection in the window of the tube train. We had one more day in London. What did we see? Well, the world's oldest toy store for one thing. Stay tuned...


  1. Oh my - 35 to 40 pound for London Eye? I'm shocked... Really shocked! I wanted to visit London in december and I knew that it would be expensive, but that expensive? May I write you a personal email?

    1. Sure you may. Send me a comment with you email address, which I won't publish, and I'll send you an email.

    2. My 19yo daughter would have been so thrilled to go to Abbey Road. There's a similar cross walk at an outdoor mall near us, and she had her picture taken crossing that. In bare feet, of course, because she's like that. I would have been worried about looking too touristy posing at the real one, though.

      Go Buckeyes! Beat Michigan!

    3. Me too! That's why I just have a picture of me on the corner! When we were there in the 80's Cheryl tried to talk me into letting her take a picture of me crossing the road and I wouldn't do it! And in those days she could have done it without being run over by a car too. Emma doesn't care too much about embarrassing pictures though. She's a ham. Although, she didn't want to look like a tourist while we in England.

  2. I have just discovered your blog when looking for a photo of a Monique Gold wig! And enjoyed today's to read some more now. I am a Brit from London but living in Sevilla, Spain, so it was nice to see my 'home town' through the eyes of a touring doll lover :)
    Enjoy the rest of your holidays there :)
    Dolly hugs, Sharon in Spain

    1. Thanks. How did a Monique wig ever bring you here? Funny how one thing leads to another! We are home now. I'm trying to remember all the details!

    2. Goodness knows! Actually I googled photos of the Tessie wig and found some photos accredited to this blog!

  3. Correction, that wash cloth was 4 pounds. I bought nothing, but graciously convinced Ivy to buy things because I am a good sister and she owes me twenty pounds still.

    1. Ok, Ivy agrees with you: 4 pounds. And why would you encourage Ivy to buy things when she already owed you money? See, you're just not thinking.


Thanks in advance for your comments.