We stopped for a drink at The Crispin Inn, sitting in the sunshine with a view of the River Stour. The building dates back to 1491, but it didn't become a pub until 1790.
|You have been warned|
The CM London group recommended renting one of the Santander cycle share bikes, which was my plan. Upon arriving back in London, I took the Tube home, dropped off my luggage, grabbed the bike lights I had brought with me from Austin for extra visibility, and traveled south to Waterloo Bridge. There was a bike share station down the street from the meet-up point, and it was, luckily, full of bikes. I put in my credit card to start the rental process. When it came time to pay, the machine asked for a pin - which my cc doesn't have set up. It has a chip and has been fine with every purchase I have used it for so far. After several attempts to bypass it, the card was declined. Grrrr. So, I pulled out my debit/credit card which has a pin and which I have successfully used several times here. I re-started the rental process, clicked through all the screens, and when it came time to pay it declined my card outright before even giving me the option to enter a pin! Arrgghhhhh!!!! In a panic I started to Google for other options. All of the bike rental places that came up were closed at this point and anything else was more than 1.5 miles away. Frustration and depression set in as I realized I wouldn't be able to join the ride.
As I sulked back to Waterloo station, I treated myself to some Vicky's Donuts from the stand at the Kerb Market pop-up.
|Spotted another piece by Invader|
On Sunday I picked up a new group of students, who arrived in London on Saturday, from their hotel and walked them around central London. This was the day I was most nervous about because I had to be the tour guide and give them all the facts about what we were looking at. On top of that, when checking a few things before going to meet them, I saw that all around St. James' Park and Buckingham Palace there was a fun run which would be causing extra traffic, road closures, and other difficulties.
Luckily, we managed it fine with only a little bit of delay getting through the park and fighting some crowds near the palace.
After a break for lunch, I brought them to the Tower of London where they had a few hours to explore. First, we all opted to join a Yeomen Warders' tour. Popularly known as "Beefeaters", these are the ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London. They have to have 22 years of honorable service in the armed forces to be eligible, and they live at the Tower (they can bring their families!). The tours last for 60 minutes and are hilarious, as well as informative.
The Tower of London originates with William the Conqueror, who built the White Tower in 1078, and it was expanded on by Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I throughout the 12th and 13th centuries. Originally it was a fortress meant to defend the city, but rather than keeping people it, it was often used as a jail, keeping people in. Other uses include a treasury, home of the Royal Mint, a menagerie, and home of the Crown Jewels - which you can still view today. Many historical figures lived or were imprisoned and executed here. Most executions were performed on nearby Tower Hill, but some nobles were beheaded within the tower itself, such as Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey.
It is hard to capture the buildings with just a cell phone camera because the buildings are so large and imposing.
|We are the watchers on the wall|
|memorial for those executed in the Tower|
|view of Tower Bridge from the Tower of London|
After accompanying the students back to their hotel, I went to meet Nicola and Josh again. We went for dinner at a pho restaurant, then they took me to Cinnamon Bazaar for cinnamon bellinis.
Today (Monday) I finally had a chance to sleep in, lounging in bed until 10:30am. After getting up, I met Nicola and Josh in Southwark so we could do the Clink Prison museum experience. The prison operated here throughout the middle ages, housing prisoners in cruel, awful conditions. The museum has a number of medieval torture devices for you to examine and it's shocking all the things humans have invented to hurt one another.
|Help! Send bail money!|
|Actually, it's not so bad in this day and age|
|Street art on the way. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is nearby.|
|Cider from New Zealand - fruity and delicious!|
|Beet and goat's cheese sandwich|
Since I was nearby, I went into the Tate Modern again to see some more exhibits.
|Thick, creamy, and delicious|