My housesit in the burbs completed, I hopped on the Translink at the Elstree/Borehamwood station and changed to the Jubilee Underground at West Hamp which I took to the Canning Town stop. There I changed again, this time to the DLR (District Light Rail), which took me under the Thames to Woolwich Arsenal, the location of my AirBnB for the next 5 nights.
My hosts, David and Fernando live on the 7th floor of a fabulous condo which has a view looking up the Thames toward downtown London. How beautiful is this?
Day 1 of my London visits ended with sitting on the deck, sipping wine, getting to know each other and watching the sun set. Welcome to London!
Well-armed with maps, brochures and a list of places which I wanted to see, plus suggestions from David and Fernando of places I should see, I had a daily itinerary packed from daybreak to dinner time. And I mention dinner time as this is the only AirBnB that I know of that says 'if you here by dinner time, you are welcome to join us!' And that's exactly what I did every night of my stay.
David cooked some of the most delicious meals ever - from my first morning of a full English breakfast (with sausages and blood pudding), Beef Bourguignon, homemade marinara sauce, and my final night a chicken pot pie with a flaky pastry topping with my name spelled out in the pastry! I really didn't want to leave!
Each morning I could take a 10-minute walk down the Thames to the River Bus dock. The 'boat/bus' stopped everywhere you would want to stop - Canary Wharf, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, The Eye, or Blackfriars and St. Paul's Cathedral or go ride the DLR - depending on which part of town I was headed for that day.
Day 2 - Off the Kensington. Today I took the DLR to the Underground, hoping off at Green Park and walking through the Marble Arch, wandering around the world-famous Harrods Department Store, ogling the designer gowns and grabbing a lunch in their amazing Food Hall, having a nice chat with the handsomely-dressed doorman at at very ritzy hotel before attending a concert at The Royal Albert Hall celebrating the 85th birthday of Stephen Sondheim which was broadcast live on the BBC.
Day 3 - After taking a fairly bad tumble out of the tub/shower, it was decided I should visit St. Bart's Hospital, directly behind St. Paul's Cathedral, just to make sure all my 'bits and pieces' were still in tack. Took the River Bus and since I had to get off right in front of The New Globe Theater and there was a tour starting in 5 minutes, I decided the hospital could wait just a bit. Very fun to see the costume used by Judy Dench when she played Queen Elizabeth compared to the portrait I saw of her at the National Portrait Gallery later in the day.
And since I had to walk right by St. Paul's Cathedral on the way to St. Barts, thought I could just pop-in, but for some reason all the doors were shut to the public that day. Spent the next two hours having excellent (and free) medical care from the staff at St. Barts, including x-rays to learn nothing was broken and I still all together.
After a lunch at Ye Old Cheshire Cheese Pub (extremely dark and VERY old) where I had a nice pint and my first order of fish 'n chips, I decided to walk down Fleet Street all the way to Trafalgar Square to the National Museum and Portrait Gallery. This 2+ mile stroll took me right through the banking district and the theater district known as The Strand. Ended the day with Henry the XIII and his daughter Elizabeth I.
I headed back to my little AirBnB with very tired feet after a day of great sightseeing. I was ready to enjoy another delicious home-cooked dinner and several glasses of wine before plopping into my with my lovely XL King-sized bed for the night. Which seems the perfect place to break this very long-winded blog-post. Part 2 will follow shortly!