Today was the first swim free day, unless you count our arrival day, and our main plan of the day was to go on a guided tour in the Houses of Parliament. As our weather apps all promised +20 degrees and more or less sunshine all day we put short sleeves and shorts! That turned out to be a big mistake! Now, we will stop complaining about the weather and get on with the story…
We took the bus downtown and had the privilege to ride in the top and front of the double decker J. We had a bit of bad luck when we were going to change buses as we came just behind our second bus at the last intersection before the bus stop. Oh well, we just had to wait a bit in the freezing cold (oh yes, we were going to stop complaining about the weather now! 😉 ). The next bus came… and drove by! What! How rude!
Our next bus actually stopped but it was a boring normal bus (read: not a double decker). But in the end we actually passed the rude bus. Victory!
Our first stop of the day was Maltby Street Market. It was a very nice and cool little street market. They sold a lot of different things (with emphasis on different) such as “Haggis Scotch eggs”, overpriced vintage (pieces of old oak planks for a hundred quid each), small egg-sized waffles and so on and so forth…
We had a very good breakfast at the end of the market with both something savory and something sweet together with some excellent coffee! We finished of the market with going through a junk… sorry, “second hand” shop.
At Tower Bridge Fredde patiently tried to get a “perfect” shot of a double decker on the bridge. After a long and freezing wait Fredde put his finger on the trigger AND then some bloody tourists walked in front of the camera and ruined the picture. How rude!
We walked by the Thames and made our way to the Houses of Parliaments. It was a beautiful walk with a lot of contrasts – brand new and modern areas together with old buildings. Our route took us through a beautiful shopping gallery with a cool artwork in the middle.
Halfway to the Houses of Parliament we picked up bikes instead and crisscrossed through the streets of on London on two wheels. Of course the bike docking station at the Houses of Parliament only had room for one of our bikes, sigh! Well, this time an available docking station wasn’t too far away.
To get into the Houses of Parliament was as much hassle as going through the security checkpoint at the airport (with the scanners and all that). Once inside we met up with Mary who was going to be our guide for the 1½ hour tour through the House of Lords and House of Commons. The tour started off with where the queen once a year enters the building to deliver her speech. Then we followed in her footsteps as our guide Mary explained everything and went through the history of the place. Very, very interesting and quite funny at places as well 🙂
After the tour was over it was time for our Afternoon Tea in the building just by the river Thames. It was really lovely and the food was absolutely delicious!
On our way to the Houses of Parliament we thought that it was a lot of tourists about, but it was nothing compared to when we got out. The people basically walked on each other! We fled the scene on a couple of Santander bikes to explore the more exclusive parts of London – Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Well, we basically wanted to go to Harrods and do some window shopping :-). We biked through some very, very nice neighborhoods and we saw more Porches, Mercedes’s, Ferrari’s (the list can go on…) than we have ever seen before in one place. Just outside of Harrods we saw a car that made us Laugh Out Loud! It was a very exclusive Mercedes with all details in gold and the paintjob was actually velour! The pictures don’t give the car justice and the owner was a perfect match to his car!
Harrods in itself was so extremely big and filled with so much exclusive items ranging from Russian caviar and chocolate priced at several thousand pounds per kg to super designer clothes which of course don’t even have price tags. It was an experience to walk around in there and everything was so well made and exclusive that you hardly dared to touch anything.
We finished off a very nice and touristic day in London with some excellent Indian food at Café Spice Namaste. We then took the tube home and halfway switched to our trustful Santander bikes…