3 Days in London - Hop On, Hop Off

My father-in-law came to visit us in Dublin and then took a bus tour of the UK.  We met him back in London at the tail end of his trip and spent the day exploring.  We started by walking from our hotel in Hammersmith to his hotel in Kensington Olympia.  I liked this block of shops/offices/apartments because of the foliage decorating the second level of the building.
We stopped at Al Safi, an Iranian mini-market for some freshly squeezed orange juice.
Walking further onto Kensington High Street, we saw these stoic poles lining a square. I think it's some kind of art installation.
Pigeons watched us silently from this gate above a park along Kensington High Street.
I thought this sight was rather bittersweet:  Books for Free...
...Closing Down Late November.  So much for that.
We decided to take the Hop On-Hop Off bus around London -- I know, I know, so touristy... but it was a good way to see the attractions quickly.  We passed Trafalgar Square during a rare commemoration of the Battle of Trafalgar.
The centerpiece of the Square is Nelson's Pillar.
Continuing on, we saw this vintage bus from our top-level vantage point.
One problem with hop-on-hop-off buses is that you always end up with people taking pictures in your pictures.  Here's a look at the Royal guards on horseback in the distance.
Westminster Abbey was majestic as expected.
We hopped off near Buckingham Palace and were delighted when two guards walked by.  The British certainly know how to rock a uniform.  Both the guards and policeman ('Bobbies') wear distinctive hats.
I liked this sea god on the side of the fountain outside Buckingham Palace.
The Palace!
We walked along this spectacular shaded path to get to the area near the Thames.
Someone had actually planted some colorful peppers along the path.
We were soon looking up at Big Ben.
The price of our bus ticket included a river cruise along the Thames.
We floated past the London Eye.
The Tower Bridge soon came into view.
We stopped for lunch at a fish and chips place near the Tower of London.  I like how they decided to depict an actual fish on their neon sign rather than spell out the word.
We paid the rather high admission fee (17 pounds) to tour the Tower of London.  I saw this metal-worked guard atop one of the defensive walls.
The ivy along the towers were changing color to mark the season.
Interestingly, people seem to live within the walls of the Tower of London.  We could see bicycles parked in front of these apartments...
...and patio furniture on some of the roofs.
We waited in quite a long queue to view the crown jewels.
While we were waiting I saw this cannon adorned with a ram.
We also saw the famous Tower of London ravens.  At least six ravens are kept at the Tower at all times because of the superstition that the kingdom will fall if they disappear.
Another guard and line-up of cannons guard the entrance to the crown jewels.  Unforunately, we couldn't take pictures inside, but suffice it to say, I've never seen so much bling in my life.
We missed our bus because I was distracted by the honey-roasted peanut vendor near the bus stop...mmm peanuts.
Unfortunately, that meant we had to huddle under an overhang when a freak hailstorm passed through.
The bus finally came and we made our way to Covent Garden and Apple Market to do a little shopping before dinner.
The crowds had descended on the area and there were buskers everywhere including a tightrope walker.
On our way back to our hotel in Hammersmith, we stopped at The Albion because we heard music playing when we walked by.
We were treated to two songs by the Snakes before they finished their set -- bummer about the timing because they were quite good.  We walked upstairs...
...and enjoyed a quiet drink in front a bust sporting a mustache -- could he be yet another mascot for Movember?
We bid our marble Tom Selleck goodbye and called it a night.

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 3 Days in London - Hop On, Hop Off
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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