So, where were we? Right, Wednesday. This was the only day that we had a firm plan we had to stick to. (We're not big on firm plans, as you've no doubt gathered.) Jo had done a whole lot of research for us and determined that if you don't reserve tickets for Madame Tussauds* wax museum and the London Eye, you will end up spending most of a day standing in line a queue. Moreover, if you book both events at the same time, you save lots of brightly colored money. So we picked Wednesday, figuring that we'd surely be over any lingering jet lag by then.
Back on the train into Waterloo, and then the Tube to the Baker Street station (yes, that Baker Street—there's a statue of Sherlock Holmes outside #221B). We arrived at Madame Tussauds and got ushered through the front door just by flashing the email printout of our reservation! All the other poor slobs had to wait in an endless snaking queue in the hot sun for what must have been hours. Bwahahaha!
As soon as you get off the elevator lift, there are cameras flashing and a guy in a tux with a mic greeting everybody as if you're arriving at a post-Oscar party. The kids thought that was a riot. Then you go into the "party" and meet all the celebs. Here's Andy chatting up Susan Sarandon:
and Julie and Steph with Miley Cyrus:
After the Hollywood room, there are other rooms of athletes, politicians, etc. Here's Pete with Steven Spielberg:
and me hanging out with Audrey Hepburn:
Some of the figures look so real it's positively unnerving, while others look like cheap department-store mannequins. It's incredibly crowded everywhere, with everyone jostling to pose with all the figures, but it's great fun too. At the end you board a simulated London cabbie and take a cheesy ride through the history of London. Which winds up in the gift shop, imagine that!
From there we hopped the Tube back to Waterloo and walked over to the London Eye. It was really startling every time I caught a glimpse of it, because it wasn't there the last time I was in London. And when you're talking about a 443-foot-high Ferris wheel, you catch a glimpse of it a lot. I can't say I like what it's done to the traditional historic view, but I guess it's been great for the economy—it's the most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK.
Unlike at Madame Tussauds, an advance reservation for the London Eye did not mean we got to avoid the long line. But as we were heading to the very back to begin our wait, a sympathetic employee saw Andy hobbling a bit with his cane (it had already been a long day of walking) and she whisked us to the front. (It was a rare instance in which something good came out of all the pain he's been in, so we didn't feel one bit bad for milking it a little.) So we got inside our little pod and up we went!
It moves incredibly slowly, so you don't feel even the least bit of motion sickness. By the time you get to the top, you can see for 25 miles in any direction! Here's a hazy view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament:
Pretty cool, huh?
And that was Wednesday in London. At this rate I'll be ready for another vacation by the time I'm done telling you about this one!
*No, it's not spelled "Tussaud's," even though her name was Madame Tussaud, and this is her place. Argh.