London Mon Dec 3 - Day 3
Trip Start Nov 30, 2012
34Trip End Jan 31, 2013
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Can't remember what time we all awoke but having Marks & Sparks just down the road means I duck out, get fresh pastries, fresh raspberries and blueberries, really amazing chocolate milk and have it all ready when the little muffins cheerily awaken and come hopping and skipping to the breakfast table. Everyone still suffering jet lag so replace the word 'cheerily' with grumpily and 'hopping and skipping' with lumbering and lurching.
Our issue with the main shower in the apartment continues. It is an electric shower so the theory is we press a button on the unit in the shower recess and it is meant to turn the water on. Zed keeps perservering with the shower which means holding the button down as he showers. I'm using the second bathroom with a handheld shower but it is set up in a bathtub with a shower curtain
Monday morning once everyone has showered, bathed, cleaned teeth in the kitchen because the bathrooms are taken up with someone holding a button down or running a bath, we FINALLY get out of the apartment and make our way to the London Bridge Experience. The London Bridge Experience is a combination of the London Bridge history and all the horrors and awful things that have occurred in London during the ages. We just couldn't find it - it was meant to be at London Bridge so that's where we headed. We walked down, along, round, found the exit, then the entrance and went in. It's an interactive experience and started with us walking down a dark corridor. There was a loud train noise and the front of a train lit up - and made us all jump. Not sure what that was about but then we moved into a room that charted the 2000 year history of the bridge. A really good display including a piece of timber thought to be from one of the first structures built by the Romans. Apparently it had been found in someone's attic which initially seems like quite a dubious claim but after having visited the Baths in Bath which were buried and built upon for nearly 1000 years I am thinking that anything is possible in this country
Stage 2 of London Experience was experiencing the horrors and evils that have occurred throughout London's history. Basically any excuse to come up with a reason to scare paying customers. It was a combination of wax models and people in character delighting in scaring us. There were things grabbing us, hitting us - and all through strobe lighting. We had to walk single file holding onto the shoulders of the person in front of us. We went past cages where people lunged at us, past someone wielding a chainsaw, through a mental hospital setting, a WWII setting
It was all a bit crazy and scary and the kids loved it. One of the ghouls with white face, black eyes and red dripping out of her mouth was outside having a fag and another 'ghoul' walked back in with a takeway drink - what a job, huh? I think the people who run it are very proud of it. The woman in the gift shop was keen to get our feedback and the manager came out and asked us what we thought of it all and what we thought of the new audio kits they had. Even the loo was designed to scare - the 'Jaws' theme playing - ho ho ho.
We walked outside and the kids wanted to go across the road to the 'London Dungeon' Experience. I put the kybosh on that and took them all down the road to the Winston Churchill WWII experience
After WWII we made our way along the Thames up to the new Globe Theatre. London city was established within walls but theatres were not allowed to exist within the city walls. Theatre and entertainment moved across the Thames to the other side and that's where the Globe was first established. The first one where our apartment is, burnt down. It was re-built, only to be destroyed years later by Puritans who thought theatre, music and general entertainment were the work of the devil
Waited a bit more and then went back to the apartment. No Zed but Bella and Sebastian were there. Sebastian was the shower guru and was trying to explain to me how I had to pull down a cord to re-set the shower and then press the button. I wasn't really paying attention as I was a bit worried about where Zed might be. Sebastian on a shower explanation roll tried explaining the reset and three second rule to the kids. I was trying to find out from Bella where Zed was when he turned up. He and Bella had come out of the Globe, didn't see us and assumed I had taken the kids next door to the Tate Modern
One of the things that becomes quickly apparent in London is the international nature of this city. As we walk around it I hear Italian, Spanish, lots of French, American (or maybe Canadian), I see many people of Asian nations etc. This is a city that the world comes to see and I can understand why. Not only is it physically beautiful but its influence in the history of the world makes me think that it will remain one of the major tourist destinations for a very long time yet.
As an aside, whilst we were in London there were news reports that something like 55% of London's residents were born outside of the UK. Perhaps a lot of the travellers I was noticing were in fact locals, no way to know for sure.