Itinerary: Abbey Road, King’s Cross Platform 9 3/4, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Peter Pan statue, Harrods, The Old Vic stage door.
We had went to bed early to catch up on rest. Daniela and I were trying to keep the cold we developed under control. So we slept in a bit and by the time we were ready for breakfast, the hotel’s complementary buffet was closed. So we had a quick bite to eat near the hotel and bought some cold medicine along with cough drops at the one pharmacy we found.
Then we got the show on the road and went up north to Abbey Road. Just as suspected it was crowded with tourists taking photos as they crossed the street like the Beatles. The road is also a busy street with cars always passing and honking at the tourists. They especially honked at the tourists who didn’t keep walking but stopped to pose mid-walk. There is no traffic light at the intersection. It was madness.
If I lived and drove there, I’d avoid Abbey Road at all costs. I guess they must have to take that road or it’s just easier even if tourists block your way.
None of us would trust our cameras with strangers in this hectic situation so we took turns. I decided I wanted to be George Harrison and even wore all blue to match him in the photo. Stefan wanted to be Ringo, so Daniela was John and Victoria was Paul. Funny, Stefan doesn’t even like The Beatles (he says they are overrated *major eye roll*) but he’d do anything for a photo op.
I went across the street first to stand on the island in the road. I took a photo of the three of them in the order of John (Daniela), Ringo (Stefan), and Paul (Victoria). Then Victoria took one of me crossing the road solo. The plan was to photoshop me into their photo as George, but we never found someone to do that for us. Whatever, we can still say we walked across Abbey Road like The Beatles.
Since we slept in we had to cut the British Library out of our tour of north London 😦 but there was no way Victoria and I were missing Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross.
My London travel book said the excursion would only take 10 minutes. Maybe that was before they had a professional photographer set up. It was an hour long wait on a queue.
It was way better this way. An organized system instead of a crowd (like Abbey Road). What took so long was that the photographer gave instructions on how to pose to like you’re running into the wall, with a wand in the air and looking back. Another employee waves your Hogwarts scarf and lets go on the count of three. Sometimes he took 2 or 3 photos, including a fun one jumping in the air, if you wanted to.
Besides the professional option, you can also take photos on your own camera.
This drives me crazy. So the public toilets cost 30 pence. Fine, except the turn style doesn’t accept the 5p coin, which is smaller than the 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 coins. And if you need to make change, forget it. That machine doesn’t accept the 5p either. What is the purpose of having the 5p be so small if no machines take them? Either make the coin machines accept the smaller 5p or make the 5p bigger.
I also don’t understand why Europeans are also so in love with the coins. Why are there £1 and £2 coins. Why not have £1 notes? One thing I really missed from home on this trip was $1 bills.
Next stop was Hyde Park. We didn’t take the tour of Kensington Palace, but the gardens were open to the public so we walked through for some beautiful photos.
Hyde Park is huge and we didn’t get to see everything. Plus, my back and legs were killing me. Next time we’ll see the Princess Diana Memorial Statue, and see the Prince Albert Memorial up close instead of from afar. Sadly, besides the above mentioned places we didn’t have time to see, we also had to cut out the Victoria and Albert Museum.
We did find the Peter Pan statue with the help of some locals. It is sort of hidden away. The details of the statue are beautiful. I took many close ups of the fairies.
Harrods was a disappointment. Way more expensive than I imagined. A Stella McCartney for Adidas hoodie was something like £250. Victoria and I did our Harrods shopping at the Heathrow outlet before our flight 😛
So we took some photos in Harrods, had dinner near by at an Italian restaurant, then took a taxi back to the hotel. Their taxis are so nice! Spacious and clean. And between the four of us, not as expensive as I was expecting.
At about 9:30PM Victoria and I left our hotel to go to The Old Vic theatre and wait at the stage door for The Crucible to finish. We got there at about 10pm and there were 10 women in front of us. We passed the time, about an hour, by striking up a conversation with the German girl behind us. We mostly talked about the WB Harry Potter tour at Leavesden Studios (which is where we went the following day).
The stage door is way more organized and civil than in NYC, and no one shouts at the actors. There are no barricades. Just a single file queue and Richard walked down it with his security guard besides him.
After we saw most of the actors leave, Richard came out around 11:10PM. He was going down the line quickly. I can totally understand why. It was a Wednesday, so he did 2 shows, each over 3 hours long. That is just about 7 hours of intense acting. I give him credit for having the energy to sign and pose for fans. Fans would ask for a photo and he would say, “Where’s the camera?” in his sexy voice.
He signed my program and my sister’s. Victoria asked for a photo and which came out perfect. Before I got the chance to ask myself he had moved on. So I went to the back of the queue to just ask for the photo. Richard moved mid-exposure and he came out blurry. LOL (Victoria and I decided to try for a better photo the next night. Why not while we are in London and what else are we doing at 11PM?)
I didn’t get the chance to tell him how incredible and suburb he was as John Proctor. We did say thank you and wished him an early Happy Birthday (it was that Friday). He thanked us and after reaching the end of the queue went back into the theatre.