On the agenda for day 2:
Big Ben (really the name of the bell inside the clock tower)
St. Paul's Cathedral
Dinner at Hard Rock
I am pleased to announce that we accomplished all but 1 item from the agenda. Impressive for a family of 6 forging their way through the city.
After a hearty breakfast and a check of the weather conditions we headed for the tube. The Things were rather excited about this part of the journey, their first underground train experience. A short two stop ride and we were at the bus stop where the Original Big Bus tour would collect us for the day.
With this particular bus route we were allowed to hop on and off the bus as we wanted. And we did. The first stop was Hamleys. A 250 year old toy shop, filled to the brim with 7 floors of pure FUN! We ventured to each and every level. The Things raced cars, received sparkle tattoos, flew a remote control helicopter and even posed for a photo with a Lego Buzz Lightyear.
There were even costumed Knights and Ladies greeting us as we entered. From there it was time for a hot chocolate. The wind was quite a force to be reckoned with on the top level of the bus. We found our way to Carnaby Street.
An infamous street where rockers such as Jimi Hendrix and McJager have enjoyed a few pints together and near the shopping district where the first mini skirt was sold. Ever.
Back on the bus and onto another sight. Along the way we passed Big Ben, The London Eye and Trafalgar Square. St. Paul's Cathedral awaited. And on the steps the Things seemed rather small.
You are not allowed to take photos inside the Cathedral. I merely stood in awe at the majestic architecture, painted ceilings and mosaic floors. We visited the Crypt, the Chapel and the Whispering Gallery. And then Thing 2 and Thing 3 climbed over 1,000 steps with me to a viewing balcony. The view was phenomenal and worth every stair. We learned the history of the Cathedral, read efegees from the 1600's and quieted ourselves in amazement. Truly breathtaking.
Lest you think that was the end of our day, oh no. We refueled at a delish, all natural cafe. The tomato soup warmed me and I was energized for round two. On to the London Tower. The Things weren't quite sure what to expect which made the experience that much better. We were greeted by a Yeomen Warder, more commonly referred to as Beef Eaters.
We followed one of the Warders on a guided tour in which he proceeded to inform and possibly scare the Things. Stories were told of executions, traditions related to such and all the details of torture and blood that took place within the Tower. Fascinating. And to think they thought the tour would be "boring". Hardly. We also gained knowledge as to the qualifications of such Warders and why they are referred to as Beef Eaters. Truth is, they don't really know.
Once again we boarded the bus and toured the city. This time our destination was Hyde Park. Our touring had come to an end. The Things were troopers and remained engaged and interested throughout the day. I kept pinching myself. The entire day was surreal. London. With my Things and Husband Jared.
What a gift.
And at the end of the day the tired, overwhelmed Things posed for one last photo for their Mama.