London: Day Three

Still full from our late dinner the night before, we skipped breakfast, and caught the tube to Westminster.  We strolled around gawking at Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey.  Admission to the Abbey was 10 pounds per person, and we decided that we didn't feel like spending $40 to see the inside of another church.  Parliament and Big Ben are even more ornate than they appear to be in any picture or TV shot you've seen of them, but gothic architecture isn't really our thing.

We walked along the Thames for a bit, and decided that it has to be about the filthiest river we've ever seen, as there was a lot of floating debris and even an oil slick visible from the shore.

There was a lot of media around Parliament, as there were discussions going on there about the missing British toddler in Portugal, and I think some of the girl's family members were there to appeal to Parliament for help.  It has been two weeks since the girl went missing, but it's still on the front page of the tabloids here every day, and is practically all the news is covering each night, not that there's anything to actually report, but that doesn't stop them from wasting hours not-reporting it.

We decided to walk to Trafalgar square, where we stopped in for lunch at Little Frankie's, which is sort of a 1940's-themed American Italian restauraunt.  I had their two-course lunch special, with some really good Neapolitan garlic bread, and an angus cheeseburger & fries.  Holly had Lasagna.  The garlic bread was interesting, it sort of had smears of tomato paste on it to give it the stripes of color, so it was half-way to a pizza.

We then sat for a while in Trafalgar square, and people-watched, then explored a little more in the general direction of Picadilly Circus.  Picadilly is a total tourist trap, very crowded, and tons of people hawking souvenirs and discount theatre tickets.  Even with the discount, the theatre tickets were outside what we wanted to spend, thanks to the weak dollar, though we did think about attempting to see Spiderman 3 again at the theatre there, as the weather was becoming a bit wet.

A quick glance at the prices told me that we'd wait to see the movie when we got home.  The cheapest movie ticket was twelve and a half pounds.  For the two of us to watch the movie would have been $50!  I think I'll catch the matinee in Iowa on Sunday for $5.50 per person instead.  We'd planned on going to Hyde Park, but the rain convinced us to just return to our hotel and relax for the afternoon, which we did.  Going on vacation can get tiring.

I went down to the lobby for a bit to post some blog entries that I'd accumulated over the past few days, as that's where they have wireless internet.  Then we set off in search of something to eat.  Our hotel is in an Arab neighborhood, so it was very interesting to walk a few blocks to find dinner.  There are many stores serving arab food, but we passed all of those, as Holly was intent on finding a Subway store she'd seen a few days before.  We got a couple sandwiches, then stopped by a Baskin Robbins on the way back to the hotel for a cup of ice cream.

Baskin Robbins is something we actually can't get at home, as they closed the store in the Cedar Falls mall a few years ago, and put in a crappy frozen yogurt shop instead.  We ate our ice cream while walking back to the hotel, but the scents of incense and hookah smoke coming from the arab shops added interesting flavors to our dessert.