Thursday, August 07, 2014

Hop on a Double Decker bus!

We managed the bus routes on our completely free days to do what we wanted, to see what we wanted!

Photos are mostly of buildings, of buses, of beautiful churches…

There really is no rhyme or reason for them, I just loved what I saw.

While we could have taken the "tube" or underground, there is nothing to see down there.  The city is best viewed from the upper deck of a double decker bus, a London icon.

To travel on the buses, you need an “oyster” card purchased from an “off license” merchant.  Load up the card with as many pounds as you want, and away you go.  It works similar to a hotel room key, just put it up against the reader, the light turns green and away you go.

Public transportation in a new city is always a bit scary the first time around, but people were helpful, and the maps at the bus stops gave a pretty clear indication of where you were, and where you wanted to go, and which bus line you needed to get there. 

Want to remember where? Take a photo of the bus map with your phone and you can follow the route on your map as your bus goes on down the road!


Follow the yellow line!

Bus 15 got us anywhere we really wanted to go, from Tower of London all the way to Trafalgar Square!

Of course, who knows WHEN I’ll be back to London, and even though there are probably a couple of pounds left on my oyster card, I think it will become a working souvenir living its next life as a seam guide. HA!


Piccadilly Circus fountain!

Crowds and crowds and crowds of people ---all out enjoying the lovely weather and people watching.  At least those sitting all around the fountain seemed to be doing nothing more than people watching.  You couldn’t get TO the fountain because of all the masses of people so it wasn’t worth a photo in front of it myself.


Crowdy Bus!


The view from the upper bus window!


Can you read the sign? Selfredges!


Just a gorgeous building.


Love the flags everywhere!


Oh, I loved this little park!

The water would intermittently shoot up from the pavement, to the squeals and excitement of the little ones allowed to cool off in the heat of a Sunday afternoon. Joyful exuberance…made me want to go splash my feet in the water too! 

Do you see that perfect late afternoon sunlight dappling through the canopy of lovely shady green?  Time could have stopped here.  To sit here with no time agenda, to people watch and just sit and reflect without worrying about book orders having to go out or quilt deadlines or worrying about the next guild visit’s travel arrangements. 

I feel like a load has been lifted off of my shoulders while I’ve been here.  I’ve been able to just BE.  To be part of this life here.


This is a favorite moment for this trip.  Nothing big, nothing fancy, nothing expensive, just a precious moment.


WWI Monument


Bye Bye, bus!  You have become a favorite London memory for this traveling girl!

In real time:

We are off to Stratford upon Avon today!  Driving through the Cotswolds' on another clear and sunny August day.  Bags are to be outside the door in 30 minutes so the porters can carry them to the bus for us.  Breakfast awaits ----

We will say good bye to Bath and move on to our next adventure!

((Are you thinking about coming to Tuscany with me yet?!  May 2015 – click the Tuscany Tab at the top of the blog for more info!  Instead of just reading about it through blog posts next time, you can BE there with me!))

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  1. Glad you are enjoying my city! Although like most Londoners on normal wages, I now live in the suburbs.

    Some tips for travel for your readers-

    buses are now cashless (crazy idea Boris, but there you go) so you have to have an Oyster card or travel card.

    Oyster cards can be bought and "topped up" at any underground station or many convenience stores dotted around (usually any that are near a bus stop)

    Oyster cards are pre-payment cards, fares on tube are half the price than just buying a single ticket.

    Oyster cards have a maximum daily limit that you will be charged, but it is slightly above the price of a 1 day travelcard.

    Travel cards have been sold in London for the last 20 yrs, they allow you unlimited travel on bus, tubes, trains within the "travel zones" indicated on the card. They are still the best purchase for visitors to London that will be doing multiple trips/visits/exploring in a day.

    Oyster cards cost £5 which can be refunded if you hand back your card into an underground station. They allow you more flexibility than a travelcard as you can pay for each journey separately but the card will "cap" at a maximum limit.

    On tubes/trains especially suburban stations or busy stations where the gates are open - you MUST "touch out" or you will be fined £5 plus the maximum fare (a total of around £15) so easily done!

  2. Anonymous4:20 AM EDT

    Hello Bonnie, you seem to be having a great time visiting London, pointing out things we pass every day without noticing.
    The WW1 memorial you posted commemorates Edith Cavell, a British nurse working in Belgium when the war started. She treated the injured and sick from all sides equally. She also helped hundreds of Allied soldiers to escape from occupied Belgium but was arrested, tried and executed for treason by the Germans. Her strong religious faith guided what she did and is still remembered today.

  3. Tina in NJ7:58 AM EDT

    Stratford upon Avon holds a special memory for me. I toured England 30 years ago with my college chorus. The mother of a good friend was nearby helping her aging parents move and they came to see us sing at Ann Hathaway's cottage. (Shakespeare's wife, not the actress.)

  4. Glad you had a great time exploring and with such great weather. so funny though, I always travel on the underground rather than the bus.

  5. Seeing all these pictures makes me want to go back. I visited England three times in the 90s. The first weekend there we walked most of London on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday I almost passed out from dehydration. The Hard Rock Cafe saved me. Iced tea to drink. Oh the memories.

  6. Anonymous10:32 AM EDT

    I am really enjoying reading your blog about England - it is very interesting to see it all through a visitor's eyes! I hope you enjoy your trip through the Cotswolds (where I live) and also the Festival of Quilts, which I am visiting for the first time tomorrow.

  7. One more travel tip. Be careful crossing streets the cars come at you from the wrong direction. Twice I almost got run over! One driver shouted at me!

  8. Bonnie,
    I just LOVE travelling with you! It's the next best thing to being there. I, too, rode in a double decker bus in Victoria, Canada, on the top level OF COURSE!! They are so cool. Can't wait to see where you go next...much love!
    Amy in KY

  9. I visited England in Aug 1995 after I got married. One good tip: ask a local for suggestions where to eat. They often directed us to places off the beaten path. Sometimes the pub/restaurant didn't offer much variety but what they offered was absolutely delicious (I think because they weren't trying to offer so many things). John and I would always order different things so we could taste each other's food...one pub just didn't offer much, so we both got the same thing (steak with peppercorn sauce and vegs). It was absolutely positively delicious! What a surprise!...and this pub didn't even have a sign out front..so ask! I'm enjoying your posts! Thank you!

  10. Anonymous11:13 PM EDT

    How I love to travel with you each evening.


  11. How I love to travel with you each evening.


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