Riding the Bus and the Wallace Collection

Thursday, June 21st

Today it POURED.  Seriously.  I saw an underground sign the other day that was like, “40 days and 40 nights of rain, and the Bible called it a flood.  The British call it summer!”  So true…  Anyway, today we decided to take the bus tour of London.  We figured it would get us around to any place we hadn’t seen yet, and let us take a bit of a break from walking for miles.  Getting on was quite easy, because there’s a stop right outside our local Underground (Gloucester Road, btw).  The bus’ upper deck is mostly open, but there is a front section that is under a cover, so we sat up there.  Lucky that we did, because pretty much as soon as the we got going, it started to rain.  We rode it for a short way to Baker Street, and then jumped off to go to the Wallace Collection.

Yes, that Baker Street. Did you really think we wouldn’t stop by?

Come, Watson! The game is afoot!

On our very first day in London, Kevin went rushing off the the Wallace Collection for a seminar thing about (you guessed it) swords, but he hadn’t had time to see everything he wanted to see, so we stopped by.  It’s an interesting place.  In the front, there are a few rooms decorated and so on with antiquities, but what Kevin was really interested in was their collection of arms and armor, including a whole thing of rapiers.  I have to admit, some of that stuff is gorgeous, and regardless of whether the aesthetics have stood the test of time, you have to admire the skill that went into making some of these things.   Even just putting together a functional suit of armor in that day and age, let alone one that is decorated is just impressive.  And wearing them!  They weigh 50,000 pounds!  I can’t imagine how a person could move around in that, let alone a horse wearing it’s own armor, and carrying a battle tank on its back.  Makes the whole jousting thing just that much more impressive.

Armor! Rar!


This was a suit of clothes made to go with a sword as part of parade dress. Both the outfit and the sword are very very pretty, but personally, I don’t think they go THAT well. I wonder if the color of the fabric has faded…

This sword! (their picture, mine was not good…)

After a short break at the Wallace Collection, we walked down Union Street to meet up with the bus again.  Nowhere in London has reminded me so much of somewhere else.  There have been a few time where I was like, oh, that looks like so and so, but Union Street could have been ripped straight out of New York City, save the very large Union Jacks strung up all over.  The same stores, the same look, everything.  Kind of weird, really.  We met up with the bus again, and got ourselves up on top again, under the awning, because it was still intermittently raining on us like crazy.  We also had a live guide, and we decided to ride the bus around the whole loop, and see where we ended up.  After a couple of stops, we were able to move to the very front!

We went over Tower Bridge, and by the houses of Parliament and Westminster, and through the newer areas of town to see the Gherkin and the Shard (buildings).  The guide was entertaining, and had a lot of fun local history to share about a lot of the stuff we passed on the way, so even though we spent a fair bit of time in traffic, it was still useful.  I have to say, I was kind of impressed with how much ground Kevin and I had actually managed to cover.  By the time we took the tour, we’d been inside a lot of the places pointed out, especially the historical buildings.  A lovely way to get out on a rainy day.

On the Bus!


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