Sunday, June 5th
We took the hotel shuttle bus to the airport. Dusty flew home early because he wasn't as jazzed about spending time in London doing nerdy Harry Potter and West End Musical activities as Jake and I are. That, and he didn't have as much PTO to take as I did. We were sad to say goodbye to him, but he made us chuckle when he texted us updates about his trip. He has bad luck when he travels. A young woman threw up on the floor next to him six feet from the check in counter. She was on his flight and paramedics actually had to come help her off the plane when they landed in Chicago. Also, his TV monitor wasn't working on the flight so he had 8 hours to sit and do nothing. That would've really ticked me off. The movies are what keep you going on a long flight! His Scottish buddies from the night before saw him on the plane and waved at him as they waited to disembark. He made it to Chicago and eventually home to Iowa safely, though.
Jake and I had a bit of time to kill in the Dublin airport, so we did some shopping (cute little cheap jewelry place!) and walked around a bit. Jake saw this wall that had an Oscar Wilde quote on it ("The truth is rarely pure and never simple...")
*pic of Jake in front of the wall:
We then took an uneventful flight to London's Gatwick airport, which required us to take an express train and two subway (I mean tube) lines to where we could walk to our hotel.
This is a photo of our Oyster card, which is just a London Transit pass card:
Jake on the tube:
Our hotel is located on The Strand, a major street in Westminster. The name comes from the Old English word strond, meaning edge of river.
*photo of the hotel and street:
I chose this location because it's near the theater where we plan to see Kinky Boots. It turned out to be a great decision, the location is great. Once we checked in, we headed right back out and did a bit of shopping. We then wandered across the Waterloo bridge (only about 1/2 a block away) that took us over to the South Bank area. Along the way we took a selfie with the River Thames in the background:
No need to be embarrassed about taking photos here - everyone is either taking a selfie or snapping a pic with their DSLR.
We wandered around the south bank area for a while. It's an eclectic, busy place with ample people-watching opportunity.
*photos of the people and the area:
This graffitied skate park captivated my attention for quite a while. There's just something fascinating about watching these young men do their skate moves.
There was a sandy beach area for kids (and adults) to play in:
We stopped for a light sushi dinner at a place called Yo! Sushi. It was delicious:
*pic of our sushi rolls:
There's so much to see here. Like this street performer who claimed to be 52 years old and could do amazing things with his body. He ended his show by folding himself into a small glass box.
More from the 'lots of things to see' files. I have no idea why there were beds set up along the riverbank and people actually sleeping in them. I'm assuming it's some kind of performance art, but we didn't ever find out:
We walked up the bank a bit to the London Eye, and got tickets to ride it. It was a great way to see the city and take some photos from the highest point in London:
This is some sort of fair or exhibit. Why not make a giant inflatable purple cow laying on it's back with its legs and udder in the air?
People watching a street performer:
The view from almost the top:
Not a bad view!
London Eye selfie:
We took a leisurely stroll back to our hotel, stopping to get ice cream and a cheeseburger for Jake (the sushi wasn't enough to fill up his 19 year old stomach, apparently) and settled in for the night. Lots more exploring to do in London over the next few days!!