Friday Nov. 28- London
Our last day in London would see us split into five different groups based on individual interests. One was off to Lords Cricket ground to have a guided tour of this iconic location. Others were off to the Westminster region to revisit the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye. Our group had a lovely time in the Eye and even though the weather was fairly awful, the Eye gives a wonderful perspective of the layout of the city. As we walked along the Thames Embankment the delicious smell of hot waffles filled the air and on a cold day they were an absolute must. Filled up with yummy sweet treats we began the lengthy walk along the Embankment all the way to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Christmas markets tempted us along the way and more gifts for grandchildren needed to be bought. The Tower was impressive and full of history but unfortunately the traditional Yeoman guards weren’t doing their thing today due to the rain! Grrrrrrr….. We took in the main features of the place and the Crown jewels were all rather awesome. The kids asked if they were real! Funny young things they are. Tiredness and hunger soon forced into a Subway for lunch its main attraction being the seated area. Oh how our feet and bones ached. Plans for cruising around on the top of big red buses soon were lost as the group decided to get back to the hotel before the chaos of peak hour on the tube. I had booked for most of us to have dinner at the hotel and it was a welcome relief to sit down and relax. As the various groups reunited the sharing of the day’s activities showed that everyone had experienced an excellent day. The Dungeon, Baker Street, Hard Rock Café, Portobello Road and many other famous locales in London were enthusiastically spoken about by out intrepid explorers. It was a great day! Tomorrow is an early start as the bus will be at the hotel by 8.00 a.m. bound for Canterbury.
The Cricket fanatics, plus Scotty, had a magical mystery tour. We had a number of hours before we could get onto a tour at Lord's so we needed to kill some time. Our first decision was to grab the next double decker bus that went past. We jumped on, checked our London A to Z, and realised that we were going to go quite close to the "Oval" so after we enjoyed the views along the way we jumped off and made our way there. It was closed but we all got a photo taken at the entrance. As always in London there was a tube station across the road and with one interchange we were headed to Lords. While we were consulting our maps a passenger asked if we were looking for Abbey Road, (obviously she saw Scotty and realised we had a rock star in the making with us). We replied that we weren't but it did picque our interest. We got out of the tube and started to look for Lords as we were now running late. Jarrad and Hayden ran ahead and after some misleading directions from a local ran too far, but we eventually made it and enjoyed a tour of the most famous cricket ground in the world. Standing on the balcony where Warney did his "happy dance", and sitting on the same seats as McGrath and Waugh and Ponting sat was a thrill for those of us who aspire to great things on the field, or at least used to. After finishing the tour and buying a few momentos we decided to search for Abbey Road. It wasn't hard as we actually walked past it as we went to Lords. A quick stop to have the obligatory photo walking over "that" pedestrian crossing (the locals must get sick of tourists walking back and forward holding up the traffic, or was that just us) and we headed for the Hard Rock Cafe, which was the only reason Scotty came with us anyway. Well done for putting up with the all the cricket nonsense for so long. We made our way there, got off about a tube stop too soon, walked for ages along Piccadilly in freezing, wet conditions, starving as it was 3 in the afternoon and we hadn't had lunch, only to find that it was full and there was over an hours wait to get in. So we went back to Starbucks and got a bit of food and then hit the Hard Rock Store buying T-shirts, key-rings etc. Returning to the cafe the wait had got longer, but we were able to go into the bar area and have a drink and wait for a table. Mal decided that he needed to get the students back to the hotel and so we left Chloe and Flo, who got a table as we left, and headed to the nearest tube, which was packed. So we grabbed a couple of cabs and in ten minutes were back at the hotel ready to eat.