After our first breakfast at the Manor Hotel, it was time for a second day of ronda-ronda, walk walk in London. We had been talking about buying a Hop On, Hop Off bus ticket so that we could see the sights of the city without too much pain on our feet when suddenly, we came across a shop just next to the Earl's Court station. After buying the tickets, we soon alit the bus outside the Glouster Road station.
We made our first Hop Off the bus at Hyde Park. I've always wanted to come here and since this was a Sunday as wekk, I was looking forward to Hyde Park corner where I was sure that there would be some soapbox speakers. But before then, time to enjoy first the flower garden.
SPEAKER'S CORNER, HYDE PARK
Poor guy, almost no audience for whatever he wanted to say.
The same for this person. No-one was interested in him whereas...
...this speaker was attracting a crowd. Most just listened to him but there were a few who tried to rebut his opinion. His subject matter? Something on Islam: a sure subject to create controversy in London.
Actually, to sit on these deck chairs would require a fee. Would you pay GBP1.60 just to laze in them for an hour? GBP8 for a whole day in the deck chairs? No, we just stole a few moments for the sake of photography.
HOPPING ON THE BUS AGAIN
Marble Arch was where we got on the bus again. There were many routes we could take and this particular bus took us on a Grand Tour.
The four coade statues at the St Pancreas Church
I would have loved to step into the British Library but i know that once i get in, it may be hours before I can get out.
King's Cross St Pancreas station
Finally, we got off at Charing Cross Road. That was quite near Trafalgar Square. And the Church of St Martin's In The Field loomed before us.
We went in to find a mid-day service in session. At first, I didn't pay much attention to it and then suddenly I realised that the priest was speaking in Mandarin! Amazing, I thought to myself, a kwei-lo priest conducting a service in Mandarin to an assorted crowd of people, including some Westerners. But upon looking closer, amazement turned to a slight disappointment. This wasn't a kwei-lo; he was a Chinese priest.
There was a Japan fair at Trafalgar Square which accounted for the thousands of people there. Some were drawing on the pavement, others were performing on the streets.
The National Gallery, which was basically ignored by the crowd.
On the bus again, this time going past the Strand Palace Hotel, the Savoy and the Waldorf, all historical hotels, before heading towards the St Paul's Cathedral. Another place that I wanted to see.
The Royal Courts of Justice
That's it, up ahead. I just couldn't wait to get down from the bus. Plus, there was a traffic snarl along the way.
CHRISTOPHER WREN'S ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL
There was some event going on at the St Paul's Cathedral when we arrived. The place was barricaded and the London Police were on guard, heavy Police presence, which meant that we could not even go near the steps of the cathedral. We joined others, most probably all tourists like us, to peer at the people that were leaving the church. All well dress to the nines. Who were they? Nobody could tell. Someone said that Prince Charles was there. Could he be among the people leaving the Church, i wondered? Then I answered to myself, unlikely, if he was leaving, he would have left already, VIP treatment and all that, he wouldn't be caught milling around with the others, would he? Yes, very unlikely. But what was the function all about? We asked one of the policemen. Friendly chap. Told us that it was the annual National Police Memorial Service. Wait a while, he said, the parade would come down the road soon.
Any chance of seeing a familiar face among them? Fat hopes.
Oh well, since we couldn't go inside, just the outside will do. Perhaps there'll be a next time....
TOWER OF LONDON and TOWER BRIDGE
We never managed to make it inside the Tower of London because it was almost closing time. We could only stare at the people streaming out from one of the gates.
We also couldn't walk on the Tower Bridge. This was the closest we got to it.