Thursday 29 April: A later start, a change of hotels, then another day of exploring!

Breakfast of coffee, juice, bread rolls, croissant and jams....update my blog, say goodbye to my little room then book out of Columbia.....walk a block and book into The Central Park hotel in Bayswater...
Most of my exploring was done on foot as I learned that it is quicker than the buses and I love being outdoors and active.....I meander seeing the main attractions but also experience the ‘life of the Londoners’ rushing here and there. I find it fascinating to ‘people watch’.....wondering what their journeys are....who they are...where they are going...why they are in the same place as me. Being in their territory, alongside them ....being able to see their expressions...absorb their dress codes....listen to their lilting accents....draws me in...especially in another country!!!
I took a different path through Hyde Park which led me past Kensington Palace, Princess Diana’s Memorial fountain and ending at the Prince Albert statue and Prince Albert Hall....I get myself lost amongst the randomly scattered buildings which turned out to be University Faculties.....many of them were Science related as the adjoining buildings were the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum into which I ventured.
I couldn’t believe that 2 hours had passed so quickly. I became totally absorbed in their stunningly presented exhibitions: The ’ RED zone: Earth today and tomorrow...Earth’s Treasury (once again the Jewels from our Earth drawing me to them!)...From the beginning...The Power within (volcanoes being topical for me)....Then ‘The GREEN Zone: Our Place in Evolution...Primates...creepy crawlies...fossils... The BLUE and ORANGE Zones: Dinosaurs, fish, human biology, Mammals...The Attenborough Studio ‘ The exhibits I have named were the ones I visited....there were more but I wanted to go to the Beatles walking tour leaving from Trafalgar Square at 2pm so I needed to hurry when I finally realised the time!
The Underground Tube station was near the Museums so I purchased an Oyster travel card....a travel pass for all the public transport so you don’t have to buy a ticket for each ride, instead you swipe your Oyster card and it debits the cost of your ride from the balance on the card at a very discounted rate. Arriving at Embankment Station it only took me a few minutes to walk back to The Square past The Sherlock Holmes Pub and other landmarks I was becoming familiar with.

The weather was threatening to rain however our 2hr walk was dry and jam packed with the history of the Beatles rise to fame. Soho, the suburb through which we meandered, is the Mecca of The Arts...packed with the famous theatres, concert halls and recording studios...Trident Sound Studios being where many famous songs have been recorded... ‘mpl’ McCartney Production Limited – a discreet, single fronted classy building which housed the many gold record plaques earned by The Beatles...we had to be very careful not to be seen taking photos or staring in the window as they would simply close the binds from public scrutiny...Paul has always preferred his privacy as does his business. We passed by little cafes ..’2i’s Cafe’ was the coffee shop where Paul, and consequently The Beatles, was first noticed and given a recording contract with Epstein... significant places of events..the building where Paul first met Lynda, his first wife!.... and the house where The Beatles, rooftop, sang their last song together. These details were shared by a very passionate Beatles fan, Bruce our tour guide! Fascinating for me as I grew up with Beatlemania and became a Wings fan when Paul McCartney went solo, supported by Lynda.Unfortunately Abbey Road was too far away to be included in the tour but if I have time, I will seek it out and view the famous Abbey Road crossing.
The tour finished too late for me to go to St Paul’s Cathedral, so I walked back to Southbank, sat waterside just beneath the imposing London Eye, and relaxed while enjoying some time to people watch and simply enjoy the splendour of London and the Thames. Too tired to wait until dark to take the ride on The Eye, I decided to take the Tube to Nottinghill Station and walk to my hotel. As I neared Bayswater and my hotel I discovered a very busy precinct of shops/restaurants/roadside cafes, wine bars and pubs/ Marks & Spencer, a variety of department stores and an energy level that was buzzing and getting more intense as dusk set in! What an unexpected find. I settled into a lovely Thai restaurant sipping a vino...reflecting on my day and excitedly anticipating the imminent arrival of my Girl!
21:00 hours.....Gem walked through the hotel door!
Naturally we were so excited to be together... Both of us were extremely exhausted....The girls had played hard and travelled far on their amazing tour but this however, didn’t stop us from chatting non-stop for several hours. We ordered food to the room as Gem rencounted their / challenges.... from very cold weather to spring, a sprained foot and crutches... / laughter and fun times.....partying most nights then dealing with the inevitable recovery whilst trying to concentrate on a history tour or endure an arduous bus journey.../ anxieties... losing George - the 3 girls being on the train together to Rome with George still on the platform in Bologna without a phone!!!.....
It’s sooooooo nice being with my Girl!......and Thank you so much Bloss, for the beautiful necklace from Venice.....handmade from authentic Murano glass for which Venice is famous! I will certainly treasure this exquisite piece.

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