Rather than write an extensive blog about our three days in Londons, I am merely going to post our pictures and say we had a great time. We spent Thursday with Adrian from London Tours by Taxi who gave us a five hour tour of all the top London sites: Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Kensington Palace, Royal Albert Hall and on and on what a blast.
Thursday evening Cheryl and I took an evening tour of Buckingham Palace and the State Rooms. This was a small group tour of approximately 20 people and our guide, Peter, was magnificent. (Night tours are only given on Thursdays and Fridays in September and there are only 3 tours a night. I have been on the regular tour and this was far superior. And to top it off, we got to drink champagne on the terrace overlooking the Queens’ gardens and we ended the night being driven in golf carts out through the front gate (but not the middle gate, which is reserved for the Royal Family, but the gate on the left). Awesome.
On Friday, Adrian picked us up at 9:00 a.m. and took us for a day long tour of the Cotswalds. We drove through a myriad of little villages and stopped at a fabulous pub for lunch. Friday also saw a “little” bonus. On Thursday, Adrian had driven us past Royal Albert Hall. We stopped for pictures and that is when I saw I sign that Jason Mraz was playing Royal Albert Hall on Friday night. There were a few tickets available, I immediately bought two.
Anyway, Royal Albert Hall was absolute perfection. The acoustics are incredible and coupled with Jason Mraz and his incredible voice (backed up by Raining Jane) we could not have asked for a more perfect concert.
Saturday was a day of shopping. I took Cheryl to …. Harrod’s where her head seemed to explode as we walked through the various halls, including the magnificent food hall. We then caught the tube to Notting Hill where we trapsed the entire length of Portobello Road and looked at all the antiques, food stalls and knick knacks for sale. We stopped at a food stand for the seafood paella, which was surprisingly good in light of the ginormous pan it had been made in. (I had been passing this paella food stand for years and FINALLY gave it a try.) We also stopped at an incredible pub (that was featured in Notting Hill) for a fish and chips and beer lunch.
We ended the day wandering around South Kensington trying to find a pub with a TV so we could watch the Ryder Cup. Uh good luck with that. Many, many of the London pubs are disappearing because the land on which the pubs are located is so valuable. So developers are buying up the properties, tearing down the pubs, and converting the buildings to walk up residences and high end shops. In addition, large breweries are buying up the land and refusing to allow the small pub owners to sell their own brew or alternatively are adding a surcharge to the rents if they sell their own beer. As a result, many of the small pub owners are going out of business because they either (do not want to pay larger breweries for their beer; or (2) cannot afford the tariff. It is a big issue, and there is now a government inquiry into the brewery tactics.
Anyway, while we found a couple pubs, we did not find a pub showing the Ryder Cup. Unbelievable! So we had a pint, watched a bit of soccer with everyone else and called it good. It had been a fabulous 2 1/2 weeks.