April 2, 2010 (Friday)

Up at 7:00 am for breakfast at the hotel, which was pretty good for British food. With instructions from the proprietor to get to the “tube” (London’s subway), we headed off to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the Guard.

It’s a cold, windy, rainy, blustery morning. Seems a typically British day. While waiting next to the iron fence at the palace, we met a nice family from Boca Raton, Florida (he’s an ophthomologist) with two children. When the guards started the changing processional, we let the kids stand in front of us so they could see. The ceremony was very intricate. I need to do some research to find out what all those maneuvers mean. After the changing of the guard, we took a few pictures of the palace and the Victory Monument.

After the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, we tried to find lunch, but it’s Good Friday of Easter weekend, so lots of places are closed. Since the day was rainy and cold, we thought to do the Big Red Bus Tour of the city. We tried to find the Big Red Bus Co. on foot but gave up and took a taxi. The taxi dropped us off at the Big Red Bus Co. office, where inside a manager, Peter,  was very helpful with information on options for the tour and how to maximize our time.

After getting our tickets, we ate lunch at a little place recommended by Peter, the City Harvest. We had a delicious sandwich and some beans.

After lunch we got on the Big Red Bus and stayed on for the whole tour. The bus had a ½ cover so we were able to stay dry. Our guide was very funny and found out where everybody was from “in the world.” When we said New Orleans, he started talking about the Saints and said he stayed up to watch the Superbowl game, which for him was at 3:00 AM, and he took the next day off from work. There were people from Eygpt, Mexico, Sylvania, Belgium, Norway, America. What an interesting mix of people. What an international city!

After the tour, we attempted to eat at the Hard Rock Café but the line was too long so we ate at a “Pret-A-Manger” sandwich/coffee shop. Jerry had a Swedish meatball sandwich and I had chicken salad. Then we took the tube back to the hotel. Jerry was able to use the computer for a while in our hotel’s tiny, little lobby, while I searched the TV channels for news about the potential train strike. I learn to my relief that the train strike has been averted, so we’ll have no trouble getting the Chunnel to Paris.

Here is a video of the London action.