Success is getting what you want; happiness is liking what you get

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sightseeing Bus Tour & River Cruise

Today we joined a whole double decker bus load of tourists for the Original London Bus Tour. This took in all the famous sights of London. Trafalgar Square was packed with people watching the Olympic games on two huge screens. According to legend, if Big Ben ever strikes 13, the 4 lions at the base of Nelson's column will get up and walk around Trafalgar Square.

"The Original Tour" Bus

The traffic was painfully slow but this made it easy for photo opportunities. We drove past all those important places such as Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St Paul's, Fleet Street, and passed the spot where the Great Fire of London started. We criss-crossed over 6 of the bridges spanning the Thames, saw Cleopatra's Needle, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, The Ritz Hotel and drove down Piccadilly. Due to the congestion, all this took 3 hours. There are big recruiting ads on the sides of buses offering £500.00 plus to new drivers. Robin commented that it wouldn't be enough pay to compensate for all the stress of driving in London.

Then we joined the boat "Millennium City" for our Thames River Cruise down to Greenwich. It gave us quite a different perspective passing under the bridges. Our commentator relayed all sorts of interesting facts, such as the Globe Theatre being the only building to have a thatched roof in London. Thatched roofs have been banned in London ever since the Great Fire of London and it took an Act of Parliament to allow the Globe to be re-created as it was in Shakespeare's time. We passed a replica of Sir Francis Drake's ship, the Golden Hind and marvelled at the many apartment buildings lining the Thames, obviously all very expensive with their river views,

Built for the purpose of finding longitude at sea, the Royal Observatory is home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Meridian Line. Sir Christopher Wren designed the observatory with it's striking octagon room. Now a museum, it tells the story of the development of an accurate ship's clock which made it easier for captains to pin point their position at sea.

Royal Observatory, Greenwich

On board for our return journey the Tower Bridge had opened up to let a tall ship pass through. This only happens a couple of times a week so we were lucky to be on the river at the right time.

Tower Bridge Opening

Walking back to the hotel we came across the Laughing Halibut and stopped there for fish and chips. There is something about English fish and chips, we have to admit that they are far superior to what we get at home. The cod was delicious, with nice crispy batter. At £16.00 for two is was a bit more expensive that what we pay at home, this equates to $40.00 NZ.

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