Famous sunflowers, river boats, beefeaters, and gelato

Well, if you thought yesterday was crazy, today will wear you out. I don’t know how many miles we did around London, but we’re all exhausted. It was a 12-hour day for us.

The Nomad made sandwiches again, and we loaded my backpack down. Then we all took off for Trafalgar Square. The passage in the Underground was flawless today, so that was nice.

Trafalgar Square is one of those sights that you don’t think sounds like a big deal. I mean, it’s just a big square with fountains and a tall monument. But it’s just incredible. The monument is HUGE. And there are some really great shots you can get with Big Ben in the far distance.

0515151003From Trafalgar Square, we decided to pop into the National Gallery and look for some old paintings. I’m not much of an art critic, but getting to see pieces done by Monet and Van Gogh and Botticelli was definitely intriguing.

We also went on a mini scavenger hunt for the Ninja Turtles while we were there. Donatello didn’t make an appearance, and Raphael was being all ninja like and not coming out at all. But we found Leonardo and Michelangelo. So two out of four ain’t bad.


After we finished at the National Gallery, we walked up to Covent Garden again so The Ginger could buy some souvenirs. She’s flying home tomorrow morning and needed some epic gifts because she missed Mother’s Day, her mom’s birthday, and her parents’ anniversary. So she found some great things there. The rest of us also picked up some cool things too.

I hadn’t planned to buy anything, but put me in a tea shop, and I’m helpless to resist.

Me and the Nomad and Big Ben (I fail at selfies)
Me and the Nomad and Big Ben (I fail at selfies)

After we spent money at Covent Garden, we booked it down to the riverside of the Thames where we jumped on board a river boat. It came with our London Pass purchase, and it was a 30 minute ride up the Thames from Westminster to the Tower of London. So while we were cruising on the waters listening to the wonderful Cockney crew member give commentary on the city, we ate our sandwiches and crisps (those are potato chips, Americans).

Next was the Tower of London. And if there’s one place in London where you can easily spend more than four hours, it’s the Tower of London. There is just so much to see and do, so many towers to go into, so many areas to explore. Honestly, it’s probably the best place you can go in London if you want history and sights all rolled into one.

0515151635aPlus there’s a free guided tour by one of the yeoman warders who live in the Tower. According to our guide Steve, there are around 140 people who live and work in the Tower of London. It’s still a functioning palace of sorts.

The last time we went to the Tower of London, we got a guide named Barney. He was spectacular. So I was hoping that Steve would be as good. Steve was good, don’t get me wrong, but he wasn’t Barney.

Steve the Yeoman Warder (aka "Beefeater")
Steve the Yeoman Warder (aka “Beefeater”)

We did the tour with Steve and then wandered around the White Tower (built over 900 years ago) and went to see the crown jewels. I’m not one for jewelry, but the history of the British crown jewels is really fascinating. And, seriously, you just have to see them to believe them. They look like costume jewelry, actually, but they’re all real. It’s amazing because you just don’t see gemstones and that amount of gold on a regular basis. At least, I don’t.

That was all we had time for, though, because we wanted to get across to the Museum of London to see the Sherlock Holmes exhibit there. So we left and hopped a couple of tube connections to get there, only to discover that the Sherlock Holmes exhibit had concluded in April.

Sad day.

But we wandered around a bit. I wish we’d had more time, but we only had 45 minutes before the museum closed. If there’s another museum where you can easily spend four hours, it’s the Museum of London. It’s fantastic. A little hard to get to but jam-packed with epic stuff.

After we wore ourselves out beyond reason, we decided to go back to Covent Garden for dinner. We dodged the crowds and the street performers and ended up in a swanky French restaurant with a second-floor eating room. So we ate out on the balcony.

As horrible as the weather was yesterday, today it was absolutely gorgeous. You almost didn’t need a jacket and the sun came out a few times. Just beautiful!

So we ate our dinner outside in the sun. And when we finished, we went and got gelato inside Covent Garden.

Now we’re back at the Dover Hotel, getting things squared away for the morning. The Ginger has to get up pretty early so she can hit the tube on time to get to Heathrow for her flight. We’re going to miss having her. She’s kept us lively and has been doing the majority of narrating for our UK Holiday Video we’ve been making.

0515150948aWe aren’t sure what we’ll do tomorrow right now. We may just take it easy. Our train leaves for Carlisle in the afternoon, so we don’t want to get too busy in something else. But you never know what might happen!

A.C. Williams

Amy Williams left a lucrative career in marketing to write novels about space cowboys, clumsy church secretaries, American samurai, and alternate dimensions. Along the way, she also discovered a passion for teaching other creative professionals how to use technology to make life easier. Through video instruction or one-on-one coaching, she teaches software, blogging, basic graphic design, and many other useful skills that help creative entrepreneurs get stuff done minus the frustration.

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