Sunday Morning and it’s raining, but that wasn’t going to stop us. We had one day to see the City. Jeff spoke to his friend Ryan who suggested we hit a certain section so that we would catch a bunch of things at once and maximize our day. So we hit it and did much of it under the clouds, but it was great!
Ryan told Jeff that we should take the Tube to Charing Cross and walk around from there because it’s right near Piccadilly Circus and lots of other sites. So that’s what we did. I think that morning we walked to Anerley and took the Overground to Canada Water on the Jubilee Line. Then we took that to Waterloo and changed for the Northern Line to Charing Cross. When we got out we were right near the gate that leads to Buckingham Palace so we decided to start there. As we were walking down that long road that leads to the palace we could hear drumming. The next thing we know we see what looks like the royal marching band coming around the corner. Turns out we had just missed the changing of the guard. Damn! Oh well. We had no idea what time that was happening so I guess you can’t really miss something if you were never on your way to it.
We kept walking toward the palace and of course there was a big crowd around it. If I were the Queen I wouldn’t want to spend too much time at that spot. Personally I would need people to get off my porch! That’s just too much. LOL.
We joined the crowd in taking photos and looking at the sculpture of Queen Victoria and the Roman soldiers that is right in front of the palace. This was the first time I really looked at the statue and all the other sculptures in the area. It really tells the history of London for better for worse. There are lots of references to Africa out there. I’m sure those are the things that people miss when visiting. Who want to think about that right? Well, it’s all there folks. Just look closely.
|The Royal Homestead|
|Check out Medusa on the shield|
|The handsome Queen Victoria (lol)|
|I love the sign!|
|WWII Women's Memorial. I just loved that there was one for the women!|
We walked down the street toward Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, when we realized we were right in front of 10 Downing Street, where the Prime Minster resides. Cool! We kept walking toward Ben and then there he was in our face. Jeff asked me to take a photo of him there. I think that was sort of his Eiffel Tower moment. From there we walked down the road to check out Parliament and then across the street to the Abbey. We couldn’t get in to either so we just took it in from the outside. That walked reminded me of when I did it the first time with Achuziam, Shawn, Lionel & Irv. It was just as good the second time around. Across from the Abbey there is a statue park of sorts. Along with a statue of Winston Churchill there was a statue of Nelson Mandela. There were other folks there too, but I can’t remember who they were. Really I was just trying to figure out how Mandela fit in to it all, but hey, I’ll talk take it!
|Jeff & Ben|
|What are yo doing here Mr. Mandela?|
After checking all that out Jeff wanted to go see the Tower Bridge, which was a train ride away. So we decided to find something to eat first and then jump on the train and head east to the Tower of London and the Bridge. We took a short walk and found ourselves by the Embankment Tube station. There were a few restaurants over there so we stopped, ate and then we were supposed to head to the Tower, but we decided to head toward Piccadilly first.
|A rainy London day with Ben in the distance|
So we went in and looked around for a bit. We decided to just do one floor because we could have been in there for hours and we didn’t have hours. Unlike the Lourve on the day I was in Paris, the folks at the Portrait Gallery were not having photos being taken at all. Jeff pulled out his phone and started to shoot a portrait of Paul McCartney and BAM, this woman popped up out of nowhere to shut him down! They were not having it. LOL. There is a really amazing portrait of Princess Diana in gallery among other great paintings, but that one really stood out for me. After being there for about 45 minutes we decided to head out. We walked toward Piccadilly and stopped at a store that Jeff saw a cool Marilyn Monroe picture in (I love Marilyn) to check it out. After seeing it and finding out it’s crazy price, we decided to skip Piccadilly and head back to the Tube and to the Tower Bridge. So we walked back to Charing Cross and got on the District or the Circle Line to Tower Hill. Now I don’t know which train we got on because there was all kinds of construction going on and we had to take one train because the other wasn’t running and it was a little hectic. Ah…just like New York!
We got to Tower Hill we checked out the Tower of London. Now I had been there before, but for the first time I think I was really starting to understand the history of the place and saw how intricate it is or was. We didn’t get to go on the tour, but next time I’ll make that happen. Jeff just wanted to see the bridge because it was his screen saver for the last few months so that he could manifest the trip. Well it worked and there we were.
|Jeff at Tower Bridge|
We hung out in the area for a while, but I was trying to catch some vintage gear or at least some cheap gear near a spot LyricL hipped me to. Let me break it down a bit in the clothes area. I didn’t really come to London to shop, but I came to London with a coat that I wanted to leave there. Yes, my plan was to get a new coat and leave my old one in London. You ever had a piece of clothing that you never want to see again? That’s how I felt about my coat. LyricL said we should head over the Liverpool Street as there was a huge outdoor market there on Sunday’s. That was great because we were meeting all the folks at the Vibe Bar on Brick Lane that night for LyricL’s show and that wasn’t too far from the Liverpool Street station.
