London 2012 - Day 3

Submitted by dkranker on Sun, 09/23/2012 - 17:05

Started the day getting some laundry done for the trip to Paris. Ate cereal and milk at the apartment.  We ran the dryer once but didn't get the clothes completely dry so we left them in front of the room radiator to finish while we left to do some shopping.  Headed out east first on Bayswater Rd for the Oriental Market, Russian Shops and some others; picking up some things.  It was raining really badly and the umbrella we bought for 5 pounds fell apart. Returned to the room with what we had then headed west on the same road.  Found the wash cloths at a hardware store and Kristi found a clothing store to browse and we picked up some things.  Headed back for the room, still raining really bad but began to let up when we got back.  Left right away from the Big Bus tour stop and didn't even have to show them the ticket.  Took the bus back to Picidilly/Regent street, snapping some more pictures of a few things we didn't get clearly the first time, the ride was free and we did get in some more clothes shopping.  We passed Baker street, the fictitious home of Sherlock Holmes.  Kristi found a few things and I got a shirt, by this time the rain had completely stopped and it was time for lunch.  There is a restaurant chain here, like Panera, called Pret.  It's really fresh whole foods and has sandwiches, fresh fruit, lettuce salads and coffee.  Chatted with a guy named Jamie while we waited and he recommended the Palace of Versailles in Paris as a must see, when we go.  Did a little walking around Picidilly, and cut through St. James Park, and ran right into Horse Gaurd's Parade, we recognized it as the site where some of the volleyball games were held during the recent Olympics.  We decided to head back to the nearest Bus stop and make our way to St. Paul's Cathedral.  It was already closed for tours inside due to a 5:00 Monday Mass Service, but we got to walk around the outside and then continue on the bus tour, which by this time was winding down, but since we got on so late, we essentially got a London City Night light tour for free as we returned home with our purchases, which the city lights was one of the things we wanted to see.  The Tower Bridge looks good at night and Big Ben was all lit up as well.  We needed to get our bags into a locker at St. Pancras station since we had to checkout of our room by 11 AM tomorrow and will be on our Stonehedge tour. Our tour to Stonehenge is first thing and we don't want to have to deal with our bags.  So we took the Tube from Queensway to Oxford Circus and changed over to another line that took us right to the station.  It took about 30 minutes to the station from our Motel, so probably too long in the morning to make it there and back in a reasonable time before the 7:30 AM tour leaves. After the bags were checked in, it was getting pretty late, but I remember hearing during one of the tours, about the Ceremony of the Key at Tower Bridge Gate at 10:00 PM and thought that might be an interesting way to end our evening in London, so we hailed a cab outside St. Pancras (Kristi was wanting to see how it was riding in one) he took us directly to the Tower of London and we watched the Tower Guards walk out and close the Gate to the Towers.  Completely ceremonial of course, because we then hailed another cab driver to take us back north to the The Ten Bells, a pub where Jack The Ripper is said to have found his victims, unfortunately there is nothing there to eat, but there was another Italian Restaurant still open nearby, so Kristi had some good thin crust pizza and I had salmon over a salad.  Taking another cab back to our Apartment we had a good long discussion with the driver about what it takes to drive in London, etc