Day One

August 7th

We flew out of an airport in Ottawa. They searched our bags at the border. The flight was delayed two hours on the ground, and a six hour flight takes a long time anyway, so...

August 8th

We tried to sleep on the plane. We took the London Underground, called the Tube, to Victoria Station. With the record heat wave we were a bit nervous to be in an enclosed space, but the Tube cars were not unbearable. We carried our luggage from the station to look for our hotel. We found ourselves in a gigantic hotel district with hundreds of identical hotels. The only way to tell them apart was by their different signs. Ours was the Melita House hotel, and it was quite a relief to find it because we could drop our bags and rest.

The hotel room was underground but still hot. We only had a tiny little fan to combat the heat. Our bathroom was a sort of cave under the street. It had a funny hourglass-shaped bathtub with a hand shower. The bathroom itself was the same size as the rest of the hotel room!

After settling in, we visited the Tower Bridge. It was beautiful. We took a lift to the top of the Towers and walked along the big upper walkways, looking at the exhibit about the bridge's history. It was built in 1894, but it was designed to visually mesh with the surrounding architecture, so it has an archaic look. It was made to open in the middle to allow ships to pass through, because London was still a thriving port when it was made. The halves of the bridge were originally raised with steam power, but today they are raised electronically. We had a great view of London from up there. We had fun learning about the history of the bridge and seeing the Engine Room. The guide told us that the bridge would be opening soon, so we walked along Butler's Wharf to wait for it. We waited half an hour and then decided to eat our dinner there to try to spot the bridge opening.

There was a funny white Design Museum on the wharf, but it was closed, so we stopped into the gift shop to look at all the weird and wonderful things for sale there. I especially liked all of the funky pens and pencils. There was an exhibit outside of these neat “Mikromen.” They were little fold-up people made out of thin metal boxes in a boxy metal world.

We watched the sun setting over Tower Bridge, which was lovely.