I have a feeling I might need to speed these entries up or I won’t be finished until Christmas, so let’s just lump a few things together. After Portobello Road, I said farewell to Kris and Cristen and I headed for the London Eye. Neither of us had been on it, and it seemed like such a delightful thing to do as a tourist. I have to admit that I do love getting an aerial view of a city. We had bought our tickets the night before, but opted for the cheapest standard one. You can pay extra for flexible or fast track passes. At first, when I saw the line…
I regretted not getting the fast track, but the line actually moved quite quickly. We were told to get there a half hour before our entrance time and we probably stood in line for that half hour, but no more. We were soon loaded into our own little bubble/pod with about 10 or so other people.
I am not particularly fond of heights and Claire can tell you that it takes some coaxing to get me to ride a normal ferris wheel, but I didn’t really have an issue with the London Eye, even though it is over 400 feet tall, because it’s completely enclosed and, most importantly, it doesn’t rock at all. Once inside, I felt perfectly safe. And we did see some spectacular views as the city got smaller and smaller.
Although I had walked past the Parliament buildings on my way to Westminster Abbey that morning (yes, this was the same day), Cristen had yet to visit them, so we decided to walk across the bridge. As we were headed in that direction, I pulled out my S100 to snap a photo and got the dreaded Lens Error message. I just about died. My heart sank. I couldn’t get the lens to retract. I had read about this error when I was researching cameras and it was the number one hesitation I had in purchasing it. I hoped it was just a fluke and that it wouldn’t happen to me, but there I was on the banks of the Thames, three days into my vacation, and my camera was broken.
Cristen and I sat down on a bench, and I’m not ashamed to say that I wiped away a few tears. We talked over my options and decided that there probably wasn’t much I could do on a Saturday night. Cristen said we should make a wish as we walked across the bridge and then we’d see how things looked in an hour. And there must have been some residual magic in the air or maybe Cristen is just magic because when I skeptically tried my camera on the other side of the bridge, the lens retracted and it worked perfectly from that point on. As my sister always says, “The blessings never stop!”
Have you ever taken the same picture twice? I didn’t realize this until just now, but I believe this picture…
is the same as the first picture in this post from earlier that morning. I guess I liked that view. The Parliament buildings are so pretty. I think on my next visit, I’ll try and take a tour of them.
And one more picture of Westminster Abbey. I might like it best from the outside.
We stopped by Cristen’s old stomping grounds on our way to St. Paul’s. We also stopped for dinner, so by the time we got there, it was dark. St. Paul’s might be best in the dark.
Then we walked across the bridge to the Tate Modern.
Not only is the Tate Modern open late, but it remains the most disappointing museum I have ever been to.
It took a while for my feet to adjust to the demands of being a tourist. I normally sit at a desk for about 8 hours every day, so they weren’t used to walking quite so much. I was exhausted by the end of the day, and I told Cristen that I would basically pay any amount to take a cab home instead of walk back to the nearest tube stop. I only mention this because it was one of those moments that I realized that I’m an adult with a disposable income. I didn’t have to walk if I didn’t want to. I had choices. We decided to at least walk back across the bridge, and then we found a bus route that went near our hotel, so we ended up waiting for a bus instead of taking a cab, but the really important part is that I could have taken a cab.
So that was London.