We’ve got 3 nights in London—well 2 left now—so we take the first day to see the sights. Last night I printed off three 30 euro Big Bus tour tickets and today we go around the town.
Protip #6: London Sights
1) Big Ben is the best. Undisputed. It’s kind of surrounded by buildings which means you can only see it from below looking up, but it is prettier and more iconic than these posers.
2) Tower Bridge is the second best. The paint is very fresh. Very blue. So nice. Much wow.
3) You have to pay to get into the Tower of London. So I don’t know what that looks like.
4) Piccadilly Circus is not, in fact, a circus. It is a shopping square. More on that tomorrow. (I know—hurrr durr m stupid).
5) A lot of the buildings look cool but you don’t really know what they are.
6) You shall not escape the bounds of ‘Murican consumerism: i.e. hello McDonalds.
After one full loop, we are back at our hotel and we decide today is the day we check out the google-acclaimed fish and chips of “the Victoria” restaurant before they stop serving food. It’s around noon so we don’t know how long we’ve got.
It is also here, in this dimly lit carefully traditionalized pub, that we experience our first European Guinness. Each pint is adorned with a little clover leaf, real nice-like. They bring us a plate of fish and chips large enough to feed all 20 residents of Wyoming. It’s unbelievable. We feast. There’s vinegar for the chips, brown sauce for the brave, and the tartar sauce is… well… nice try, Britain. Stick to the vinegar.
After lunch my mother goes back to the hotel and my sister and I hop back on a Big Bus so we can stop and explore some places.
“Some places” ends up being Tower Bridge because the full loop is about 4 hours and the buses stop running at 6 pm. (Like everything else in this city). We don’t want to get stranded several miles from our hotel because the street signs are little tiny license plates stuck to buildings in obscure tree-shrouded locations. We’d never find our way home.
Tower Bridge is where my sister decides I am to purchase us two double-cones from this stand called Piccadilly Whip. Now Piccadilly Whip portrays itself as an ice cream stand, but it in fact does not serve ice cream. It serves frozen skim milk.
Protip #7: There is no ice cream in the British Isles. There is only milk and gelato. All is lost. Stop searching. You will lose your soul.
It’s a race against the clock to eat these things before they melt. Some drips on our pants. It’s a shame because we don’t plan to wash these pants for the entire duration of the trip.
And I only brought one pair.
We weave through tourists to take pictures by several walls and wall protrusions because we think one of them might be the Tower of London. Like everything else here, there are no signs directing people to the tower so as far as we’re concerned it could be anything. Then—to really demonstrate our tourist status—we take pictures by some lamp posts and the bridge itself. It’s all good and majestic. The streets are still filthier than a mouth in an Orbits gum commercial and the smokers are closing in all around us, but that bridge is damn pretty.
My sister and I have to run to catch the last bus and we hop on just as it starts sprinkling. The rain kind of warrants we stay on the first floor because the second floor is open—but there are too many baby strollers blocking the isle so we go up and get rained on. I love rain. All is well.
Back in Victoria, my sister and I go out in search of a pub/bar that isn’t blasting slightly outdated American pop music. There are none. Also it’s past 6 so food is now hard to come by.
Eventually we eat and then return to the hotel where our mother orders more I Can’t Believe It’s Not Food room service, (which I hope no one actually believes tastes like food). We call it a successful day and go to bed. Tomorrow is the day we’ve all been waiting for:
We’re going to see the Cotswolds. More on that tomorrow.