The weekend began unlike any other in that we decided to try the sandwich shop across the road from the hotel. While I was sent out on the hunt, T-Rex stayed in the warm embrace of the hotel room. Not knowing what exactly she wanted, I face timed her from the front door, still piggybacking on the free wifi of the hotel.
We decided to get a roast beef sandwich for myself, and a traditional bacon sandwich for T-Rex. The roast beef was great as it had some mustard on, which I have been developing a fondness for, but more interestingly was the bacon sandwich. It never occurred to me in my life to make and sandwich with just bacon and tomato sauce. I would always add cheese at the very least (cheese is awesome) but I usually laden on everything I can find in the fridge; onions, meat, lettuce, tomato, egg. So it was quite opposite to anything I would have tried, but I was better for trying it, it was scrumptious.
The first activity of the day was to walk down the Strand an old word meaning along the river side, not just the name of a red monopoly property. The Thames has gotten a lot smaller throughout the centuries so is quite far from the embankment of today. We perused some interesting shops and cooperative grocers, and eventually worked up an appetite. All I seem to write about is food, but I would be lying if I didn’t say it wasn’t a big part of the experience for us this far. We found the pub that we wanted to eat the night of The Lion King, The Wellington, and decided that fate had given us a second chance.
There was no room straight away to order food so we went to the bar and ordered a London pale ale for myself and a very non-alcoholic ginger beer for T-Rex. Once our table was ready, our buzzer went off (just like at Jackpot) and we sat down to order. I ordered the wild boar and chorizo burger, that combined its spices of paprika and chilli with lean and flavoursome wild boar meat. It was awesome!
Afterwards we went for a stroll through some beautiful parks and gardens along the river. About 40% of London is natural gardens areas, keeping the city quite green. It was quite peaceful and calm, as we made our way towards Big Ben. It was just as big and just as Ben as you see in the movies, very intricately detailed on the flourishing. We were just walking around and we accidentally stumbled across the changing of the guard! At the start of the day we had no expectation or planning to witness this tradition, it was just fate. Afterwards we next moved to Westminster Abbey which again was very beautiful and meticulously decorated. After taking quite a few happy-snaps, we decided to head to the National Gallery which is only a minutes walk from our hotel.
Not being big art buffs, we weren’t sure what to expect. We certainly know the names of some famous painters but that is certainly the limit to my knowledge (T-Rex knows a bit more) so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Like the science and natural history museum, entry is free and you only need to pay if you want to see the special exhibitions. This is similar to the Brisbane Museum except that it holds 100’s of times more items. We walked around to view these famous works of art, I recognised a few like The sunflowers by Van Gough and many others seemed familiar, but after a while pictures of naked woman and flying babies started to merge together in my head.
Having experienced more culture in an afternoon than I would normally experience in five years, we decided to call it and return home (that is what we have started calling our hotel room). For dinner, we decided to get back to our Australian roots and have good ‘ol Maccas for dinner, our first foray into fast food here.
Earlier we had stumbled upon a man giving out McDonald’s vouchers, which was quite unusual and caught our attention. The voucher was for a Quarter Pounder with cheese and a medium chips for just two pound ($4). This would be the cheapest meal we have had, even cheaper than the bacon sandwich of the morning that consisted only of two slices of white bread, two rashes of bacon and some tomato sauce that cost $5. It was not as good as the Australian version, the meat was not as good quality but worse yet the buns were quite hard and plastic-y. Still it was Maccas so addictive and insatiable as normal. This was a good conclusion to an even better day.