Before I begin, I apologize if this post is short, but I’m super exhausted. Today has been a long, albeit awesome, day.
First, we made the trip to Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guards. However, when we got there we discovered that for some reason today they didn’t have a guard-changing ceremony. I like to think it’s because the Queen was there or maybe the Guards wanting to go on Holiday… So, we walked around a bit and discovered the bus station where we are going to depart for Oxford on Wednesday. We are still having issues with our tickets some decided to stop and ask the people at the bus ticket counter for help. They weren’t helpful. However, we did find an awesome Greek fast-food place where we grabbed a light lunch for “takeaway” (which is British for “to-go”). I found it funny that they had a chips and pita sandwich on the menu, which is basically french fries in a pita pocket. Then, we walked to Hyde Park and had lunch in the Rose Garden. Sitting on a bench in the shade of vine-covered arches with a view of the royal gardens made it an unbelievably delightful lunch.
After lunch we walked through the rest of Hyde Park. We passed by a charity walk for cancer research which was kind of cool to watch. We saw paddle boats on The Serpentine, people in fancy lawn chairs on the grass, The Italian Gardens, and even got witnessed to by an old Chinese lady from a church group who were making their rounds.
We were enjoying the nice breeze so much that we realized we were running out of time to get to our next destination and we needed to move quickly.That’s when we made the amazing discovery that our Oyster Passes (or subway swipe cards) also work on the London Overground (or the big red double decker buses). This provided us with a much faster mode of transport outside of the Tube, because it has more stops and we can just jump on and off. So, we whisked away to our destination: The Royal Garden Hotel, where we had reservations for Afternoon Tea. Little did I know that Snigdha had never before enjoyed a set tea, and had thought the entire time that we were paying big bucks to simply drink a cup of brew. She was pleasantly surprised! Basically it was one of the best experiences we’ve had so far. We got to sit in a fancy hotel with a view of Kensington Gardens and indulge in scones and sweets and unlimited tea (I had Pear Caramel). Although our original reservation was for an hour, we stayed for nearly two. As the Brits say, it was smashing!
Completely stuffed and mellowed out on tea, we decided to explore the area instead of returning to our flat like we usually do around 5ish. And low and behold, we stumbled upon Harrod’s, or, as I will now forever refer to it, Neiman Marcus On Speed or The Five Levels of Shopping Hell. It was crazy! Five floors of luxury goods from perfume and handbags to cheese and men’s cologne. We walked around it for a while, pretending like the £500 price tags were chump change to us and then shuffled out the heavily guarded doors (but not before getting lost a few times). Finally, we dragged ourselves back to The Tube and took a direct train to our flat where I am now contently laying on our Murphy bed with no desire to move whatsoever. It was a good day!