Tuesday, August 23rd–London

Laundry again; breakfast in the hotel; Bug Bus hop on, hop off bus tour; quick lunch at Pret a Manger; pre-concert dinner at the Elgar Bar & Grill in the Royal Albert Hall; BBC Proms Concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Prokofiev

Best Western Cromwell



Two coincidences between where I stayed in Edinburgh and here–1) the Italian place I liked around the corner from my hotel in Edinburgh is a branch of the Italian chain (Ask Italian) across the street from my hotel here in London, which I also liked when I was here last year; and, 2) my room number in Edinburgh was 409, which is the same as here in my hotel in London but that's basically the only major similarity. This room is so much larger in comparison, and the shower is much bigger in my room here, although it is in a high soaking tub which I'm not a big fan of. At least I'm not having to try and squeeze in through a small door in a phone booth size shower.

I woke up early enough to drop off my laundry downstairs at the reception desk before 8 AM, and went one more floor downstairs to the nice breakfast room for breakfast. It was pretty good, but next time I'll have to remember to skip the link sausage they include since it gave me slight indigestion for hours. I then came back up here to shave & shower and get dressed for the day. I hung out here for an hour or so, going through my lists of things to see and places to go here in London, unflagging places I either went to last year and wouldn't mind missing this time around or just don't want to go to and making sure places I do want to go to this time are flagged.

The weather was wonderful today, actually in the upper 70s F and warm enough for shorts but I didn't wear them today. I figured if I did I'd want to come back by here and change into long pants before my 7:30 PM BBC Proms concert.

Yesterday I had bought a ticket for the Big Bus open top bus sightseeing tour. I caught it around the corner from the hotel, right next to the Gloucester Road tube station, a bit before 11 AM. The Big Bus tour is far longer than the one I went on last year, the Original London sightseeing tour, and lasted at least two and a half hours for the full loop and was probably longer. It also went to attractions and parts of the area I didn't see on the tour last year. I got back here to the Gloucester Road station shortly before 3 PM, and grabbed a sandwich, some chips and something to drink at the Pret a Manger across the street from the station and ate it back here in my room.

I hung out here in my room and actually took a bit of a nap until around 5 PM, and left for the Royal Albert Hall about 5:30. I was a bit early for my reservation at the Elgar Bar & Grill there in the RAH but was able to get seated right away. I had a pretty good dinner and dessert in a lovely setting on the same floor as my seat for the concert was.

I'd done a reasonable job selecting tonight's seat. There are two givens about seating in the Royal Albert Hall–the acoustics are excellent wherever you're sitting, and the only seats with adequate leg room are for the performers on stage. Tonight I was up in row T (with six more rows above mine) on the left hand side of an aisle so I could at least stretch my right knee out, directly on the far side of the hall from the stage.

Because of my bad knees and even worse balance places can seem steeper to me than they probably do to most other people. When I'd be standing by my seat to let people in or out, I had the very disconcerting illusion that if I fell I could fall all the way to the ground floor way below although I'd probably land on the balcony directly below.

Tonight's concert was very well attended if not quite a sell out crowd, and was very good. The ensemble was the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the program consisted of: Tchaikovsky's "Fantasy-Overture" to Shakespeare's "Hamlet"; Rachmaninov's "Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini" with Stephen Hough on the piano; and, after the break, Prokofiev's "Symphony No 3 in C minor". I'd never heard the first piece before, had heard the second piece before, and had probably heard parts of the third piece before but not the whole piece, on the classical music stations I listen to.

My only exercise today was walking to and from the Royal Albert Hall, but I did take a longer route back going a few blocks further away from the RAH and coming back down past the museums instead. Since I had dinner before the concert, I wanted to pick up some yogurt or other snack at the Waitrose across the street but got there just as they were closing so I went to the Garfunkel's for some dessert and hot chocolate before coming back here to my room.

It's now almost midnight. I was very close to the end of the book I'd been reading and didn't quite finish while I was having dessert so I finished that after I got back here before starting on these notes from today. I also sorted out some of my clean laundry, hanging the shirts up in the closet area and setting the t-shirts aside. I still want to take them all off the hangers they came back from the cleaners on and fold them up and put them all away before I go to bed, which shouldn't take long.

I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow, other than my BBC Proms concert which is at 7 PM. Since that's even earlier, I think I'll just have a snack somewhere before the concert and actually eat dinner somewhere after it on the way back here. I might go have my haircut at a barber's which is a twenty minute walk away from here before lunch, but other than that I haven't decided yet.

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