Today promises to be a little more…laid back. Got up just after 8 (instead of 5!!) and managed to have a decent breakfast. Now it’s off to find the HOHO bus.
Having never been to London before, hop-on-hop-off seems like a great mode of transportation. They provide headsets to plug in at any seat so one can listen to an audio presentation describing a little about any place you are at the time. There is a total of 43 stops along this route that cover almost all of the ‘major’ venues one might want to see in London. Getting off at any of them gives one the ability to wander the area for a more intimate view. Another will be along about every 30 minutes so you’re never stuck anywhere.
Along with the sights there are the tidbits of information that come with it.
Oxford street, at one time, was the street that prisoners, facing hanging, were taken. As they passed by, the crowds, that gathered to watch, would often pass them a drink to make their final journey a little better. Thus sprang the saying, ‘One for the road’. The driver, of course, could not have one which brought about ‘On the Wagon’.
Big Ben is actually the biggest bell in the tower…the one that rings on the hour. It is not the name of the tower. In fact, the new name of the tower is The Elizabethan Tower.
Trafalgar Square has a plaque laid in the ground that all distances from London are measured.
The world’s first electric advertising was in 1910 and done in Piccadilly Circus.
A stop at Harrods was mandatory. What I discovered was that it is a department store that will quickly put you in your place. Their claim to fame is that they will obtain and deliver anything you wish within 48 hours. I can’t afford to push them on that one. However…
Buy your dog, outfit your dog, have your dog groomed while you shop for a new Rolex or Tag Heuer, a 1979 Chateau Margeaux, a Hermes handbag and Mont Blanc pen to keep tabs of all your purchases. Go upstairs where you’ve reserved a table for two on the terrace. It has been pre-determined for you, both in ingredients and in price (100 pounds…each). And you never have to leave the building.
Now, for all you naysayers that downplay English culinary capabilities, let me enlighten you.
First, remember that you are not at home. So, things will be different. Accept that.
Second, go where the locals go. Don’t travel 5000 miles to go to KFC or MacD’s. Within 3 blocks of our hotel (1 block west and 2 block north) there are probably 20 restaurants of almost every nationality. And at least 4 English pubs. That is no exaggeration. Yes this is a Friday night and payday, but almost every one of those establishments are full and each pub has a minimum of 20 people gathered outside, drinking and eating.
Third, and this points directly at ‘mushy peas’. Consider the following…mushy potatoes (we call them mashed)…mushy beans (referred to in Mexico as refried)…and if my memory were any better I’d be able to come up with other analogies. The point being, different doesn’t mean bad. My first (and only, to this point) experience with mushy peas here was not unpleasant. They were actually quite enjoyable. Having said that, anything can be made badly, but so far eating in England has been more than acceptable.
BTW…if you’re in London, go to The Bunch of Grapes down the street from Harrods. They appear to have a number of locations, but we went to that one. It was wonderful.