Monday, June 18, 2001
London, Day One: “The Great Walk”
We head out to Woking to catch the train into London. Woking is a small town some 7 miles from Julian’s house. His company, Royal Blue, is based there, so he’s familiar with the rail system! We park at his office and walk about Woking for a bit.
It turns out that the famous author H.G. Wells is from Woking. There’s a cool replica of one of the Martian craft from “War of the Worlds”. Of course… I take a picture! 🙂
The train ride into London is smooth. We pass through Wimbledon and into the outskirts of London. We pass Battersea Power Station, famous on a Pink Floyd album cover. After about 30 minutes, we arrive at Waterloo station.
The weather today is much nicer than yesterday. No rain and much warmer temperatures. The sun is actually out most of the day!!
The first thing we do is get tickets for tomorrow to ride the “London Eye”, a massive Ferris wheel on the Thames, overlooking all of London.
We walk across Westminster Bridge to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. “Big Ben”, remember, is neither the clock nor the tower, but rather the bell in the tower that does the hourly chimes!! Kathy scores her first success of the day with pins for her jacket!
We walk on to Westminster Abbey, but the line is huge! We get some nice pictures and a couple of things from the gift shop. Since everyone’s a bit peckish, we stop for a quick snack before heading off again!
The Queen isn’t at home, so the guards are stationary. They still stomp their feet and change their guns to the other arm every few minutes to keep from cramping up!
We head off through St. James’ Park this time, passing #10 Downing Street, home of the British Prime Minister. Next, we’re off past the Royal Horse Guards. A couple of pictures (for Melanie!) and we continue on our way.
We’ve been walking a lot so far, with more to come. Trafalgar Square is our next stop. Nelson’s Column and lots of pigeons are there! Julian tries to sneak up on a group of pigeons to make them fly off, but he’s unsuccessful!
Covent (cough!) Garden provides some nice shopping. Kathy scores her “London charms” for her bracelet! Walking on to Leicester Square gives us a chance to see some “buskers” (licensed street performers) plying their acts.
Moving on to Picadilly Circus, we take the (very crowded!) tube a couple of stations up the line. Here, we get about 30 minutes to explore the world-famous “Harrod’s” department store. It’s way out of our league, price-wise, but still cool to walk through… at least once!
We pile back onto the (less crowded now) tube and make our way back to Waterloo Station. Boarding the train back to Woking concludes “Day 1” of our London adventures. We’d better get some rest, as tomorrow has a lot in store for us!!
Off the train at Woking, we get back into Julian’s nice Rover 75 and head home. The pictures from my digital camera are off-loaded and renamed onto Julian’s computer.
To give Kathy a chance to sleep, I take the “journal writing” downstairs and watch Julian play “Half Life” online with friends and total strangers! It’s approaching midnight, so this closes today’s entry!!!