We are on our way back to reality today. We got off of the ship at 8 AM, traded in our 95 Euros for 74 pounds (about $110), took the bus to Heathrow airport, walked 50 yards from where we were dropped off, picked up the hotel “hoppa” bus, got to the Renaissance Hotel about 11:15 AM, waited until noon when they would let us into our room, unloaded our bags, and got ready to go into London.
The concierge told us to catch a free city bus back to terminal 1,2,3 at the airport, catch the tube aka the underground aka the London subway into the city. The day pass cost about $10 each.
It took about an hour to get to London. Since we had seen most of the sights of London eight years ago when we were here, we had decided to just walk around until we got tired. I had told Jim there were two things I wanted to do in London: 1) feed the ducks and 2) have some sticky toffee pudding, a favorite dessert we learned about eight years ago. He told me the chances of finding it in the city were slim, because it was more of a country thing.
When we were here before we used to walk through the park and feed the ducks the stale croissants we got in our room every morning. I took about eight rolls off the ship in hopes of doing this again, so we got off at the St. James Park stop. After we exited the tube station we saw a pub and decided to stop for lunch. Jim had fish ‘n chips, and I had a farmer’s plate. The park was only a couple of blocks away, and I fed the ducks as we walked through while Jim took pictures.
Buckingham Palace is across the street from the park.
From there we could see Big Ben, our next destination.
There was an anti war protest going on across the street from the Parliament building. There weren’t many people around it, just a lot of tents and signs.
After taking pictures of Big Ben, Westminster Abbey (we didn't go inside since admission was over $20), and the Parliament building we walked across the River Thames to the Eye.
From there we started down the river walk towards the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.
We could see St. Paul’s Cathedral across the river, and planned to cross over and walk by it on our way back.
By the time we got to the Tower Bridge it was about 6 PM and our feet were beginning to get tired.
We started walking towards St. Paul’s, knowing we wanted to find a convenience store to buy some food for breakfast and some place to eat dinner. Our pounds were dwindling fast, so we had to be frugal in the store. We bought a four pack of muffins for 1 pound, and Jim bought a sandwich-we had 18 pounds plus some change left for dinner. Around 7 PM we walked by the Cannon Street tube station and decided to forget walking as far as St. Paul’s and instead just find someplace to eat, and then head back out to Heathrow. A couple of blocks from the station we saw a nice looking pub that advertised gammon steak for 5.99 pounds. It is a ham steak that Brynn and Eunice had told us about, so we decided to try it. Inside Jim picked up a menu, and looked at the dessert section and low and behold we saw...sticky toffee pudding! I was so excited, but we had to count our pounds. The gammon steaks were 5.99 pounds each and the sticky toffee pudding was 2.99 pounds each...17.96 pounds total. PERFECT! We ordered the food at the bar and sat down and rested our weary feet. The gammon steak was a salty piece of ham with two fried eggs on top. It came with chips (french fries to us), a baked tomato, and a large fried mushroom. It was good but nothing special. Then came the sticky toffee pudding-it was so good.
After we ate we walked back to the tube station and headed back to Heathrow. We got back to our room just after 9 PM, got everything ready to go in the morning and hit the pillows.