Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 4 in London, the London Eye and Parliament Square

I woke up later than usual this morning, after 6am versus waking up at 5am daily since arriving in London.  I usually stay  in bed when I get up early, I decided to get started early today.  I wanted to get on the London Eye, London's huge ferris wheel built for the milineum on the Thames River in Westminster.  On the Original Bus Tour yesterday, we learned the London Eye was scheduled to close in 2005.  London Eye was granted an extension to remain open for another 24 years.

I went to Pret A Manger for breakfast, I got there earlier than usual, I had a tomato mozerella croisant and Pret's superfruit bowl.  I went around the corner to Marble Arch Tube station at 9am and to the Jubilee line to Westminster Station for the London Eye.  There was already a crowd waiting inside a heated area when I arrived at the London Eye, I joined the crowd inside to wait for the ticket windows to open.

A French woman asked me if we were in the right area for the London Eye tickets, she said a crowd had lined up outside.  I told her the area we were in opened intot the ticket area, but I did not know if we were supposed to line up outside. I went outside to check, I asked a few people and found out, people were instructed to line up outside.  One line for people who had a ticket voucher and another for those who had not bought a ticket.  I went back and told the French woman the line was outside, she decided to stay in the warm indoors area.  I went outside and got in the London Eye ticket voucher line.

I was determined to get on the London Eye today and I arrived early to avoid the huge crowds I encountered the previous two days.  I could tolerate waiting in the cold for half an hour to get on the London Eye immediately when it opened.  It wasn't long before they openend the doors and let us inside to redeem our vouchers for tickets.  I got my ticket and 4D glasses for the pre London Eye 4D movie, I skipped the movie and went straight for the London Eye, there was a short line and I got on the ride quickly.

I was on the London Eye with a group of Germans, I talked to a mother and her daughter, they were eager to speak English with me. They complimented my English and asked where I was from, I said the US, they were surpised and said I sounded English.  I think the Germans could not hear the difference between American and British English, every Brit in London knows I am American the minute I open my mouth, they never mistake me for British.

Lynnae on the London Eye

I told the Germans I plan to visit Germany during my Europe tour, right now I plan to go to Berlin and Munich, my plans can and likely will change. The Germans were from Nuremberg, I know nothing about Nuremberg except the Nuremberg trials, which were the first thing to pop into my mind.  The German mother asked me about US high schools and whether they teach German.  I told her I did not think German was taught at my high school, but I cannot remember.  I told her German is taught at University.  She told me her 23 year old nephew would be studying in the US next year, she could not remember where/what state.

Lynnae on the London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament in Background

Our ride on the London Eye was a little over half an hour, we got some great views of London, I hear the view is amazing at night.  After my ride on the London Eye, I walked across Westminster bridge to Parliament square, I took a picture in front of the Winston Churchill statue.  I wanted to get a picture with the Abraham Lincoln statue across the street but my camera died as a passerby was taking the picture for me.  I considered walking to Traflagar Square, but it was cold, I had things to do, decided to save it for my return trip to London, when the weather will be warmer.

Parliament and Big Ben from the London Eye

Me & Winston Churchill Statue

I stopped by a London store called M&S to look for thermal underwear, the weather in Paris is just as cold as in London.  The M&S near my hostel had sold out of thermals, the sales woman recommended I go to their much larger store on Oxford street.  I briefly returned to the hostel and then walked to Oxford street to search for thermals.  Oxford street is London's shopping district, I found M&S and bought the thermals, there was a small crowd at M&S looking for thermals like me.  M&S was sold out of medium thermal leggings, I bought the large, there was only one long sleeve thermal shirt in size 8, I bought that too.  I will wear my thermals on my way to Paris, hopefully they make the unseasonably cold European April more tolerable.

I spent the afternoon napping, sleeping away the jet lag, and packing. My backpack is packed, I will throw in my remaning things when I get up at 3:30am for my 5:40am Eurostar train to Paris.  The Eurostar rep said they require you check in 30 minutes before the train departs and suggested I allow 15 minutes to retrieve my ticket.  I will take one of London's overnight buses to the train station, it runs  at 18 & 55 past each hour.  I need to take the 4:18 train to make it to Eurostar in time for my departure, means an early start tomorrow. I hope the alarm on my UK cell phone wakes me up and I make the train on time.  I'm sitting in the Pub blogging and eating pizza, going upstairs to get ready for bed in a few minutes.  My next blog entry will be from the city of light, Paris.

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