I was overly optimistic when I mentioned the sun peeking out yesterday morning. It did peek out - for about 2 minutes. Then it promptly disappeared, not to be seen again. It was also awfully cold - the bone-chilling cold that cuts through however many layers of clothing you've managed to put on.
Having said that, we still managed to have an excellent day of touring the city. We hopped on the double-decker, which was a stroke of genius in the cold and wet weather. Some of the buses have partially covered top decks, and much to their delight, the boys managed to secure front row seating.
We whizzed by the Parliament buildings, Big Ben looking awfully wet much to Little Ben's delight. We also saw Buckingham Palace (the Queen apparently in residence, but not available to wave to us), Westminster Abbey, Trafalger Square, Downing Street and Tower Bridge, before we stopped at Tower of London for a closer look.
(Yeah, it was cold!)
The Tower of London was a huge hit with the boys, for very different reasons. Christopher was enthralled with the collection of Crown Jewels, in particular the world's largest diamond. True to himself, he kept asking and speculating about how much money various crowns, ornamental swords, maces and staffs would be worth if sold. Here's a boy who likes his money! Sadly, the museum did not allow photography, but Christopher made sure to stack up on postcards before we left.
B boy, on the other hand, could not get enough of the Royal Armouries and its extensive weaponry displays. We spent a good hour just looking at swords, guns, cannons and armour, and by the end of it, he told me the museum was the best ever! Big words from a boy who wants nothing to do with museums of any kind.
(Rather anatomically correct body armour)
After a quick stop at the hotel, we made our way to the West End for a pizza dinner before hitting the theatre to see Joseph. The musical didn't disappoint. The stage production was fairly simple, but very funny, and we all loved it. The boys sang along to every song, and were thrilled to see Elvis perform twice. We even had a bit of drama when the production ran into technical problems part-way through the first half, but the issues were quickly resolved and the show continued without another hitch.
Today, in contrast, has been much warmer and - dare I say it - sunny! We began our morning with a lovely walk along the river Thames, where street artists provided much amusement for the boys, especially B boy who couldn't decide which entertainer to support with his single coin.
(The chameleon was the lucky winner)
After a delicious lunch by the side of the river, we slowly made our way towards the London Eye, the massive ferris wheel assembled for the Millenium celebrations in London 8 years ago.
Despite Christopher's fear of heights, even he enjoyed the trip up in the capsule, with the most amazing views of the city of London.
Enticing the boys with promises of ice cream, we then proceeded to walk through St. James's Park towards Buckingham Palace. The tulips were out in full bloom and the floral displays everywhere lulled us into thinking that spring had finally arrived.
That is, until we were hit by a freak hail storm. Only in London will you find tourists sporting sunglasses AND umbrellas, all while taking refuge under trees because of massive and painful hail.
The hail storm only lasted about a minute, and shortly thereafter the sun was out in full force again. Odd, but I'm not complaining.
As I write this, we are getting ready to meet up with Mike's dad at Covent Garden for dinner. We have yet to have a bad meal in London, and I'm sure tonight won't disappoint, either. Not great for the diet, but oh-so-good for the soul.
Tomorrow we are off to Cambridge, before we slowly make our way up towards the Yorkshire dales. Keeping busy is the name of the game!