I begged and pleaded with Eliza, so we had lunch at the Tate Modern (lovely restaurant--and got to watch the graffiti artist paint the glass--from inside the glass) before proceeding.
We caught the "Tate Boat" down the river--it runs between the Tate Modern and Tate Britain (think JMW Turner!!), stopping at the London Eye en route. So of course, we stopped off. Daunted by the long line, we sat in the park and watched people until a later boat arrived.
Here's the Eye:
And the park alongside:
The ride along the river was gorgeous. I wish we'd had time for a longer one, like up to Greenwich or something. As it was, we saw some pretty and funny sights.
Eliza liked the Lifeboat Pier: she could picture someone like John Cleese running up to it in a panic to rent (let?) a lifeboat for some crisis. It just seemed very...English and orderly...
Here's the King's Reach. (don't ask me--that's what it says)
I love all the bridges:
Lots of development along the river. Here's a quasi-Dubai-on-Thames:
The boat arrived at Tate Britain at about closing time, unfortunately, so no Turner this visit. (I know--it's like sacriledge or something.) So then we walked. And walked some more. Around Westminster. Buckingham. Green Park and St James' Park and White Hall.
So I saw the sights. And the pigeons. And the results of the pigeons:
But then we got to Buckingham Palace...
and the lovely Queen Victoria's Memorial: (well, the Memorial, at least)
But then we got to Parliament:
And here I am with beloved Big Ben:
At this point, we were pretty much on fumes, looking for a) a Waterstone's (bookstore) and b) a restaurant. Please. And as we wandered almost deliriously, we saw this stunning bus:
Then we stumbled across this memorial:
...which I'm not really sure what to make of, as the women of WWII are all apparently disembodied uniforms...?
and tripped down the street and had a fright:
Is there no escape???
I was sort of relieved when I realized it's just (?) a restaurant.
And then we found a thai restaurant. And there was much rejoicing.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, the main lifts weren't working properly, and we noticed this on our way up and down the stairs:
Isn't that backwards? I mean, the opposite of how it works here? One of the fascinating things about travel is all the opposites. Like, going through security at Heathrow, your laptop must be left INSIDE the case, not outside like here (they have better equipment). In Norway, the dial telephones start with 0 and work their way counterclockwise around the dial down to 1, the opposite of the US. And in the UK, apparently, some lifts only work in fires--again, the opposite of the US. I think a time-motion study is required. Or something. Maybe they're on to something and this would account for the weakness of the dollar...?
Anyway. Stay tuned.
Love, Swatchy C