London, England (32B Edith Grove)
Today is Corrine’s last day in England before she returns to the U.S. tomorrow. I suggested we take the underground to Westminster to see the parliament buildings, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. Then perhaps explore Leicester Square and also find a place to grab a bite.
For the past couple of days we’ve been walking down to the Sloan Square station, and getting coffee at the Starbucks along the way. The station is 1.3 miles away but the walk down Kings Road gives us plenty to look while we walk.
The Westminster station is only a few stops away from Sloan Square so we were there in about 10 minutes. I suggested we walk up a 100 feet or so on Westminster Bridge to get a better look at the parliament building (its formal name is Palace of Westminster) since the other side is almost completely covered by scaffolding. We took a few pictures from the bridge then walked over to Parliament Square. I showed Corrine the newest statue that was added this year to the square. Dame Millicent Fawcett was the first woman statue added to the square. She was prominent in the fight for women to vote for who represented them in Parliament. Up until 1918, a hundred years ago, only men were allowed to do this. And up until this year, only men had statues in the square.
After Corrine took her pictures we sat down and watched a number of women (and a few men) having their picture taken next to the statue. Now that one woman has a statue in the square, maybe there will be a few more women honored in the same way in the years to come.
We walked up Birdcage Walk street that leads to Buckingham Palace. It was named after the Royal Menagerie and Aviary which were first located there during the reign of King James I. A number of large trees line the street, and since the day was warm and sunny, we could walk in the shade up to the palace.
We saw the Queen was home by the flying of the Royal standard over the palace. We waited by the Victoria Memorial to see if the Queen would look out one of the windows. Alas, she didn’t. (We would probably have to wait a very long time.) We were both getting hungry and walked down The Mall to Trafalgar Square that would then lead us to Leicester Square where we planned to eat. By the time we got to the square we were ready for a meal and a place to rest.
I had been to a Chinese restaurant (Joy King Lau) with Paula and recommended it to Corrine. She agreed and we found it a short distance away. I like this place, not only for the food, but for the impeccable service as well. During our meal, a server was always nearby to answer questions and ensure we had everything we needed. By the time we left we were both stuffed.
To walk off our meal I asked Corrine to lead the way. It was her last day and she let her eyes and ears tell us where to go. We stopped at an intersection that was a perfect location to take pictures and a video to show the lively streets of London. We also passed Seven Dials, a historical location where seven atmospheric streets link Covent Garden to Soho. Many shops in the area feature almost anything one could think of. Many were high-end shops that offered trendy wear for both men and women. Corrine went into a few shoe stores and I waited outside and people watched.
It was starting to get dark when we decided to return to the flat. We happened to be in a location where the underground stop didn’t lead to a line that would take us directly to Sloan Square. We had to transfer a couple of times before we reached the Sloan Square station. We called an Uber when we arrived at the station to take us the rest of the way to our Airbnb flat. Along the way we learned that our Airbnb host would let me stay in the flat until 2:30. My new flat wouldn’t be available until 3:00 tomorrow.
While Corrine got ready for her trip back to the U.S. tomorrow, I uploaded some pictures to share with Corrine. Neither of us stayed up too late. It will be a long day for Corrine tomorrow and I will stay behind and get the flat ready to turn back over to the Airbnb host then go to my new flat. I don’t need a two bedroom flat, but will certainly miss the two cats that we fed and played with for the past few days.
What a great time I’ve had with Corrine as my travel partner. We saw so much and Corrine was a trooper for being willing to tour as much as we did. And putting up with me for the last two weeks. I confessed that I was ready to rest for the next couple of months in Edinburgh. I apologized several times when my patience was being taxed. A little rest in Edinburgh will calm me down before I continue my travels after the first of the year.