Now this is where things get crazy. The plan should have been simple. Take the Circle Line from Tower Hill to Liverpool Street, but of course the trains were not acting right on that rainy Sunday. So what should have been a two-stop trip turned into many more and lots of walking. For some reason the Circle Line wasn’t going in our direction so we had to go back backwards. We took the Circle Line back on stop to Monument. Then we had to walk the long underground road from Monument to Bank. Now these stations connect, but it’s a like an over the river and through the woods connection. At Bank we took the Central line one stop to Liverpool Street. Now I know this doesn’t sound so bad on paper, but riding and walking it I knew that we were not going to make it to see be able to shop. It was all just taking too long.
|Just for laughs|
|I just call it the Bullet *wink*|
So we started walking down the street looking for a spot when we stumbled upon an indoor flea market that was still open and it was almost right next to the Vibe Bar, which was ultra convenient. Jeff and I went in and immediately I saw all of these things that I could potentially purchase, but I didn’t want to be to hasty. We looked at some things that the vendor right when you walk in had, but soon we kept it moving. There was some really cool stuff in there, but I was in search of a coat. Then I found it, but it was £185! Way out of my budget. But I took a picture of it because a girl can dream.
|My Foxy Cleopatra dream coat!|
We headed to the Vibe Bar and some folks were there already. LyricL was there, but I figured that since she was performing. Johnny was there, Bunny Bread was on the DJ set and a cat named F. Stokes from New York via Chicago, was rhyming when we came in and he was doing it! I was standing talking to LyricL when a Cyndi came up to greet us. Cyndi run a record store/clothing store in Brixon called United 80 and I was supposed to meet her earlier that day or the day before, but we never could get it together. She wanted to put my CDs in her record store. She was so sweet and gave LyricL and I both mustard scarves, which was really sweet. She is one half of the manVSwife DJ crew the Hands On Family. Yes it’s a husband and wife DJ team. Now that’s cool.
|Bunny Bread on the set|
|LyricL & Chippy|
|Bunny is on Fire! (HA!)|
After F. Stokes finished his set there was a bit of break in the action. At that point other folks started so show up. First Yvonne, then Hannabiell & Yilis, then Rob & Kat, then Kelli, Max and Ten Mill. Later on down the line was my friend Michael and then John showed up with one of his friends. Yeah! Much of the gang was all there.
|Jeff & Kelli's High School Reunion!|
|John & Jeff|
|Me & Bunny|
|Yilis, Hannabiell & Max|
We all chilled and talked and then it was time for LyricL to do her thing! She burned up that set. It was amazing! It was so nice to see her do her own show since she had been helping me out on vocals etc. all week. Power to her once again for all the love she showed me all week. After Lyric’s set Bunny spun for a while again and then it was time for Homeboy Sandman.
|Love the Action in this shot|
|Homeboy Sandman Killin' it!|
So Jeff and I got to the Shoreditch High Station on the Overground and Jeff needed to top up his Oyster as the train was coming in the station and I think it was the last one. So one of the folks working at the station just let us through because otherwise we wouldn’t have made it. We ran up the steps and caught the train. Okay one leg down. We didn’t even know where it was stopping, but we had to get on. So we rode for a while and I was praying that the train would go at least as far as New Cross Gate, but alas it only went to New Cross. Not the same at all folks. So we got off and I called John. It just so happened he was at a pub right down the street from the station. I love it. So he came down and scooped us up and we walked back to the pub where he was hanging and called us a cab. He wanted us to hang and we would have, but Jeff had to leave for the airport at 5am so there was no time to hang. I was already close to or past Midnight.
It took the cab driver a minute to find us, but then he showed up. We said our final farewell to John and then headed back to Anerely.
Jeff still had a bit of packing to do and he was going to take a cab to the airport because his flight was too early in the morning to be messing with the train and it would have taken too long. He also realized that he needed to be at the airport earlier than he thought. So there was no need to go to sleep at all. So we stayed up and talked with Kevin and Michelle for a while. We didn’t even get to hang out with them much even though we were at their house. That’s just how these things sometimes go. Everybody is busy. They were great hosts though. I’m so thankful for them. Tomorrow...New York bound.
|Kevin & Michelle|