Nick got to the hotel this morning at 3 AM. It's kind of a blur to me because Nan got up and let him in. He crashed on the floor, and then we all woke up around 7 for our first full day in the city. Actually, it ended up being only a few hours in the city, because, it being Shakespeare's birthday, we headed out to Stratford upon Avon to check out the festivities.
We caught the train to Banbury and then a bus to Stratford upon Avon, where a parade was already started. There were several bands, and a long procession of people dressed in fancy clothes carrying flowers.
The parade wrapped up and we went into the Shakespeare birthplace. The exhibit building was pretty interesting, but the actual building was a bit underwhelming. It looked kind of like any other old house, except there was a baby Shakespeare in a crib.
After looking around the garden, we walked down the banks of the Avon to the Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare and his wife are buried. The parade goers had left a ton of flowers at the chancel, and they were arranged all around the church. There were a lot of pretty neat details like the stained glass and wooden carvings.
A couple more old time houses and it was already mid-afternoon, and despite a few singers and jugglers, there weren't any signs of festivities. We decided to head back to London. I guess Shakespeare's birthday isn't that big of a deal.
Once back in London, we stopped off for dinner (fish and chips) at a Cypriot restaurant. It was the best fish and chips I've ever had. A big piece of crisp and light fish with a plateful of fries, vinegar and ketchup for dressing. Mmmm...
Nick wanted to go check out the Tate Modern, and since it was open late, we headed out there. We crossed over the Millenium Bridge from St. Paul's Cathedral to this museum, which apparently used to be an old power plant. I took a bunch of pictures of the museum and the night-time city view from inside, but somehow they got lost off the camera. Suffice it to say, it was a really cool museum, with lots of oddball modern art. By the time we were done, it was already 9:30 so we came back to the hotel to sleep.
Another long day planned for tomorrow: Nick's going to try to go to Stonehenge and we're going to Hampton Court Palace outside of London.