We had a second day on our HopOn HopOff bus ticket so we awoke dismayed to see the rain bucketing down and the sky a dark ominous gray. It didn't look good and the weather forecasts were all different so we couldn't pick a likely scenario. After a lazy breakfast we headed out to find blue skies, some signs of the sun, and reasonable a temperature if you were not in the shade. Our prospects were looking brighter! We took the boat from Westminster Pier down to Tower Bridge and joined the crowds trying to get through the Tower of London. We grabbed a nice lunch while we contemplated the situation and eventually decided to have a quick tour and move on to other parts as soon as we could. We enjoyed what we did, even though we had been before, and marvelled at the antiquity and cruelty of what we observed and listened to.
The lions at the Tower
The entrance to the Tower
Me hoping to avoid being taken to the Tower
Jenny at the impressive gates to the Tower
We got back on the bus and made our way to Hyde Park where we had some things to explore and photograph. There were statues and monuments everywhere and I was enthralled by the majesty of all on display. But the real prize we were looking for was Diana's tribute near the Lake in the middle of the park. It took quite a walk but we eventually located it near the boathouse. It was rather more low key than we had expected but was still moving and heartwarming to be there. There was also a lovely tribute to the Egyptian god Isis nearby and it all made for a peaceful scene near the Serpentine.
The entrance to Diana's Memorial
Jenny at the waterfall
The Isis Monument
As we made our way back through the park we saw squirrels, monuments, barracks, and great views of the lake. There were many others enjoying the place and we both thought that this park was such a huge asset for London. We could imagine living there and using the park at weekends. I found some more fascinating arches and monuments at the entrance to the park, by this stage Jenny was ready for a seat so I took a few minutes on my own to explore the area.
The Hyde Park lake
A friendly squirrel in Hyde Park
The Prince Albert Memorial in Hyde Park
The Queen's Horse Guard Barracks in Knitsbridge by Hyde Park
A memorial to the Artillary Regiments by Hyde Park Corner
The Duke of Wellington memorial arch at Hyde Park Corner
We got back on the bus for what we thought would be a quick ride back to our tube stop at Westminster - how wrong we were! The streets were crowded with cars, taxis, buses and trucks and the streets were crowded too. It took forever to get through town and it was dark by the time we headed for our train. That was a bonus, however, because London at night is a sight to behold. She was all dressed up in all colours and exposed her glamorous side to the willing observers. It was aka a bit funny to be sitting atop a double decker bus and see large fully glassed office buildings with workers still at their desks, oblivious to the thousands of watching eyes.
Raffia jam at Marble Arch
The Marble Arch tube station
Crowds of shoppers and tourists in Regent Street
More crowds in Piccadilly Circus
Crowds gathering in Trafalgar Square
The Tower Bridge at night
It was getting late and the trains were bursting at the seams when we eventually headed home. We picked up a light tea at Tesco's and headed back to the flat. It wasn't until we read the paper that night that we read the headlines TUBE TERROR and found out there had been a scare on the underground at the Stratford Station. We went to bed that night thankful that we had been spared those dangers.