My second full day in London (May 11, 2008) started off with gorgeous sunshine. Andrea and I enjoyed a fabulous breakfast at the Zetter Hotel, a cool boutique type hotel in Londons Clerkenwell area. Then we decided to make our way to the Liverpool Street Station to hop onto the No. 11 bus that would take us past all sorts of important sights to the historic Victoria Railway Station a great, inexpensive way to view some of Londons main attractions. We then walked toward Buckingham Palace and got caught in the crowds awaiting the famous Changing of the Guards Ritual. After the ceremonial parade had passed by, we strolled beside beautiful St. Jamess Park to Trafalgar Square. From here we made our way past the Horse Guards and Downing Street (the British Prime Ministers residence) to the Houses of Parliament where we arrived just minutes before Big Ben proudly rang out noon. From the bridge we had a perfect view of the the Parliament Buildings and the London Eye, Londons famous giant ferris wheel. Shortly after 1 pm we took a sightseeing boat from Westminster Pier to Greenwich, and enjoyed the guides humorous narration as he explained various sights along the riverbanks of the Thames, including Tower Bridge, one of Londons most recognized landmarks.
Upon our arrival in Greenwich we had to race to the Docklands Railway to make our way to Whitechapel where we were going to link up with a tour called The Unknown East End of London. Harry Jackson, our certified Blue Badge tour guide filled us in about the colourful history of this area, traditionally home to successive waves of immigrant labourers who, among others, included French Huguenots, Ashkenazi Jews and more recently, Bengali immigrants. Jack the Ripper of course terrorized this area in the late 1800s and was included in the stories. On Brick Lane we happened across a street festival and ended our tour at Christ Church, Spitalfields. After a short walk we arrived at Liverpool Street Station and took the tube back to our hotel (the Zetter) where we got a brief private tour of some of the unique suites of this boutique hotel. In the late afternoon we relocated to a bed and breakfast in the Holland Park area and after settling in, we headed out to Snaresbrook to join Andreas friends for a tasty Indian takeout dinner. Another packed day in London!