We woke up at about 1.30 – 2am. Considering it was about 3pm in Australia and we had been sleeping since about 6pm the night before, we were just fine with the time. A cup of tea, a bit of shortbread that we’d bought the day before, some really bad English TV and we eventually dozed off again for a few more hours. We were down at breakfast by 8am, showered, dressed and ready to finally see more of London with clearer heads. As I was checking some emails, I realised that I hadn’t booked to go to Paris the next day after all but the day after that. Mmmm. Well now we had another day up our sleeves and everything had to be put back a bit. Never mind.. It’s all part of the adventure.
We jumped on the hop on hop off bus at Marble Arch and our first stop was Buckingham Palace. I have seen the palace hundreds of times.. For Royal weddings, royal funerals, jubilee celebrations etc yet when I got that, I was surprised at how different it looked to what I was expecting. I certainly expected something a bit more ornate. It’s actually a very subdued and serious building. It looked familiar but different. We wondered if Liz & Phil (The Queen and Prince Philip) would come and offer us a cup of tea with scones but they didn’t. We hoped Prince Harry would come out and offer us a glass of cask wine but alas that wasn’t to be either.. So we cut our losses and jumped back on the bus.
Next stop was Big Ben, where we would join the Thames River Cruise. We were told it was a 30 minute cruise just a bit up the river and back again. It came free with our bus ticket so we thought it would be a good way of seeing a bit more of the city. Trouble is, we missed the announcement that said we had to get off and go back on another boat, so we sat back and joined Captain Gary as he treated us to an hilarious commentary of the river. We meandered our way up under the Tower Bridge right through to Greenwich. Capt Gary should be the commentary for every pre recorded tour there is.. He sounded like a cross between David Attenborough and Jonathan Ross. He had a real way with words too and we laughed the whole way. His classic commentary ended with.. If you’ve enjoyed this trip, the Captains champagne fund bucket is available as you leave the boat. It is voluntary to give to it.. just as its voluntary for me to tell you that it’s there. If you’ve enjoyed this trip, my name is Capt Gary… if not, it’s Jack.. I think the world needs more Capt Garys.
After 3 hours, we finally got off the boat and started the journey over to the London Eye. There was not a queue and we were able to get straight on. Wow.. What a view. I loved it. The sun snuck out behind the clouds just as we reached the top so the view was magnificent. Nothing in London Is cheap but this was worth every cent. If you think you’d love the views but not the experience, think again. The London Eye is solid. It doesn’t swing and sway like ferris wheels.. It just slowly moves round so you don’t even realise you are moving.. What a highlight.
We got off the London eye and suddenly felt extraordinarily tired again. We went to jump on the hop on hop off bus but our tickets had just run out so we caught an everyday London bus back to Marble Arch and walked the rest of the way to our hotel. It felt good to get off our feet again but we’d had another fantastic day looking around London. We thought an early dinner again, since we’d missed lunch AGAIN, was in order, so we tidied ourselves up and headed out to look for somewhere nice to eat and a bit of a window shop.
Wandering around, hunger was setting in quickly so we had a look at the menu for Garfunkel’s. I have seen heaps of these restaurants around the city so assumed they must be an okay chain. There were heaps of people in there eating too, so we took a seat. Not much appealed greatly and the prices were quite high but we were starving. We ordered a platter to share and a glass of wine each. It took ages to get served in the first place though I felt sorry for the waiter as the other’s working there seemed to be fluffing around being nice to customers while he ran around like a chook with it’s head cut off, doing all the work. When our meal was bought out to us, the garlic bread was cold……. Not lukewarm but actually cold.. I bit into a chip (which didn’t come with the platter but cost extra) and they too were cold, though not as cold as the garlic bread. Considering the chips cost the equivalent of about $8 Australian Dollars for a miserable bowl, I asked the waiter to take them back and get us some hot ones, along with the garlic bread.
The meal was EXTREMELY ordinary and incredibly overpriced. I must say I would never go to a Garfunkel’s restaurant again, nor could I in all honesty recommend them to anyone else, though I’m sure other’s have had better experiences there than I did. To be honest, the food in England has been the huge let down so far. Nothing has been hot and vegetables and salads are not the norm, or at least in the places we’ve been so far. Never mind… nothing can dampen our enthusiasm.
Heading back to the hotel, we decide on another early night. Who am I kidding? Our bodies decided on an early night, as we are still struggling to adapt to the time difference. Going to sleep at about 8pm this time, we woke up again through the middle of the night, had another cuppa, this time with chips (crisps), chocolate, shortbread and pistachios. Then settled back down for a few more hours sleep. This is just one huge (and expensive) slumber party. What a way to spend a few weeks