Our flight left at 11:25 at night. (Apparently, there's an 11:25 at night now). We got to the airport super early – not long after 9 – and had a nice long wait there.
The flight was uneventful – you don't get much time to sleep on the direct flight between Ottawa and London. It's a 7 hour flight, and it takes them about 2 hours to serve dinner and 2 hours to serve breakfast. Since Air Canada thinks a bland carrot muffin is “breakfast”, I'm not really sure how it can take so long, but such is life.
We took the tube from Heathrow to the station closest to our hotel. It was pretty easy – one transfer, which was the easiest subway transfer ever – and walked 5 minutes to the hotel. Naturally, our room wasn't ready, so we stored our bags and walked down the road. Our first stop was lunch – awesome fish and chips for me – and then we kept walking. We passed the headquarters for the British Girl Guide Association, then continued on to Buckingham Palace, which was just down the road. (Actually, the front of the palace is down the road - the back of the grounds is across the street).
By that time, it was late enough that we could check in, so we went back to the hotel, where I gratefully washed my face and changed my shirt. (Sorry, London, the shower had to wait.) It was about 3 by then, so we started a hop-on, hop-off tour, which is good until the end of the next day. We thought it would be 2 hours.
It took 3 and a half. We were tired and cold, so we went back to the hotel, dropped off our cameras, and went for supper. (Italian-style pizza, for anyone who was wondering.)
By then, it was almost 8, and we'd been up for … a long time, so we called it a day.
Day 2 started with a shower. (Yay for running water!)
We ate, then got back on the hop-on, hop-off tour and went to Hyde Park. We walked through the park to the Serpentine, saw Rotten Row, then walked back to the bus stop. I was surprised how many paths in the park are still gravel/sand for horses.
We got back on the bus and went to Picadilly Circus. We walked around there for a while - it's very touristy, kind of like Times Square in New York - then, that's right, got back on the bus.
After the tour, we went through White Tower, an exhibit on prisoners in the tower, and an exhibit on instruments of torture. We walked on the inner wall, then decided that was enough.
We took a boat cruise (included in our hop-on, hop-off tour) back to the Parliament buildings, then walked over to Westminster Abbey. By that time, we were tired, so we took the bus back home, grabbed some food, and called it a night.
London by the numbers:
Number of slots in a post-office box - 2 (for stamped mail and franked mail - not all mailboxes, but some)
Number of times I've needed an umbrella - 1 (to run across the street for supper tonight)
Number of times I've inadvertently eaten peppers - 2 (I need to be more careful)
Number of bags of McCoys crisps I've purchased - 3
Number of bags of McCoys crisps I've eaten -1
Number of vegetable dishes I've eaten - 0
Number of times I've been to the Tower of London (lifetime) - 3
Number of times I've been to the Tower of London (this trip) -1
Number of pictures I can upload using this dreadfully slow internet access - 0
Cost of dreadfully slow internet access - 6 pounds for 90 minutes