London, England (40 Sutherland Ave.)
As I woke up this morning I noticed it was a little chilly in the flat. I turned up the heat and no response. Corrine was up shortly after I was and we both checked for messages on the thermostat and the boiler and we saw error messages. Not a good sign. Also, no hot water.
After some coffee I sent messages to the Airbnb host team and to Carlos who showed us the flat yesterday. We soon received a response that someone would be by later to check out the situation. So, no showers for us this morning! We both washed up as best we could with cold water and left the flat at around 10:00 a.m.
We walked to the nearby underground station and found our way to the St. James’s Park underground station. I still get turned around sometimes finding the right train to catch, but eventually know that, given time, I’ll get where I’m going. (Corrine was very patient with me.) She bought us some coffees at the St. James’s station and we walked to Buckingham Palace from there. It was cold and rainy but we continued on in spite of the weather. Corrine took some pictures of Buckingham Palace and we even saw a group of guards riding horses, which I guess were part of the changing of the guards that happened earlier.
From there we walked down The Mall to Whitehall where Corrine took a picture of her and a mounted guard on his horse. This was her first day in London and, while it was cold and rainy (with a little snow mixed in), we could still appreciate the London scene.
I was looking forward to getting into Westminster Abbey, our next stop, to get out of the cold and rain. Though it wasn’t much warmer in the Abbey. While this was my third time through the Abbey I could still see things I hadn’t seen before. So many memorials in the Abbey and still marvel at the architecture and ancient decorations. We caught the last of a mid-day service and later heard some groups practice their music (for later performances) in the Abbey while we walked around. We toured at about the same pace with our audio guides helping us along. (Good to be with someone who tours at the same pace.)
After completing the tour, we had some lunch at the Abbey cafe. Very warm in the cafe! We both had a warm bowl of soup with some bread and coffee. Was a perfect lunch for us and really warmed us up.
It was starting to get dark so we caught an underground train back to the flat. The nearest station is only a 10 minute walk back to the flat. We walked in and discovered that the heat was on and we had hot water again. Also found a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine on the kitchen table. A very nice gift from the host’s management team.
It wasn’t long before I needed to take a quick nap before getting ready to leave for tonight’s entertainment. We decided to leave early so we could pick up our tickets before the performance. We took the underground to Paddington station where we found a taxi to take us to the venue. Before the start of the show, we walked to a nearby M&S and bought something to eat, since we hadn’t had dinner. We ate our quick meal out in the cold since there wasn’t really a place inside to eat. (Again, Corrine was a good sport and we both made the best of it.)
We had booked tickets to see “The Barricade Christmas Concert” at a location called “The Other Palace” which we discovered to be a small venue, but a intimate setting to hear some Christmas music. The group was four guys who sang various Christmas songs and several numbers from “Les Miserables”. It was very entertaining and a great way to comfortably listen to music. The group also featured performances from a couple of soloists they invited who also performed for us.
At about 10:00, when the performance ended, we decided to walk around to see some of the Christmas lights. I eventually (after a few delays on my part, getting us turned around a couple of times) found ourselves walking to Piccadilly Circus and saw a number of lighting displays along the way. We walked by Buckingham Palace too. Would be fun to go back during the day to see some of the shops.
Buckingham Palace at Night:
Christmas Lights in London (Piccadilly)
After about an hour of looking around we caught a taxi from Victoria station that brought us back to the flat. Though we did have to walk around Victoria station before we found where we could catch a taxi. (I was a little bit hungry and picked up a couple of cheeseburgers at the station.) But, we got home in one piece and watched some TV (Graham Norton Show) before we went to bed. Though I stayed up, and before I knew it, the time was nearly 2:00 a.m.
Tomorrow, we have planned to visit the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. But not until later in the afternoon. We need our sleep!