Once we managed to find our hotel ( Kings Cross Premier Inn ), we take a short break and catch our breath.Â The fact that weâ€™re in London catches up with me here. Or maybe it was the exhaustion.
We decided that to get our systems adjusted to the new time, we needed to NOT sleep, despite the â€œlateâ€ time that our systems were still on. ( Noon, technically, but for us it was 5 AM without any sleep to speak ofâ€¦) So, we headed out to get our first real look at London.
First, let me say Iâ€™m not a big fan of cities, with the scale of my dislike for them being proportionate to their size. Generally speaking, if Iâ€™m in one, Iâ€™m ready to get out just as soon as my business there is complete. Not so with London, which I really like.
We decided we should take the underground from Kingâ€™s Cross to the Waterloo station and walk from there to the London Eye, the huge â€œFerris Wheelâ€ on the south bank of the Thames.Â While at the Kingâ€™s Cross underground station, we went up top to the train station to check on train tickets for the following day to Wales.
Kings Cross/St. Pancras station is quite attractive and from the looks of the ceiling, old enough to have seen steam trains. We set out to see if we could find Platform 9 Â¾, of Harry Potter fame.Â For anyone who hasnâ€™t read the books,Â young witches and wizards take the train to boarding school from that platform, which is reached by passing through the wall between platforms 9 and 10. At Kingâ€™s Cross station, the wall where that would be located is currently under construction, but theyâ€™ve â€œmovedâ€ it to another location and fastened half a luggage cart to the wall. We were happy to find it and took a goofy tourist photo with Jeanette at the cart, going through the wall. Then, off to Waterloo and a breezy,Â brisk walk to the London Eye.
The Eye, unlike a normal ferris wheel, doesnâ€™t have an open car, instead itâ€™s got acrylic pods the size of a small bus that are mounted on circular tracks so they can stay upright as the Eye rotates. Â Also, unlike any other Ferris wheel of my previous experience, they generally donâ€™t stop and start to load passengers, though it will do so for passengers with limited mobility. Instead, it keeps slowly moving while you get on board.
The concession that runs the Eye calls your ride a â€œflightâ€ and in some ways itâ€™s an apt description. The view is pretty good, almost helicopter-like, but frankly, Iâ€™d like my flight to cover a little more ground. Still, the view was pretty spectacular.
After the eye flight, we walked over the Thames to the Charing Cross underground station and headed back to the hotel. I think weâ€™re getting the hang of the Tube.
We had a nice dinner in the restaurant at the hotel and fell asleep at 9, utterly exhausted, but eager for tomorrow.