Arriving back from Paris, I only had two days to show Adele as much as possible of one of my favourite cities before the next week away. Pleasingly late-spring obliged with a stunning weekend of sun and heat – the city was teaming. Back at base (cousin Trish had the privilege/misfortune of that), first priority was wandering around the corner to feed Adele a proper British take on an Indian meal.
It didn’t disappoint
I’m not sure how going to watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace came up as the first thing to do Saturday morning, but it did. While I’ve seen the equivalent at Windsor Castle, somehow I’d missed this one. It turns out that it was excellent, which would explain the large crowds, with the two groups of guards changing over, a band for each and some sort of ceremonial cavalry unit.
From there we wandered down to Westminster, checking out the abbey and the Houses of Parliament. There also seemed to be a couple of organised bike events occurring – cue a lot of traffic backed up and much difficulty crossing streets. But I didn’t mind, because – bikes! The best of these was the Tweed Run which unexpectedly (to us) rode past as we were on Westminster Bridge. I’d not heard of this, but the basic idea was to get an old bike (plenty of drop handlebars, white-walled tyres and the odd penny-farthing), dress up in tweed or some similar old-fashioned style and ride around central London in the sun having a lot of fun. It looked just that.
Continuing up Whitehall we reached Trafalgar Square and then Leicester Square to take in Covent Garden, Chinatown and Seven Dials (where all the streets were closed for some big street festival). I think Adele was enjoying it – she kept following at least. Mostly following my nose we got to Lincoln Inn Fields and the Royal College of Surgeons. Having visited some years before, I was pretty sure Adele was going to enjoy their Hunterian Museum. It’s full of all sorts of anatomical specimens (both human and all sorts of other animals) that would no longer be collected & displayed today – most of what’s left of the collection (there was extensive damage in the Blitz) is from about two hundred years ago. I quite like the collection of surgical instruments – not because they’re gruesome (they are), but because my grandfather trained in their making during the war.
Adele wanted to ride at the front and top of a London bus, so that helped us on our way to St Paul’s and a stroll over the Thames on the Millennium Bridge. We then met my school friend Levi for a quick drink – what better on a hot English day than Adele’s (& possibly my) first Pimm’s. As Levi & Marki have just returned from a extensive road trip of the SW USA, I enjoyed hearing stories and comparing experiences. Eventually back on the train home suitably tired, we arrived home to find Trish had out done herself cooking dinner – I’m always partial to good food, but it’s even better when one has had an active day.
Apparently, if you’re going to pay to enter one tourist attraction in London – the Tower of London is as good as any. So that was the plan for Sunday; it’s a while since I’ve been but I didn’t mind returning as it is a good day out. We spent a good four hours there and even then it required some persuasion on my behalf to finally leave – as I contemplated the four-hundred mile/seven hour drive to Glasgow that night. Adele surprised me with her historical interest – but I can remember when you come from little & young New Zealand, such things are fascinating.
The tour given by the Yeoman Warders was as good as I remember