The first stop was Harrods, except it took ages for us to get there - we just couldn't seem to find the right bus. We left the hotel at about 9am, and only arrived there in time for lunch - that's 3 hours just riding around on a bus, trying to get to a shop that is virtually around the corner.
We stopped at the Horse Guards on the way - just one of those tourist things you have to do. We arrived just in time to see them come out and I watched them with pity - surrounded by weird people talking pictures of them, not being able to kick them in the ribs and tell them to shove off. Actually, they can't even 'grin and bear it' since they aren't allowed to move at all. The horses on the other hand seemed quite fine with bearing their chompers at the people and having a ear nibble, like this one, who seemed to like the look of my tasty head:
Each level had many rooms, each with something different, but we were in search of the 'Egypt Hall'. Off we trundled, through the Bling-bling Evening Gown Section, Smoking Lingerie Section, Very Expensive Coats Section, Rather Expensive Stationery Section and many others. When we reached the Egypt Hall, the Egypt part was all the decorating - pillars carved with hieroglyphs, sphinx statues and so on. Very lovely, but still filled with Very Expensive Stuff.
Some, um, interesting looking chandeliers in the food sec.
Rather retro stationery sec, yeah baby.
We got around to the food section, were you pick your own seafood and meat, and they cook it right there for you. The vegetable section is huge with enormous variety - meaning I saw things I have never seen before, and I live in a very strange country. Then there was the Sweet / Candy Section. Parents, pray for the lives of your children, because that place is a child trap. You will never see them again. Everything seems to have stepped out of Santa's workshop and screams at you with blinding colours. You just want to touch things. Every sweet has at least ten different varieties (so you would have to have at least one of each), and not only are the walls covered with sugary goodness, but there are sweet islands filling up the rest of the room. Now bear in mind, I am nearly 20 years old, think of myself as quite mature and way past anything that anyone might consider childish. But I had to be dragged away from this room, kicking and on the verge of screaming. It was like leaving Wonderland.
But it had to be done, as it was time for lunch, which let me tell you, was fantastic! The service in the restaurant was brilliant - everyone was so friendly, and the food was... well, mouth-watering.
Next, after stopping to take a picture of an important London feature:
...we were back on the bus, in search of Hamley's Toy Shop. Another child trap. As you walk in you can hear kids laughing in delight and see shop assistants playing with some of the toys to advertise them. What a job. Another shop with 5 levels, I asked which level had the Harry Potter goods. All I'm interested in, I'm afraid. It was on the top level, so we moved up the escalators, but got sucked into the first section on the first level.
Here, you can make your own teddy bear. You choose the outside - white and shaggy bears, brown and soft bears, dogs, hippos etc, and then the assistant asks you to choose how fully stuffed you would like it. I chose medium (cuddly) and she then sticks the bear onto a pipe and fills it with stuffing. It makes the most horrible sound - enough to scare any child away, but then I'm off to have the bear sewn up. You get a tiny red, material heart on which to make a wish which is then sewn into the bear's stomach. Hamley (what I called my little bear) then got his own birth certificate and passport, and you can also choose an outfit for your bear. This is by far the best part. Bikinis, ballerina tutus, race-car driver overalls, boardshorts, fairy outfits - you name it, they had it. I chose the Scottish outfit (naturally), complete with kilt and sporran. It is the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen. The only part I didn't understand was how you were supposed to get these outfits onto the dog or hippo toys...
On we moved to the fifth level. I searched for the Harry Potter stuff, but it didn't seem to be there. Eventually I found it, shoved into a corner, just two shelves of it, including some Lego and a rather plastic looking broomstick. I was so disappointed. Everyone had told us that for Potter merchandise, Hamley's is the place. I looked into a seperate room, but that just turned out to be the staircase. It had, however, been painted with scenes from the third Potter film. Brilliant paintings including the Whomping Willow, the Hogwarts Express, the house's emblems and so on:
Great shop with all glittery and shimmery lipglosses and nail polishes. We couldn't stay long in case we missed the bus we needed, which could have resulted in us being stuck there for an hour. Us daft tourists didn't quite get the whole 'bus' system yet.
Here's a pub with a great name. I love this picture because it looks like everything is moving except me and the pub:
For dinner that night, we went to another pub. This one was called the Liberty Bounds. I later found out the story behind that name - in the olden, olden, really olden days, fathers used to take their sons around the boundaries of their land and thumped them with a stick or cane to teach them what land is their and what isn't. When I heard this, I thought it was sick and was grateful for the invention of walls and gates...
Had a cute waiter at the pub. Have no idea what is name is, as he is Greek, so it was kind of unpronounceable. I ended up calling him Valentino, and my mom called him Stefenopolis or something. But he made the whole pub experience worth it.
P.S. We discovered a really manky old wall behind our hotel. We then discovered it was built by the Romans in BC. Unbelievable really that the wall could have lasted that long!
MOST FASHIONABLE FASHION IN UK TODAY:
- Peasant skirt
- Jeans with chunky belt
- "Crazy Chick" by Charlotte Church
- Mini Cooper (gotta have one kids!)
- Oxford University t-shirt
- Union Jack flag
- Gold tin with coin chocolates and 4 candy sticks from the Harrods Child Trap
- Hamley's teddy bear with Scottish outfit
- Shimmery lipgloss and roomspray from Virgin Cosmetics