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!