The Metropolitan Cathedral in Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 5, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

London. Did I mention lots of walking...?

It is 4 kms (2.5 miles) from where we are staying to the downtown area and the River Thames. Yesterday, we decided to start off walking, and if we were tired we would take the bus or the underground to get back home.

We set out around 10:30am. They forecast showers in the afternoon, but although there were some clouds, there was some blue sky in the morning and the sun was shining occasionally.

It seems that every corner we turn there is something interesting to see or take a picture of.

Folgate Street. Just an old cobblestone street.

The famous Dirty Dicks pub! Too funny.

30 St. Mary Axe. Informally called "The Gherkin".

We arrived near downtown at the financial district. This is essentially where most of the tall buildings are located, although London doesn't really have that many tall buildings, especially when compared to somewhere like Chicago. But, there is a lot of construction going on as as you can see from the number of cranes in some of the photos. Interestingly, most of the money for these huge projects is coming from places like Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In fact, because of Muslim ownership there are restrictions on who can be a tenant in some buildings. Most banks, and any company having ties to gambling or alcohol cannot be considered as tenants due to Islamic and sharia compliant investment rules.

Leadenhall Market is an interesting place to wander around.

When we left Leadenhall Market, it was spitting with rain. We went in the Marks and Spenser store and used the toilets. Yes, they are usually called toilets, or "the loo" here in Britain. Not washrooms, or bathrooms. After wandering around in M&S, we went back to the exit and it was pouring rain. We waited about 10 minutes and the sun came out again!

It was raining fairly hard.

And then the sun came out!

And then we finally made it down to the River Thames. There is a nice walking path on both sides of the river. We were already on the north side, so we headed west towards the Covent Garden area.

Tower Bridge. We will be doing the tour of the Tower Bridge tomorrow!

"The Shard". This new skyscraper, at 1,020 feet tall is the European Union's tallest building. Supposed to open to the public on July 5.

One of the many bridges crossing the River Thames in the downtown area.

St. Paul's Cathedral. Notice the blue sky! Other than that one downpour, it was a pretty nice day.

The London Eye. Just a fancy ferris wheel. 

No shortage of people willing to shell out a minimum of £15.00 ($24.60) each for the half hour ride. That's if you buy your ticket online in advance. If you just show up, it is £18.90 ($31.00) per adult. Sorry, not us!!!

We heard a band playing, so we walked away from the river towards Covent Garden. They had comfy chairs set up and we sat and listened to this free concert for 20 minutes or so. This was a high school band visiting from the United States, and they were quite good.

By this time it was almost 2:00pm and we were getting hungry. We were also in the downtown area and meal prices are pretty expensive. There were LOTS of restaurants and lots of choice but most things we saw, even lunch specials, were priced between £6.00 ($9.85) and £12.00 ($19.70) per person. Tax is included on almost everything you see advertised in Britain. I could have grabbed a sandwich for around £3.50 ($5.75), but that wouldn't do Ruth any good because she eats gluten-free. 

We finally found the Manoron Thai restaurant advertising a spicy chicken stir fry and rice, with an appetizer, for £6.50. We shared the meal and that was enough to do us until dinner. We gave the gal a 1 pound tip, so the total cost for lunch was £7.50 ($12.30). Not bad, but not Mexico! We bought a nice loaf of gluten free bread for £2.90 ($4.75) and we'll be packing sandwiches for future outings.

In hindsight, we should have bought a large bowl of this paella and shared it!

Coventry Street near Piccadilly Circus.

Interesting architecture on Sicilian Avenue.

We continued walking, now in the direction towards home. We we were going to catch a bus. But then we remembered that it costs money to do that, so we kept on walking. It was a nice day anyhow.

Made it back home around 4:30pm. Figured out that we walked 14 kms (9 miles)! What a fun day we had, and although it felt good to take the shoes off, we didn't really feel bad at all. The first cold beer sure did go down good though!

Slept 10 hours last night! Must be still catching up from that night of no sleep on the plane. Plus the long walk yesterday. Today will be a bit of a day of rest I think, although maybe we'll wander over to the Olympic stadium because it's not too far away. Then this evening, we're going to be in the studio audience for a live broadcast of the popular channel 4 game show The Million Pound Drop. This should be fun!

22 comments:

  1. You sure had a good walk yesterday and saw so many wonderful sights. I think you deserved the 10 hours of sleep.

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  2. Have fun at the show. That's lots of walking. Good on ya.

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  3. Enjoy seeing England through your lens. There was a big celebration again for the Queen. Can't believe you two weren't invited.

    Very interesting about the Qatar and Saudi Arabia and who can and can't be in that area. Enjoyed the tour very much!

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  4. Love, love love! London. Thanks for planting the itch for us to go back again! You must do the Tower of London if you're going to the Tower Bridge.

    I know you won't be buying much in Harrods! ;c)

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    1. Doing Tower of London on Monday! No, there won't be any shopping at Harrods for us, too expensive and no room in our bags for anything extra.

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  5. Nine miles is a long walk. We would walk that when we worked for Amazon and my feet would throb at night but they eventually got use to it. The tour today was great, looks like you are having a great time.

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  6. Great pics and a great walk. Did almost the same route back in 2005. If you like hot Indian food, head to Brick Lane.

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    1. Thank you for the suggestion on where to find Indian food.

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  7. London certainly has changed since my last visit, many modern buildings. Love the old parts and cobblestone streets.

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  8. butterbean carpenterJune 16, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Howdy R&K,
    Thank y'all, for the 'walking tour' and all of the great pics.. WHEW!
    I'm pooped out and never left my chair!! Who buys those high dollar lunches; the Arabs?? I hoped y'all would ride the 'Eye', but not at those prices!! We're really enjoying the visit and the toursista views!!! Glad you had good weather; not London at all!!

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    1. Seems like a lot of people were out enjoying the food. I guess they are just used to it here.

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  9. Thanks for sharing! We really enjoyed Soho, very funky! Great pictures!

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  10. And I thought the "building crane " was on the endangered list due to the economy! Thanks again for sharing.

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  11. We have never been to Europe although would love to travel there some day. Loved getting a tour through your blog. Have a grand time!

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  12. So enjoyed the tour - keep on having fun - love that you walk everywhere and take pics - you two are awesome!

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  13. Man that brought back so many memories!! I agree, you must do the Tower of London and be sure to tour Westminster Abbey...incredible place!! Looking forward to more pics from London!! Have fun!

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    1. Tower of London is on the agenda for today (Monday), not sure we will make it to Westminster Abbey on this trip. Just too much to see in one week.

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  14. What a great time! It's something we'd like to do, but not sure if we can handle all the challenges at this age. Have fun, we'll travel through your blog.

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  15. Certainly wouldn't got tipping girls in Morrisons, they must have thought you were Americans!

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    1. We never tipped anyone at Morrisons? We did tip a girl a the thai restaurant that we ate at though.

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  16. We did go up on the London Eye five years ago when we were in London. I don't think it was as expensive, but I think it was still near $20. We did it because we only planned to be there once in our lifetime and I wanted to do it. I don't think it was worth the money, so good call on your part.

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  17. Brenda and CalvinJune 18, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Everything looks wonderful, love the old buildings and the cobblestone streets. Sure enjoy the tours with you guys. Great pictures, keep us posted.

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