Those of you who don't know about it, "Rabbit, Rabbit" is something you say on the first of every month to people the very first time you see them or talk to them. That ensures that you will have good luck.
Well I consider myself quite lucky already! We landed in London exactly one week ago yesterday and it's been a fabulous trip thus far. This begins the first day of our second week here, and I can't decide if I feel we just arrived or if I've been here for months. It's odd, but I feel a bit of both!
Today Loren went to the gym and got a slower start, so Don and I left the house to go see Buckingham Palace and Harrods before meeting Loren at a designated Pret Mange for lunch.
Since we had yet to take the bus, and we had plenty of time, Don and I decided to check out the bus terminal and see if we could get on a double-decker bus to take us to the Palace.
This is the Hammersmith Tube station that serves the Picadilly and Central Lines. Upstairs, it is also the Hammersmith bus terminal. So we found our bus and hopped on.
It was quite fun. We found seats right in the front of the top level. It was quite amazing to see how many buses are on the streets of London. The public transportation here is amazing. There are 15 Tube lines criss-crossing and going all over the city. I have no idea how many bus lines there are but I was reading #14, #190, #37, #246...etc.
We got off at Victoria Station and walked a bit to the palace. There was a Princess Diana memorial walk alongside the park which was quite nice. You could follow it by looking for the designated seals in the pathway.
We arrived at the palace and were a bit disappointed to read the sign saying there would be no changing of the guard. The Queen is in Scotland on Holiday staying in Balmoral, so the Palace did not need the usual protection.
Just so you can picture it, I have taken a picture from the web to see what we missed!!
The Palace itself isn't all that impressive. I loved the gilded gold on the fence and the ornate seals on the gate doors. And you certainly do get a feel for how huge the place is... especially when you think that only one elderly couple lives there!
Next stop, Harrods! Many of you know I'm not a big shopper, so I was kind of humoring Don when we went to Harrods, but it turned out to be awesome and I'm so glad we went there. First of all it's HUGE! We entered the first floor and found ourselves in the Men's section. I didn't tell you, but yesterday, when we were walking along Oxford Street, Don wanted us to go inside of a Marks and Spencer store. Apparently many years ago he had bought a blazer at M&S which is still in great shape and a favorite of his. So we found ourselves looking at blazers. Don found one that was gorgeous... a beautiful light suede blue, and the price was very reasonable. He tried one on, and it looked fantastic. This is probably the last time Don is going to be coming to London, and it really was a great jacket, so with Loren's and mine encouragement, he decided to get it.
Unfortunately, I omitted to take a picture of this adventure, so when we found ourselves in Harrods, I convinced Don to look for a suede jacket so we might compare one in Harrods to the one he bought in Mark & Spensers. We asked a saleswoman and she showed us a very beautiful blue suede jacket. I encouraged Don to try it on, and as I was taking a picture, I realized we had gotten ourselves in to the Giorgio Armani department and the jacket cost 499 pounds which is only about $750.00. He tried it on and I said sadly, "It's truly beautiful, but I'm afraid it makes your shoulders look too pronounced." He reluctantly took it off and we thanked the lady for her time!!
Then we found an entire floor devoted to foods. It was absolutely spectacular. One room was for vegetables, one for meats, one for chocolates, one for sandwiches and salads. There were exotic teas, tins of shortbread, jars of marmalade containers of mustard. Then there was a place that had about 6-7 different eating bars. One was an oyster bar, there was a caviar bar, a rotisserie bar. We were there about 11:00, but it would have been fun to go back and see it at lunch time with people eating their oysters and caviar and sipping champagne.
Next Stop: Covent Gardens where we were to meet Loren for lunch. I know I have talked about the wonders of the London Underground System and tried to show you the enormity of it with escalators going on and on seemingly forever. Well the Covent Garden stop on the Piccadilly line is soooooooooo far down that you need to take a lift to get up to the top street level... that is unless you would like to walk up the stairs.
We had some time to kill and noticed a sign saying Somerset House. We had learned earlier on our river cruise that Somerset House was where all the English genealogical records were kept. Our humorous guide told us it is where they "Hatchem, Matchem, Dispatchem and now it is run by the Catchem (equivalent of our IRS!)
We decided to go check it out. When I asked about where to go to look at the genealogy records I was given a sheet of paper to access any births, deaths, marriages, etc. on line. They no longer hold any records there at the Somerset House. But the buildings were grand and there was a huge courtyard in the middle. Apparently there are outside concerts held there as well as outdoor movies. Today was the hottest day in London in ten years. It registered 33C which converts to 91 F! So they had all the fountains turned on and it was a veritable beach party in the middle of the city. Very cool!
And then the best part of the entire day: MAMA MIA!
Now I had already seen Mama Mia on the stage in San Francisco. I had also seen the movie. So why did I want to go again, I wondered. Well, Don really was jazzed about it. Loren said he'd like to see it again, so I conceded... and am I ever glad I did. I have now decided whenever I get the chance to see Mama Mia I will go- I will see it again and again. From the first notes from the orchestra, I was hooked. The ABBA music is fabulous and never gets old. The audience consisted of very young children and very old seniors. By the end of the play, everyone- and I mean everyone- had pure joy on their faces, were clapping and moving their hips and stomping their feet.
Then remember it was one of the hottest days ever in London, so when we came out of the air-conditioned theater after watching an exhilarating show we were ready for ....... how did you guess.... a PINT!
The pubs were overflowing with people spilling out on to the streets because of the heat. There was an almost holiday atmosphere. One lady said to me, "Don't think this is typical London weather! You picked the right time to be here."
Another Fab day in London!