London Town I’m Stalkin’ (London, Day 5)

“Zing zing zinga zinga zinga zinga”– “Walk of Life,” Spice Girls

I mixed it up at Caffe Nero with a blueberry muffin instead of my usual white chocolate raspberry. Still tasty.

We took the Hammersmith & City Line to Wood Lane to Westfield Mall, where I returned my defective charger. As I explained my situation to the clerk at Micro Anvika, he was very understanding and gave me a full refund, to my relief. I hoped he didn’t think I was just using the cord for my stay and then returning it. I would have kept it if it had actually worked.

As I walked back to the mall entrance where Kristen was waiting, I discovered that they’ve been hiding all the really cute clothes at a store named Monsoon. However, English history was more important, and we chose the Tower of London over shopping.

At Kristen’s urging, we decided to take a bus ride instead of the tube, and I’m so glad we did. It took longer, but we got to see a lot more of the city. We took the #248 bus from the White City bus stop at Westfield to Victoria, then we took the #11 bus to Bank. It was a very scenic route, taking us around Hyde Park, then to Victoria Station, around Leicester Square, by Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, by the Royal Courts of Justice, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Victoria Station

Westminster Abbey and London Eye

Dirty Dancing, The Musical

Royal Courts of Justice

St. Paul's

We got off the bus just after St. Paul’s, walking by the monument to the Great Fire of London on our way to the Tower of London.

Monument to the Great Fire

The Tower cost 17 pounds, which took the last of our cash, so we vowed to find an ATM in the near future.

We walked into the building where the Crown Jewels were housed.

Tower of London 2

They had a series of short introductory films– one showing the Queen’s coronation, and another describing the various crowns and accessories. The main crown used for coronations has over 2,000 diamonds in it.

The main jewels (the crowns) were in a room with a moving walkway, and a station above with facts about each crown. There were more accessories in another room (dishes and cups and swords and things).

One crown was made for a king’s trip to India when he couldn’t let the original leave the country. The crown was very heavy and the king wrote in his diary that his head was tired after wearing it for a few hours.

We saw the Bloody Tower (which is what I might have called the entire complex before I had an emergency granola bar to boost my blood sugar levels). There were interactive exhibits describing the prisoners kept there, and one exhibit was devoted to the mystery of two young princes who disappeared mysteriously.

We looked around a bit more and watched some guards do their maneuvers.

Tower of London 3

Tower of London 6

Then we hopped on the #15 bus towards Fleet Street so we could dine at Ye Olde Cock Tavern.

Ye Olde Cock Tavern Exterior

As we looked at the menu, we discovered that it looked familiar. In fact, except for the name on the outside, it was an almost exact replica of the menu at the Captain’s Cabin.

Ye Olde Cock Tavern Menu

We learned that both pubs were owned by The Spirit Group, which is the second-largest pub chain in the UK. (Wetherspoon’s is first, although The Spirit Group doesn’t have TGI Friday’s-esque menus, nor does it serve the abomination that is Coors Light. I mean, who orders Coors Light when you have the finest beers in the world at your disposal? Well, I have a few ideas, but it’s still wrong.) Being completely famished, and knowing that the steak and ale pie was excellent, we settled in with a pint and ordered some food. I had an Adnam’s Bitter, which was quite tasty, and my old standby London Pride. Plus, the bartender was really friendly and we had a good chat with him for a while before the line at the bar got chaotic with the after-work crowd.

Food at Ye Olde Cock Tavern

We got back on the #11 bus headed towards Fulham Broadway. On the way, we passed through King’s Road, which had changed quite a bit since I was there in the late ’80s. It was filled with boutique stores, which weren’t as edgy as the ones that were previously there, and they were probably ridiculously expensive, but there were fewer chain stores.

We were both surprised when the driver announced that it was the last stop, and we were nowhere near Hammersmith. Oops. We walked a couple blocks to another bus stop, and found another bus (#295) that would take us there. We got off across from the Brook Green Tavern, where we stopped in and had a couple drinks. We got Johnny Jump-Ups, which is a pint of cider with a shot of whiskey thrown in. I also tried a Pimm’s, which was like an English mojito. It was more of a summer drink when they had more strawberries and fresh fruit on hand, but they were happy to make one for me with just mint and limes. It was very refreshing and tasty.

We stopped into Tesco, which was right behind the Tavern, for a reprise of our room picnic from the night before. I also got some souvenir food– Smarties, a couple packs of biscuits, and kettle chips (cheshire cheese and chutney, which I couldn’t resist opening back in the room).


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