We arrived in London after a 2.5 hour flight from Split Croatia. We love the budget airlines in Europe – last minute prices are the same as reserving your flights ahead of time for a number of the airlines. Wizz Air, Easy Jet, Ryan Air etc. London of course is one of the world’s major cities – its easy to get lost in the city and its historical attractions. One is never bored for things to do here! There are world class museums – the Tate Modern (some of which is free) and the British Museum, excellent International Cuisine (check out all the restaurants in the little touristed Islington Burrough in and around the Angel tube station stop), lots of shopping, amazing architecture – Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, a plethora of parks – Hyde etc.
We were surprised to find the ‘tube’ / metro actually shuts down during part of the night. However some buses run 24/7. The bus system is excellent especially in the main part of London. For certain buses the wait time was seconds. At one point we saw five of the same numbered bus all arrive one after each other to a bus stop! The famous double decker red London buses certainly are efficient both in their scheduling as well as the extra space from having an “upstairs.”
Near Big Ben we amused ourselves by watching what appeared to be quickly unfolding scams on the sidewalk on the bridge in front of the London Eye. Individuals had laid out small rugs on the sidewalk and were rapidly moving a coin around in one of three small objects and the idea was to guess which particular object the coin was contained in when they stopped moving the objects. But you had to throw down money each time you guessed – the vendor kept the money if you guessed incorrectly, you doubled your money if you made the correct choice.
A number of people were placing some serious bets – between 50 and 100 UK pounds. The vendors were yelling like crazy – “place your bet, OK I hear a 100 pounds, whose next.” I’m pretty sure the majority of these large bets were coming from their friends in on their scams. They got word of police nearby and nearly instantly all these scam artists picked up their rugs and quickly walked away and blended in with the crowds.
We so lucked out by being here during the one day of the year the City of London Archeological Society organizes an open to the public “search for historical items” dig on the banks of the Thames River between the Tower and London Bridges. The banks of the river are only open for a few hours before the tide comes in and totally covers everything. This was very popular with locals – they came prepared with digging tools, boots, gloves and items to store their treasures. Their was very little space to dig at one point on the beach. Experts were on hand to identify objects found and provide there approximate age. Highlights included smoking pipes, some of which dated to the 1500’s, tons of bones, old metal items from ships docked along here and other historical items.