Yesterday, we had planned on taking the train all the way to West Molesey, but it was about 20 miles away and the journey was going to cost £4.60 each, each way, plus a premium for coming back during rush hour...so a total of around £22.40 ($36.74). Ruth had wanted to go there just to have a look because it's where her grandparents lived and she had visited a few times when she was younger. But she decided it wasn't worth it for that price. So instead, what did we do?
We went for a walk! We decided to walk over to The Marble Arch and Hyde Park. It was an absolutely perfect day with lots of sunshine and blue sky. The occasional cloudy period, but for the most part it was not typical London weather!
Saw some more long boats on the canal.
This neat sundial was pretty accurate...time was 11:35am!
We walked by Kings Cross rail station. The fancy building is a hotel, and is actually the front of the St. Pancreas (Pancras!...lol) rail station where the Eurostar train leaves to go in the Chunnel to Paris and Brussels.
Inside Kings Cross station.
Many of you will recognize this from the Harry Potter films. A popular tourist spot for taking photos!
Kings Cross is a busy station! Despite the fact that it has become increasingly more expensive to take the train, most people still prefer it to taking the bus. We are taking the bus because it's cheapest!
There is a modern section of the station built next to the older building. Kinda neat.
The hotel St. Pancreas (edit: okay, it's "Pancras"!) is a very interesting building...and very posh! We went inside and the staff was holding doors open for us, and everybody saying "Good afternoon".
This statue of a horses head near the Marble Arch was neat.
Okay. Now for the "chair police". So we get to Hyde park, and it's a beautiful day so there's lots of people out and about, and enjoying the park and sitting on the grass getting some sun. And, there are your typical park benches to sit on as well. But there are also a lot of these folding deck chairs. They're really comfortable, so we couldn't figure out why not many were being used. It's because they cost £1.50 ($2.46) an hour, or part thereof! Or £4.00 ($6.56) for three hours!
Lots of comfy chairs...with hardly anybody in them.
So just for fun, we went and sat in two of them. We sat for about 20 minutes before we saw the chair police coming to check on us. We got up before they got there, so they didn't have a chance to kick us out!
These chairs are a great idea, however they are supplied by an independent company working in conjunction with the Royal Parks. I think they should be free, just like the park benches...or at least reasonably priced, like maybe £0.25 per hour. But they're not being used because for the ridiculous price they want, everybody just sits on the grass.
We continued on through the park, and exited towards Buckingham Palace and the Parliament building.
Buckingham palace is kind of a boring old building. We came all the way from Canada and the Queen didn't even come out to say hello!
This guy has a boring job. He's been standing so long he's starting to slouch!
The statue outside Buckingham Palace, with Big Ben in the background.
Checking the map...again.
And a walk by Westminster Abbey.
Big Ben is actually the name of the bell inside the clock tower, however the tower and clock itself often get referred to as Big Ben.
By this time, we had walked 7.7 miles (12.5 kms) and our feet were just about done. We had yet to get on a double decker bus, and you can't leave London without having done that! So we planned a route home on the bus, and only had to transfer once. The first bus we got on already had someone seated in the front of the upper level, but the second bus we got lucky. It's sure weird sitting way up high like that in the front!
Look at the traffic...we could have walked faster for the first section!
Reader Butterbean Carpenter had asked what we've been eating. Well, we did some groceries when we first got here, and so it's been basically cereal for breakfast, and we've been eating dinner with Ruth's aunt and uncle. They've supplied some of our dinner meals, however Ruth made a nice curry last night which we bought the ingredients for. And we made our own dinner while they were away last weekend. We had bought some nice gluten free bread and some sandwich fixings for lunches, although we treated ourselves to a pub lunch the day we went to Greenwich. More details of course will follow when we explain our expenses at the end of the month, but now that we are done, London has been cheaper than we expected.
That isn't to say you couldn't spend LOTS if you wanted to, but we have done very well. The main thing for a tourist is to somehow avoid restaurants! They are very expensive, and so are the tourist attractions. But you've seen from the past week that you can easily occupy your time with enough to see just by walking around. And the London Transportation system isn't too bad either. We've done well because we did lots of walking, but we could have bought a weekly pass for a little more money. We still have to get to the bus station today, so we'll give you an update on our full transportation costs later.
Okay, enough of London...we're off to Leeds!