You may recall that in the first half of my post about our first day in London, I left you at the gates of the In and Out Club on Piccadilly. It was cold, grey and wet; I was chomping at the bit to get into the midst of London, while Hubby was a tad less so. And it was Boxing Day, so that most things were closed.
"What now?" asked the Husband. I looked at him. What, indeed? I hadn't factored in the weather. Or the closings. And speaking of closings, they made not a whit of difference to the hoardes of people walking briskly past us up and down Piccadilly. I looked across the street at the entrance to Green Park. What to do, what to do? Drawing upon my past experiences in London, not to mention the times I'd been over as as a tour guide, I went through my mental Roledex searching for inspiration.
"Come on," I told Hubby, guiding him by the arm towards the crossing light. Over the road we went, then headed towards Apsley House until we got to the bus stop.
"Why are we standing here?" asked Hubby, naturally enough.
"We're waiting for the bus. The Big Red tour bus." I smiled encouragingly, recalling how much fun the Husband had had on the bus the last time we'd been in London together - when we'd ridden all the routes at his suggestion. And taken the Thames River cruise that our tickets also included.
He looked skeptical. "How do you know it stops here?" I pointed at the sign.
The Husband's face lit with sunshine. "I love the bus tour!" Things were looking up. The next bus showed up sharpish and on we hopped. We paid for our fares and the Hubby took two pair of headphones from the attendant, who encouraged us to head up the stairs to the top level.
"The front of the bus is covered. You won't get wet and you'll have a better view. You don't want to sit down here," he said. Before I could respond, the Husband was all but pushing me up the stairs.
"Hurry up!" he encouraged. "Quick, before the good seats are all taken." He apparently hadn't noticed that the bus was thus far empty. Up we went and had our pick of seats. We chose two right in front of the big windscreen, sat down and plugged in our headphones.
"This is great!"
I smiled back at him. "Happy?"
"Sure. Aren't you?" You bet. The bus pulled away from the curb and the narrative began. "The very first Hard Rock Cafe can be seen on the right . . . . . . . and the large residence coming up just ahead is Apsley House, home to the Dukes of Wellington . . . . . . . the Wellington Arch . . . . . . . . . the Lanesborough Hotel, formerly St. George's Hospital . . . . . . "
Hubby turned to me with a grin and mouthed, "Apsley House!" He pointed at me and mouthed again, "Artie!" I nodded and grinned in return. It was turning out to be a pretty good day after all.
Up Park Lane we went and I spied the Winter Wonderland set up behind Apsley House in Hyde Park. "That's where we're going on Friday night," I told Hubby. Soon we were at Marble Arch, then Oxford Street, which was absolutely crowded with people. Round London we rode - Trafalgar Square, the Duke of York's column . . . . . Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.
Past the Embankment, the Tower of London and over Tower Bridge we rode. The narrative directed our attentention to St. George Wharf Tower on the left, which is destined to become the tallest residential building in London and which, unfortunately, would be the scene of a helicopter crash in just two weeks time.
We crossed back over the River and before long we passed Buckingham Palace.
And, once again, Big Ben.
Needless to say, the bus tour was a smashing success. Hubby and I were back on the same page, he was as glad as I to be in London and all seemed right with the world. On that note, we went back to the Green Park Hilton and had dinner in their lovely restaurant and then went upstairs to properly unpack. Climbing into bed a short while later, I kissed the husband and turned out the light secure in the knowledge that tomorrow I'd be waking up in England. On the street where Bertie and Jeeves lived, no less.
Day Two Coming Soon . . . . . . .
Labels: A Couple in England, Kristine Hughes