First stop was Westminster. We had originally planned to meet at Temple Walkabout but since Ben got thrown out of there the night before we thought it best not to tempt the big, beefed up bouncers a second time. Walked past Westminster Abbey on our way to Buckingham Palace. I did an extensive tour of the Abbey last time I was in the UK so we decided to see the changing of the guard at the palace instead. Seems all of the American and Japanese tourists in England decided the same thing.
The crowd was about 10 deep and as fun as standing up on a railing & holding onto a traffic light was, we left and walked down past St James' Park and through to Big Ben. Again it was grey and overcast and drizzly but for the most part the clouds stayed dry and we managed to get a few of the obligatory "Ben with Ben" photos.
Next stop was the London Eye via a McDonald's pit stop and then onto walking to the Tower of London. I didn't realise it at the time but walking from St James' Park to Tower Hill is a very long way and now explains why Ben kept whinging that he has never walked so far in his life. There are weaving pathways down the Thames and so without the benefit of street signs you don't realise exactly where you are. Eventually, after stopping at the Tate Modern on the way, we were spat out at the end of the walkways near Tower Bridge and we climbed the stairs to walk across it.
I'm not sure what I expected of the Tower of London, only it wasn't what I saw. The crown jewels were spectacular and very sparkly but I walked straight past the Koh-i-noor diamond not even realising what it was and that was the thing I wanted to see the most. I'm not picky or greedy. I don't have to have one of the big jewels, but it would be nice just t have one of the gems that adorn the scepters, swords and crowns. Some are so big that they look like costume jewellery.
Am very glad not to be living in the middle ages and having to wear the chain and armour that they had back then. I am also happy to report that there was armour for the horses though. That always concerned me when we were learning about the Crusades back in school, "What about the poor horses?"
Our day came to a close at the pub across from the Tower where a beggar came right up to our table and asked for the food that we were still eating. It would have been sad the first time but when he came back three times it started to get off putting. It did, however, give us something to talk about with the group of guys sitting across from us who we then joined with to have a drink and chat.
Karen and I joined up with Davina and her mates to see the Cat Empire play at Shepherd's Bush Empire Theatre. They are an amazing live band and the atmosphere is electric. Especially when they sing their song "Hello, Hello".
Have decided that there must be a sign on me that says "Hit/Run into/Push me. I like it." Every where we go, shops, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets, people are always bumping into me. They will go around other people and seek me out, I swear. Must say a huge thanks to Mark, Nick, Stu, Karen and Davina for creating my mini-fortress last night at the Shepherd's Bush Walkabout! For ten minutes I was bruise free!