I posted this day in two parts because the post was getting too long, and it was two amazing experiences that need to be dealt with separately.
After lunch, we made our way over to Picadilly Circus in Susan’s quest to find the Hard Rock Cafe. We saw it on our Tuesday tour, but neither of us could remember exactly where. Our pubkeeper gave us directions to the one in Picadilly. After walking there from Trafalgar, which was a short walk, we found the Hard Rock Casino. Not the same thing. Susan was disappointed. I was in pain thanks to my shoes. I think Susan saw the pain on my face, so she agreed to let me buy theater tickets. It’s been my dream for years to see a show in the West End. I have this knack for finding good shows. I saw the “Sunshine Boys” on Broadway starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman for $10 a ticket on Broadway. After doing some research, and using Susan’s rule #1 (no singing), I found the perfect show. It was the David Mamet play, “A Life in the Theater” starring Patrick Stewart (aka Capt. Jean Luc Picard) and Josh Jackson (aka Pacey Whitter).
With some time still before show, we walked to the London Eye, a 300-foot tall ferris wheel. To get there, we got to walk across this neat footbridge that is canti-levered and suspended off a 19th century steel train bridge. It’s an interesting blend of old and new architecture.
Susan and I walked across the Thames on one of London’s new footbridges to get to and from the Eye, in the background.
The Eye, itself, looks like a huge bicycle wheel canti-levered over the south bank of the Thames. It’s owned by British Airways, so we were a bit skeptical based on our flight over, but this flight was much better. Passengers board the “capsule” while the wheel is still moving. It moves very slowly. They do stop it from time to time, though. The wheel then turns anti-clockwise when viewed from south (which is actually the east because of the orientation of the river at that point). The whole capsule is glass and steel. It is climate controlled, and it stays perfectly stable through the whole ride. It’s kind of hard to explain, but the capsule rides on a double track that encircles it, and goes around the whole outer circumference in a single revolution.
This is about the best picture I could get from the London Eye of Big Ben and Parliament. Slightly beyond Big Ben’s face is Westminster Abbey, with its white double tower.
Still hurting from a day of walking in uncomfortable shoes, I hobbled back up the to Bakerloo Tube stop with Susan in Trafalgar Square, and we made our way back to the hotel so we could change. I had to put on my black shoes again, which I had traded after the Eye for a pair of trainers to ease my pain.
We Tubed to Picadilly again and found a delicious (pricey) steak house that looked right out on the Circus. From dinner, we went to show, which was well acted, funny and poignant, meaning, as you can imagine, Susan didn’t like it. After a brief stop in the Internet Cafe, we tried searching for the real Hard Rock Cafe, but ended up walking alongside the gardens of Buckingham Palace at 10 at night. We hopped a cab and went home. We needed our rest because Thursday is set aside for a long tour of the countryside.