My youngest sister was visiting England for the first time. In fact she was visiting Europe for the first time and she was putting everything into it to ensure it was memorable. We stayed in the Lancaster London, a very decent hotel very near to Lancaster Gate and across the street from Hyde Park. The hotel is several stories high and my sister opted for ‘a room with a view’ on the seventeenth floor. Once checked in we took The Man and headed for a nearby pub, recommended by a receptionist. Unfortunately, we arrived a few minutes after 10 pm and food was no longer being served. But there is nothing like the excitement of being in London for the first time! A glass of wine sufficed until later when we ordered some not exactly excellent room service. Trish had arrived at Heathrow at 8.30 pm and by the time The Man had driven us to the hotel, we’d checked in, etc. food was not readily available. But the evening was mild and we were able to sit outside and relish the occasion.
|Drinks and Smart Phones|
Once sort of fed, we found our way to the underground station and eventually to our first tourist destination, Westminster Abbey! At the end of October the line of tourists is not too bad and within about 15 minutes we were inside. (I do think the entrance fee of thirteen pounds a bit steep – I know, I know…) I’d not been to the Abbey for 20 years and it’s amazing how fuzzy my memories were – so it was good to see the old place again and to pay my respects to the kings and queens and poets and actors lying around – and the audio phone with Jeremy Irons with his sexiest voice was very helpful. Unfortunately, no time for lunch as we were meeting Husband and Niece at the West Entrance at 1.00 pm. Perfect timing – everyone turned up within a few minutes of being on time.
|The West Gate of Westminster Abbey|
Time for lunch before my sister perished from hunger! The weather was stunning and before long The Man had directed us through crowds amazing for the non-tourist time of year and onto Whitehall where we found a little restaurant with tables outside: soon all were fed and watered and with sunlight still shining away – away we went toward the Eye. Astonishingly there was no queue once the tickets were bought. The two children were extremely well-behaved and entertaining at the same time! Grand-niece held my hand like a very good girl and grand-nephew did not try to take his shoes and socks off! The Man was an excellent tour guide, pointing out the major sites before our eyes, as well as those parts that reflected his own history as a child growing up in post-war London, where bombed out and often dangerous bombed out areas were playgrounds for the children of his day.
|His Royal Highness, the Prince of Cuteness|
|Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Cuteness captured|
by a Knight in Painted and Armoured
|Some of my favourite people in all the world|
|In the eye of the powers that be...|
So ended the first day. Tomorrow would have us Visiting Niece for yummy breakfast goodies, trawling through Notting Hill, being confounded ordering tea at Kensington Palace and a mind-blowing visit to the Theatre! But more about that anon...