I'm going to be a little short here, since I've spent so much time writing about Scotland. We arrive in London early Saturday morning having slept somewhat fitfully on the train. We take the tube from Euston Station to Victoria, where we put our bags in the "Left Luggage". Our plan is to spend the day on a double-decker sight-seeing bus but it soon starts teeming rain. We get soaked at our first stop, Buckingham Palace, where they cancel the ceremony of the Changing of the Guard because of the rain (for a rainy country, England is poorly adapted to rainy days). We do a little more sight-seeing on foot but don't feel like waiting on "queues" in the rain and so after lunch (more pizza!) we go to our hotel to dry off. The hotel is quite civilized - bathrobes, TV in the tub, mini-bar. Ted creates an impressive clothesline web in the bathroom where we dry our wet kayaking gear, which has been stuffed into our bags since the day before.
Fortunately, the rain stops eventually. Ted and I head out to find a few geocaches (challenging, since our GPS receiver is at the bottom of a Scottish loch) and wind up taking a long walk - past the Tower of London, over Tower Bridge, along the South Bank of the Thames, then finally back over London Bridge (which appears to be in good shape) and back to the hotel, stopping along the way for dinner (Italian again, thanks to Ted's limited eating range).
Tower of London in the morning. We try twice to go on the Yeoman Warder (beefeater) tour but each time it sprinkles a little just as the tour is getting started and so it gets canceled - again, a poor approach in a rainy climate. We self-tour instead and have a good time. Alas, the line for the crown jewels is quite long so we don't see them. For lunch I force Ted to eat in a sandwich shop (think Panera, but smaller). I simply can't face another pizza meal.
After a brief stop at our hotel, we go to the British Museum. We spent longer than planned at the Tower and so our visit to the museum is brief, focusing on the Roman and Eqyptian galleries - including the Rosetta Stone!
From the museum we walk through Covent Garden to Leicester Square. Along the way I spot the hotel where I stayed when I came to London with my family in the 1970s. It's a cool walk - we're in the high energy part of the city. Our destination is the Leicester Square movie theater, where we have Harry Potter tickets waiting for us (I bought them online in Scotland). We pick up our tickets then head over to the nearby Chinatown for dinner, then back for the movie. After the movie we get a surprise when we go into Haagen Dasz for ice cream. It turns out this is a very fancy sit-down Haagen-Dasz. We walked up to the door where there was a maitre d who asked us "table for two?" I stared blankly at him, having not encountered a sit-down ice cream restaurant since the Jahn's of my youth. Eventually I recovered my wits and responded, and he seated us. The waitress (!) brought us menus, which included a range of exotic ice cream combinations and desserts. We ordered two scoops apiece, which were served in nice, real bowls - quite civilized.
Finally, it was back to the hotel. This was a little bit of an adventure, as the Underground was closing for the night. We got part-way back but had missed the last train on the line we had to connect to and so wound up taking a bus the rest of the way. Our last, long evening in London was a success.
Sadly, we headed home. A quick and easy train ride to Heathrow, a last cider at the airport bar (Ted bought), then back to the stifling heat and familiarity of home. It's great to travel; it's great to be home.