Our last day in London dawned rainy once again. In fact, the whole time we were there it alternated between dreary rain and steamy hot sunshine about every thirty minutes it seemed.
We had decided to get a day pass on the hop-on, hop-off bus that was always outside our hotel. For about $27, we figured it was a pretty good deal rather than fighting the crowds on the London Underground. The thing we did not count on was how far removed the various sights we wanted to see were.
We set out to see the British National Museum - what can I say, I'm a sucker for mummies? But really, I wanted to see the Rosetta Stone, the Codex Alexandrinus (a 5th Century Greek Bible), and a few other highlights. Unfortunately, to reach the museum, we had to change buses - after waiting in the rain for about 20 minutes. The problem with the hop-on, hop-off buses in London is that apparently no one told them it rains there. A lot. When Mom traveled to Barcelona, the buses there had retractable covers that they could pull over the top to keep you dry if it rained. In London, they hand you a plastic rain poncho. Which we were very thankful for since the rain was pouring - and I do mean POURING - down the stairs from the upper deck.
It had quit raining and the sun was shining when we reached the top for the Museum and we found it without too much trouble. We finished up around noon and started looking for a nearby pub for lunch. Of course - by then it was raining again! A little soggy, we found a place that served tomato soup and cheese bread which was perfect. Then we started calculating how long it would take for us to make the bus circuit clear back around to where Mom wanted to go to see the Victoria and Albert Museum. There was just no way to make it work and still get back to the hotel by the time we had asked them to have a taxi for us for our ride out to the airport. Since the museum was just a few stops past our hotel, and the buses run only one direction, we would have to make the entire circuit again to get back to our hotel after visiting the museum. Our flight was the following morning and we wanted to spend our last night near the airport rather than have to rush and worry about traffic, delays, etc, making us late for our flight.
We finally decided to just ride the bus back around, past the London Eye, the Tower of London, and some other sights, and head out to the airport.
The taxi to the airport cost about $120 - but it was money well-spent. We were pretty exhausted at that point and ready to just relax. Staying at the Heathrow Hilton was definitely a good choice - it is a beautiful hotel. They have several in-house restaurants and we decided to go to the Chinese restaurant, Zen Oriental. We were a little surprised when the maitre d' pulled the table aside to let each of us slide into the booth. Then when they served us spring rolls, he actually served one to each of us - I thought for a moment he was going to cut it and feed it to us too! It was the fanciest Chinese restaurant I've ever visited and probably the best as well. The food was fantastic and we were so sorry we couldn't save the leftovers since our flight was the next morning. Of course, it was also the most expensive Chinese restaurant I think I've ever visited - over $100 for the three of us.
The lobby of the Heathrow Hilton is particularly spectacular - it is open all the way to the roof with glass walls in the front and back and a walkway connecting the two wings of rooms. The elevators are in the middle of the walkway so as you cross to your room you can look down on the restaurants and lobby area. The open space above the restaurants had hanging sculptures reminiscent of a couple dancing.
The beds were typically European - about the size of a twin rather than a double or queen like you see in US Hotels, so we had to do a little rearranging of the room to push the beds together so that all three of us could sleep in one room. But they were pretty comfortable and I don't think Megan slipped into the crack between them too much!
Tomorrow we head home!!