Second part of my-feet-will-bleed-at-the-end-half-marathon-sightseeing tour. The first has gotten the suspiciously long title: The City of London, Vikings, Heroic Self-Sacrifices and Shad Thames
Nearing London Eye by boat, there is a real and possible chance of falling overboard as it is the tourist’s natural instinct to lean forward in order to catch all of the 443ft Ferris wheel at the banks of the Thames. Though it is nearly impossible to even capture all of the massive spinning wheel in one picture frame, the tourist has to try nonetheless.
It is a wonder that no serious accidents have taken place as boats make anchor at the stop below the Millennium Wheel and across from Parliament and Big Ben. Too many must-see attractions are in the vicinity for the tourist not to follows its instinct and cutting off all reason and throwing any safety tips aside.
While accidents have been avoided, the area is still full of smaller encounters between tourists bumping into one another as they miss a step or do not look where they walk.
Fortunately strong arms keep me at bay from any bumping, toe shredding or more serious incidents as I make my way from the boat after it docks at London Eye and Westminster. But that doesn’t mean that I am not furious that all the other tourists have taken all the good spots at the river banks, snapping pictures of the iconic parliament as it mirrors in the Thames water. Elbowing and pushing will ensue.
Westminster and feet that hurt
We have reached Westminster on what is supposed to be our first day in London, but which to my feet feels like day seven. I am more than pleased that my boyfriend is such a laid back type of guy who finds immense enjoyment in just sitting on a bench, soaking it all up. Personally, I hate sitting quietly without something to do, but thanks too my camera and a few cookies from Subway at Greenwich Pier I manage to enjoy the fact that I got a bench and the other tourists did not.
I am mean, I know, but so far we walked 9.68 kilometres and my feet are telling me its okay to rejoice in the small miracle that is this bench. This time around I do not complain that my boyfriend needs another five minutes of relaxing in the afternoon sun.
Too soon in fact we are off to find that perfect shot of Parliament from straight across the river just to the right of Westminster Bridge. Afterwards we slowly cross the bridge, pass Big Ben, and turn to walk on the front side of Parliament before heading in to the pretty little streets next to College Garden and Westminster Abbey. No other tourists follow us this way, all of them staying at the trafficked road running along the Parliament. After reaching Westminster Abbey we cross Parliament Square to Whitehall, once again joining the tourist crowds and getting a kick out of the guards standing at attention at Downing Street. We end up at The Silver Cross near Trafalgar Square, sharing a refreshment before taking the long and not very winding road to Buckingham Palace.
The Mall is long and tiring, and I don’t understand why people wish to walk up to a large building inhabited by an old woman and have their pictures taken in front of her golden gates. But when we reach those gates I get in line for photographs of the place. In spite of those who decided to built the long and harrowing Mall I walked those final yards up to the surprisingly not very pretty building, and to myself I inwardly sing a revolutionary tune just to feel a little rebellious. Yeah, I’m really not much for monarchies. I do not like the idea that some people are better than others just because their forefathers were more brutal with a sword.
But there is one queen who I have decided to honour this evening and that is jolly old Victoria. We walk through Green Park to the tube and take it to Lancaster Gate from where we head towards The Victoria for a late night dinner. The Victoria is an absolute beauty of a pub full of people, having a pint and speaking an English I can’t even pretend to understand. Thankfully there are enough young Aussies behind the bar for us to order something to eat as well as a long dreamed off pint. The bar is the only place left for us to enjoy our food, and I love it. I love sitting there nodding to some guy who tries to crack a joke at me without me having the faintest idea of what he is saying. The food is great and even better after we have walked 16 kilometres. I can only recommend anyone finding themselves on the North side of Hyde Park to drop by this gorgeous place, where there are plenty of paintings of queen Victoria and her beloved Albert.
After dinner we make the final short walk home to our not so very comfy beds. Tomorrow we’ll be enjoying Bloomsbury, Covent Garden, Soho and China Town. Hopefully my feet will be ready by then.