Saturday, August 06, 2011

Trip report: England; Day 2; The Tower of London and St. Paul's Cathedral

OK, let me get this out and then I promise I won't whine much more: what is with hotels that don't offer wireless internet? I don't even care that much if they charge a little something for it. I think charging for wireless internet is ridiculous, too, but not as ridiculous as charging 20 pounds a day for high speed internet access via ethernet cable. Come on, Marriott--get with the program!

I have to use my husband's work laptop to type this, and it's balky and uncomfortable. And I can't get pictures.

Instead, I'll tell you what I wore, and what we did.

I wore

pink Eileen Fisher 3/4 sleeve cotton t-shirt

J. Crew City Fit Cafe Capris

tan Prada driving mocs

black 3/4 sleeve Nordstrom rain anorak

under the rain anorak, my Chanel wallet-on-a-chain

I also carried my idiotic Coach Poppy tote for things like bottled water, my umbrella, sunglasses, the guidebook I broke down and bought, etc.

What I Did

Our first stop for the day was the Tower of London. Can I just say how ... weird ... it is that I've only been to London once before, and this choir trip's itinerary is duplicating so much of what we did 20 years ago? Luckily a few things were different or I'd start to feel ossified. The crown jewels are displayed differently; the Tower is more Disney-fied (every attraction exits into a gift shop) and this time, we have teenagers with us. So that was interesting enough, I guess, and it was a lovely morning--sunny, but mild. Good weather for exploring.

We ate lunch at a sort of outdoor food court area in a newly-developed area just west of the Tower (for newly-developed read "after 1991".) There were lots of tourists of different stamps, and the food selections were OK; the teenagers could chow down on hot dogs with fries, but I could go to Paul and get a ham baguette and a bottle of Badoit.

(I love Badoit SO MUCH but they don't sell it in Chicago. I bought three bottles.)

After lunch we went to St. Paul's Cathedral. I was ready to give it a quick walk through and bail, but the teenagers insisted on really exploring. So we walked up the 200-plus steps to the whispering gallery and another two-hundred steps through some very steam-punk looking metal stairways to the dome. There we had great views of the London Eye, and the London Eye had great views of us.

Afterwards we hit a bookstore for a little browsing (and the purchase of a much-needed guide book) and then the teenagers insisted on going back to the cathedral for evensong. The choir sang a setting of O Nata Lux that our choir has sung, and the teenagers just loved hearing it.

Sitting in St. Paul's--site of the previous Royal Wedding (Charles' and Camilla's doesn't count) listening to gorgeous music and watching the sky darken through the clear glass windows while the setting sun illuminates the gold in the mosaics? Is well worth the blisters those Prada driving shoes gave me.


  1. If you're looking for a yummy, not-too-expensive (by London standards) place to eat, I recommend Pret a Manger, which is all over. Lots of fresh fruits and salads, great breads and sandwiches, etc.

    We've always had to pay usurious rates for wireless in British hotels, but B&Bs tend to be better about it. This past spring, it was around 8 pounds per day. Oddly enough, our wireless was free in Paris.

  2. Plenty of Badoit here for favorite fancy water.
    I'd offer to bring it with me in a couple of weeks (you ARE putting me up, aren't you?) but I don't think I'd get it on the plane.
    Le sigh.

  3. FYI - Charles & Diana married at St Paul's, but their son married at Westminster Abbey.

    We need pictures!

  4. We're looking at a possible London visit next spring, so am now bookmarking your travelogues.

    Hotel with wi-fi - check!

    I've found that anything labeled as a "driving moc" is rarely a good all-day walking shoe. Hope you find something less blister inducing!

  5. Ouch. Blisters on vacation are NOT good at all.
    Chanel vs Prada 1-0!
    Keep the trip report coming ... I ADORE London.

  6. I love that you are visiting these historic sites but still need to record for history what you wore there. I completely understand.


Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.