It’s amazing what a good night of sleep can do for one’s outlook! After a dreary first day in London, my second day started with sunny skies and I felt rested and ready to face the new day!
After eating a forgettable breakfast at our hostel, we headed out and made our way back to Victoria Station to take the Big Bus Tour again since we were half asleep during the tour the day before. This is a hop-on, hop-off tour and tickets are good for 24 hours. We had a much better experience this second time around!
After our tour “Part Deux,” we bought travel cards for the underground and bus and proceeded to take our first ride on the “Tube.” Can I just say that London has great public transportation? Yes, the tube can get pretty darn packed during rush hour, but it is so easy to navigate and travel throughout the city!
We took the tube to the Tate Britain Museum which is the national gallery of British art from 1500 to present day. We spent about three hours wandering through the rooms and reading about the various collections. As well as my memory serves me (which isn’t all that well, unfortunately), I do believe this is the first art museum I ever visited in my life. Which is kind of crazy!
I really liked the older paintings and portraits and reading about the artists and subjects. Some of the newer, modern and contemporary art was…a bit different. 🙂
Leaving the museum, it took us some time to figure out how to get back to our hostel as we hadn’t picked up a map yet. We found Pimlico Station and took that to Victoria Station since we knew our way from there. What we didn’t know was that Pimlico Station was literally just two blocks from our hostel. Of course. Maps, people – necessary items while traveling! 🙂
We freshened up a bit then headed out again to meet a friend for dinner. We found out just a couple days before we left home, that one of our friends, Nikki, was going to be in London for work during the same time we were there! So we made plans to meet up.
Nikki needed to go to the Hard Rock Cafe to meet with the manager regarding a group she was bringing there later in the week so we decided to just eat there. I had actually never been to a Hard Rock Cafe before (a lot of firsts for me this day!) and this was the start of my life goal to eat at all of the Hard Rock Cafe’s on the planet. A goal I will most likely not reach, but it will be fun to get as far as I can! 🙂
The wait for dinner was extremely long but the manager got us in right away. Yay! (And he comped our meal – double yay!!) We had a very pleasant time and enjoyed some really good food.
After dinner we decided to walk around a bit. We walked through Green Park and made friends with a squirrel…
…then discovered Buckingham Palace across the street. Hopefully the queen, wasn’t watching out her bedroom window as we goofed off and posed for pictures with various statues. Lots of fun and laughter!
Nikki took a cab from there and Teresa and I walked back to our hostel (with new maps in hand!). Such a wonderful day and improvement from the day before! As my head hit the pillow that evening, my initial unenthusiastic thoughts about this city were starting to change. The next day I would forget I had ever wanted to leave…
Did you know that entrance to most London museums is free? You can just walk right in and start enjoying art and history. Pretty cool! Especially when traveling on a budget. 🙂
While in London we used public transportation to make our way around the city. We never actually used the bus system (other than the Big Bus Tour), but rode on the tube everywhere – it was so easy and visitor friendly. We purchased 7-day Oyster Cards which are refillable travel cards good for unlimited travel within a specified area/zone. I highly suggest buying a travel card for public transportation as opposed to paying as you go – it’s so much more convenient!