Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Ireland-UK trip: England Day 9 London Recce

Recce:  Short for Reconnaissance

We drove our rental car from Littlebourne to near Heathrow airport; though not without a traffic diversion (detour) causing us and several other cars to have to negotiate a one vehicle(barely) lane with oncoming traffic!  Oh, and throw in two shallow water crossings and you can imagine it was quite the adventure just to reach the highway!

Couple of hours of slab riding later, we discovered that both the Waze app and Google Maps really didn't know how to get us to the Heathrow Marriot!  Much cussing later, we found it and checked in to drop off our bags.

Next we went to Heathrow Airport a few miles away and dropped off the rental car.  I want it noted the car was undented, though am sure the vegetation in the many country lanes must surely have scratched it!

We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station in London (15min trip vice over an hour by the Tube).  After walking a bit, located the spot to board the Big Bus Tour company's bus for the Red Route to see the sights and get our bearings for tomorrow's touring.

We sat on the upper deck, exposed to the sprinkles of rain and cold wind, but with great viewing angles.  We went past Trafalgar Square and saw Admiral Nelson's statue, same for Picadilly Circus, Oxford Street (shopping mecca apparently), the Shard and a couple of other weird's some stuff I found interesting.

 I am surprised they actually let you touch the horse....

The Dragon is a guardian of London apparently, there's statues showing the town
limits and on their city emblem.

 Views of Saint Paul's Cathedral, which Martha and I hope to see
more thoroughly tomorrow

 A view of the Tower of London from the bus (above)

Some of you are probably like me, and thought that the Tower of London was one tower.  It started that way with William the Conqueror, but as you can see, they've added to it.  More tomorrow on this site.

We got off the bus at the Tower Pier stop and after a brief wait, boarded the River Cruise boat that is part of the package when you buy tickets for the Big Bus Tour Bus route.  I must say, the river cruise gives you better views of Parliament, Big Ben, the Tower Bridge and The Eye!

 A view of the Tower of London as we walked to the Tower Pier

 The River Cruise Boat we took was similar to the one above.
Several weirdly shaped buildings in London, guess they wanted to be a bit different?

 Tower Bridge

 H.M.S. Belfast

 The Eye

 Approaching Parliament and Big Ben

 I liked the juxtaposition of the Statue with The Eye

 The more "usual" view of Big Ben and Parliament.

Another juxtaposition, Cavalry Guard and a modern day Police Guard.

So, now we have our bearings, and our goals for tomorrow's touring.  We took the Tube or subway back to Paddington Station.  Then it was a return to Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 via the Express train (very nice by the way, the tube was looking a bit weary) and a short bus ride back to the hotel.  More tomorrow.


Andy & Laura said...

Thanks for taking us down memory lane today. We both enjoyed our trip to London and hope you and Martha do to.

RichardM said...

Looking forward to further exploration. London looks like an interesting place.

redlegsrides said...

As you can imagine, the city is full of historic stuff RichardM....even when 80% of it burned down in a great fire back in 1666.

redlegsrides said...

You're quite welcome, Laura and Andy....

SonjaM said...

Good decision on returning the car. the tube, or bus or express train are the best means of transport to to get around in London, we never bothered with renting a car, and the public transit grid is really good stuff.

redlegsrides said...

The London public transit system is pretty good but I fear the infrastructure is not keeping up with the demands....just too many people, cars, buses and Motos ....

Gary France said...

|It is good seeing the pictures you took in my city. Yes to some weird shaped buildings, both new and very old. Agree that public transport is the best way to get around London and that is a creaking somewhat - but its been doing that for years.

redlegsrides said...

Gary France, the next day, the subway cars we rode on were in better shape. we must have ridden one that's due for refurbishment when the money's available.

Still way too many people for my comfort.

It's going to be a while before Martha talks me into flying anywhere again. Flying in the cattle section simply sucks.