Slept in a bit this morning but got up in time to enjoy continental breakfast at the hotel. It's truly continental with breads, meats, cheeses, yogurt, fruit, toast, and Tom's favorite - croissants with jam.
After breakfast and a miserable shower with no water pressure, we headed out. I asked the front desk how to turn on the towel warmer, and during the conversation he warned me not to turn off the water pump switch nearby or there would be no water pressure. I ran straight back to the room and sure enough the pump was off, hence why the showers had been miserable this morning! Got it fixed now and so we will enjoy warm towels and strong showers for the rest of our time here.
I took off on the tube for Victoria Station where I was to meet my tour bus to the studio tour at noon. Stopped in a Boots (like a British CVS but better) to see if I could find some products that my sister had asked me to bring back. Unfortunately the train station Boots had minimal stock but I will find a proper branch tomorrow.
I took a tour bus from London out to the Warner Bros. film studio lot, about an hour north of London, for the Harry Potter Studio Tour. They take you in a livery bus, which looks awesome from the outside but you can't see out when you are in the bus because of the film on the windows! I loved the actual studio tour, but there was too much waiting around because the company made us get to the pickup too early and we got to the studio too early as well. During the tour you get to see all the costumes, props, sets, and more from all the films. The attention to detail was outstanding! For example, in the Potions classroom, they actually filled 1000 vials, vases, and jars with various liquids and bones and whatnot to make them all look real. I also got to try butter beer, the kids drink of choice in Harry Potter. It tasted like cream soda with a thick head of butterscotch foam. The foam was the best part for sure. The tour included an iPod touch with narration and videos for more info about each of the displays. Overall a great visit! I hopped on the next bus back to London and met Tom at Harrod's for dinner.
Tom spent the day at the Churchill War Rooms and the Royal Air Force Museum. The war rooms were excellent and Tom would highly recommend it. It covers both his operations during the war and his life. Tom warns that it wouldn't be engaging enough for kids, but great for adults. The RAF museum had lots of planes and military history, but wasn't worth the hassle of the trek out there since due to metro closures, he had to take several detours.
He explored Harrod's before I arrived - particularly enjoyed the electronics section. We made our way through the mobs of people wandering aimlessly around the store and settled on the bistro in the food halls for dinner. We enjoy pumpkin and Parmesan soup, endive salad with walnut and Stilton, duck confit, and veal pot pie. After dinner we stopped in the confectionary section and chose some macaroons and chocolates to bring back to the hotel for dessert.
The forecast called for rain, which was not surprising for London, but apparently it was heavier than usual because none of the stores or the tube stations were equipped to handle the water tracked in from shoes and umbrellas - there was flooding and people seemed shocked and confused. I guess the Brits are used to mild rain, not the downpours we get in the Southern USA. We had no problems thanks to our raincoats and umbrellas and boots. More rain tomorrow, but should be lighter and more scattered. It's been a second long day of walking for both of us so we laid down to plan the morning activities. Still working on the final plan but we know we are doing afternoon tea and then a tour of Buckingham Palace.
Christina and Tom