23 May 2009

TOURING LONDON, Day 2: Changing Plans

I am loving this gel Ibuprofen. It works miracles for the neuritis on my toe tops, and I rub some into my sore (arthritis??) thumb. Almost instant relief.

We leave The Citadines a few minutes before 7:00am and wander a bit before finding The Millenium--our desk clerks seem either unwilling or unable to give specific directions and the maps sometimes fail us... We are on the tour bus and travel to Victoria Station to que up with others taking our tour. After boarding the proper bus for our day trip to Windsor, Stonehenge, and Bath, I ask a fellow traveler how long this tour lasts? ELEVEN HOURS! And, we have tickets for the 7:30pm performance of Madame de Sade. We are able to de-board and reschedule the day trip for tomorrow--Sunday. No problem.

We re-start the day walking to Westminster Cathedral and Buckingham Palace, then across St. James Park to the Churchill War Rooms just beneath No. 10 Downing Street, taking the audio tour. Afterwards we trek through St. James again in time for the Changing of the Guard. Thousands of people have lined the streets to view this very English ceremony.

We have lunch at Da Mario which is purported to be the local pizza place for Diana and Princes William and Harry. The crust is good--JL has the Capricciosa and I opt for the Pizza Margherita and the Insalatina di Erbe Miste. After lunch, a quick stop at our hotel to drop off excess baggage and then we take the tube to Harrod's, Holy Trinity Brompton, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

At Harrod's JL finds some books for the effervescent Emerson Sophia, and we wander over the grounds at Holy Trinity Brompton--since we will miss Sunday services due to rescheduling our day trip. When we reach the V&A we find there is an informational tour starting immediately, so JL joins the group and I rest my feet and head in the William Morris Rooms cafe (my favorite spot at the V&A).

We have just a bit of time to regroup at our hotel, deciding to dine after tonight's theatre, and then to Leicester Square for the evening performance of Madame de Sade. As last night, we are seated in the Stalls in excellent view of the stage and performers. The set and costuming are fantastic, as are the performances. The subject matter is raw, as expected. The cast is six women--Madame de Sade (a beautiful blonde), her sister, her mother (Dame Judi), a courtesan-type woman, a religious-type woman, and the maid.

We wander through the theatre district a bit after the performance looking for a restaurant that no longer exists, and decide to head back to Gloucester Road near our hotel. We dine at Byrons--the place for a "proper burger." A burger tastes great after nearly two weeks in Europe.

Another early wake-up call so that we can--once again!--meet the Premium Tours bus outside of the Millennium Hotel at 7:25am.

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