This blog is posted mostly everyday when we take a break from our usual retired Life as former full-time RVer's and travel overseas.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Last Day in London



Towels, dirty towels going to the laundry, and this is just for the seventh floor of our hotel. But all these things are about to come to an end and it will be back cooking for Linda again. Still, far better to have traveled in Europe these last three months than to have stayed in the US. We may only get to take a vacation every other year, but do we ever enjoy them when we do.


Sunday morning, not many people out and about which was okay, as it allowed us to enjoy our last full English breakfast in a quiet café off on a side street – our kind of place. I have amazed myself because as the days have passed I have gotten to accept the fried egg, though this is just a temporary thing until we return to the states. Then I will be back to my morning egg white omelet. Only from now one it will not only have salsa, there will also be beans on the side.


We have really learned our way around the nearby Underground stations,but  there there is always a new station. Today it was the one we had been trying to avoid, Or I should say the transfer we had been trying to avoid. There may be more walking involved somewhere else in the world, but we haven’t seen it. The transfer from the Central line at Bank where you walk underground to take the District/Circle line at Monument is one of those that you don’t think will ever end. Plus one of the deep escalators, not the one pictured, was out of service so we had to walk all the way down.


Linda has been dutifully taking photos of the “Mind the Gap” signs on the underground and I have been just as dutifully ignoring them in my posts. She has been sweet and hasn’t torn into me for not posting any of them, but a man can only push his luck so far. For those unfamiliar, Mind the Gap refers to the gap between the train and the platform. Have to love the words the British use to describe things.


Our destination was the Tower of London where. to honor the nearly 1,000,000 British military personnel who lost their lives in WW I, a ceramic red poppy was placed for each and ever one of them in the Tower of London moat. It was 100 years ago WW I began, and while the United States later and reluctantly entered the war, England, France and Germany’s armies tried to destroy each other across no man’s land for most of the war. Just as the opposing armies were gridlocked in four years of trench warfare,the spectators who came to view the poppies were also gridlocked due to the unbelievable number of them who were there.


The Poppies fill the moat of the Tower and above the moat, every square inch of space was filled by people wanting to get a look at it. The Queen had visited the field of poppies this week and it seemed as if everyone in London wanted to visit it today. It took a while, but eventually we were able to make our way to the fence.


I’ve said it many times during our trip, but in this case it really is one of those times when photos simply cannot substitute for being there.


It wasn’t something to just glance at and go, and we ended up working our way around to the Tower Bridge side of the moat where we found there were far fewer people.


It is one thing to see the mass of poppies that fill the moat, but it’s another thing to realize each poppy represents a person.


One of the many skylines in London.


A ship everyone heard about when they took world history in high school. Sir Francis Drake’s ship, The Golden Hind.


The theater everyone heard about when they were in school, The Globe Theater where Shakespeare's plays were performed.


We walked along the south bank of the Thames where we could see people searching for something.


I wonder what they are looking for? What could this person be collecting? One thing I know for sure, most likely what ever it is I will end up carrying it in my luggage.


That is the, can I have this one please please, look. Luckily for me she put it back down.


Thames riverbank selfie.


The afternoon’s play, The Play That Goes Wrong. Actually it should be called The Play That Goes, Unbelievable, Gut Splitting, Belly Laughingly, Uproariously Funny, Wrong. Never ever have we laughed so hard for so long as we did watching this play. In fact, everyone in the theater were laughing just as hard.


What the real London play goers do before play starts, especially the ones that have seats near the front of the stalls, They pop into the stalls bar, have a gin and tonic while they talk to other real playgoers doing the same thing. Linda made two observations. One the gin and tonics they serve at the bars in the theaters are much better than the ones in the pubs. And second, there are a lot of people in London who drink gin and tonic. Though when the girl at the bar first asked Linda if she wanted to order a gin and tonic for the interval, Linda didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. We learned soon enough that the interval is what we refer to as intermission. And a good laugh was had by all.


Fourth row back, and once again just left of stage center. If you’re going to watch a play, watch it from a good seat is our motto. and the fact the tickets are a half to two thirds off makes it even better. And I confess to bursting out laughing several times as I have written about The Play That Goes wrong, it was that funny.


Sorry, just had to post one more photo of The Play That Goes Wrong. How true, how very true. We’ve seen likely two hundred plus plays over the years, some good, more than a few not so good, and a couple that were downright terrible. But never have we seen anything to compare to just how funny this play was. It made our decision to see 7 plays in 3 1/2 days look like we actually knew what we were doing, at least in this case. The most unbelievable part is that before we came to London on Thursday we had never even heard of it, possibly because it has been playing for less than a month.


Our last supper in London, fish and chips and mushy peas. Food doesn’t get better than this. This was at a fish and chips place off Leicester Square. We figured that if they only sold fish and chips, they must be good, and we weren’t wrong about that. The only thing wrong with the meal was that they didn’t serve ale. But that just gives us an excuse to come back to London at the end of our next trip to Europe.


We ended the night by seeing The Commitments, which unfortunately had the difficult time of following what was the best play we have ever seen. It was okay, and I don’t know what we would have seen instead of it, it’s just that the acting was dry, the singing ability of the show’s star left a lot to be desired and the sound volume seemed to try and overcome the two previous failings. As Linda said, she doesn’t know anything about sound mixing, but even so, she could have done a better job than the sound person for this play. Not every thing every day is perfect, but the great things more than make up for the less than great things.

I wrote this post on the plane returning to the States as I was simply to tired to write on Sunday evening, and besides we had to be up very early in the morning to take the underground to Heathrow to catch a plane. I plan to write a summary of the trip on the regular website in the near future, though tomorrow’s post will still be here as it is actually the last day of our trip. And what an awesome three months it has been.

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