Cloudy skies but at least no rain greeted us out the open windows of our stuffy hotel room this morning. Unfortunately I was moving very slowly since I did get a full eight hours of sleep, but that obviously wasn't enough to kick my cold. Darn! I was zapped of energy all day, even with a decent breakfast in me. I took one of what I think are probably 10-year old cold capsules I had in my travel bag, snorted some Zicam & hoped for the best.
First on our mission was to get our London Passes we had pre-purchased online. After a bit of hassle with too many Regent St intersections at Piccadilly Circus, we had found where the place was after Guys & Dolls the night before, so we decided to get off the tube at Oxford Circus, find the Apple store, then walk down a few blocks for the London Passes. Success! iPod nanos already in stock & on display in London - cool! They just were announced on Sept 7th you see. No purchases were made, but I did record a bit of video footage of their beginning Mac class in their training room, with audio with a nice accent explaining "This is your Finder, which is your minion..."...haha!
Walking through Piccadilly Circus heading for Regent St, Ben really wanted to try getting tickets for The Woman in White, the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical we've seen advertised all over buses & the tube, so we got some for Thursday evening at the discount ticket stand on Piccadilly Circus. We'll let you know if it's really the "new amazing hit" as it's advertised. ;) After a long wait in line to get the London Pass, it was already 11:15, so we decided since almost half our day was over, we'd wait until Thursday to start the 3-day pass, so strolled around a bit, down the Mall and through St James's Park to Buckingham Palace.
Is that a brass band I hear? What's the big crowd doing around the palace? Why, it's just our luck that we happened along right at the every-other-day Changing of the Guard ceremony! I guess it starts with a mini-concert of the Queen's Guard band playing, and they were in the middle of a Gershwin medley. I tried to video as much as I could, but with traffic noises & we were far enough away, I'm not sure how much audio came out. However, we did happen to stand right at the corner when the band came through leading the guards, so that was really cool! The clouds had also just started to part behind the palace, so that was lucky timing for a bit of blue sky, too... :)
By that time I was very frustrated since my body was betraying me by not having my usual stamina, and I had half a sandwich leftover from Harrods the day before, so for a break we sat on a bench in the park, and I ate while I had Ben decide what we should do for the afternoon. He decided on the British Museum, admission free and I'd never been before, so off we went.
The Enlightenment Room at the British Museum
Most of the displays are now modern of course, but they have saved one room the way it was displayed to the public back in the Victorian era, which was very cool to see! We made it through several interesting exhibits, with me needing to sit down to rest every half-hour or so (argh! I'm never like that!), since I was just about asleep on my feet from my cold and it was stuffy inside the museum. By 4pm we had just made it through most of the Ancient Egypt section complete with mummies, heading for the original Rosetta Stone, when official employees started yelling & herding us out a single exit. Argh! Not only did we miss the Rosetta Stone, but we had eyed items in the gift shop we wanted to purchase later! On our way out the door we asked the policewoman in full SWAT gear with gun & bulletproof vest what was going on, and she said someone had fallen from the 2nd floor down to the ground inside, so they were asking witnesses what they saw and investigating the incident. Nothing terrorist or bomb-related unlike we suspected. Since at least the British Museum is free admission, we hope to go back, beeline for the Rosetta Stone, then hit the gift shop as originally intended. :)
Since that cut the afternoon short, and we were both tired but we did think it was a bit too early to head straight for the Windsor Castle pub, I suggested a slow stroll along the the Thames. We got on the tube for Temple station, walked down the Victoria Embankment, seeing Cleopatra's Needle, the London Eye, Big Ben & Parliament again, then headed into Parliament Square for more views, including Westminster Abbey. I even got another photo of the statue of George Canning, Tracia's ancestor. We heard the 6pm, 6:15 & 6:30 chimes of Big Ben, then got back on the tube at Westminster for the Windsor Castle, since I was hoping some good Addlestones cider would help my cold, or at least make me feel better regardless. ;)
The London Eye from Victoria Embankment
Success! Addlestones is good stuff I tell you...but since the menu at the pub was the same as 2 nights ago, we decided to stroll around looking for a different place to eat. After about an hour of strolling, we found the Black Lion pub, with a non-smoking dining area, and Ben could finally have his fish & chips. Only Strongbow for cider yet again, so we both had Pimms & lemonade, and I had a small apple chutney & cheese sandwich that just hit the spot.
I was allowed computer time first tonight so I can get to bed early for the sake of my cold again. Tomorrow night I have to stay awake through the Woman in White you know! ;)