Monday, April 6, 2009

London I.ii

Well, we made it to London as I previously stated. And now we're leaving London already. Not that I'm too sad about that - this place is incredibly busy and that's just not really my cup of tea. We have packed a ton of stuff into these three days though. I am just beat today. We only stayed out until about 2:00PM today, which is only a half day for us. We haven't had enough rest time and just had to take a break. Let me give you our impressions of London though.

I do like London. We've been lucky enough that there has been no rain and in fact has been sunny about 60% of the time. It's much nicer when sunny in my opinion... The history that surrounds you as you walk around the city is really nice. I love looking at lamp posts or statues that have plaques reading "1902" or "1884." Very cool! People have been walking thorugh these streets for hunders of years! In some places they've been around for 1000 years. The buildings are old and you can feel that.

I also really like the London Underground system. I had to get used to it though as it was very intimidating at first! But once you jump in you find that there are signs everywhere directing you to exactly where you want to go. We got the 3-day pass which ended up being a great investment. We've used the Underground so many times in just three days.

Things that don't impress me about London is all the trendiness. It's cool at first but then it just starts to get old. Everyone is always dressed so spiffy and looks so good! Personally, I need some relax time after a while. And everyone is go-go-go. Chuck says London isn't actually all that fast paced - that New York is worse. I've never been to New York though. But I think these are just things that come along with big cities. Wouldn't want to live here permanently, but very cool to visit.

I'll skip the first day as it was not really a good day. I, personally, was freaking out. But we managed to find a place to stay for the night and got a bit of sleep on and off. So nothing very exciting. But I do apologize in advance for all the photos from the next 3 days...

First day (April 3, 2009) we went to see the Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. We saw Big Ben! He was big. He's attached to the Houses of Parliament building. We didn't go in the Abbey as it was 16 GBP which is a bit steep. I bet it would have been pretty cool though. Instead we walked over by the giant London Eye and the Aquarium and that area. There were a bunch of interesting street performers painted gold and silver and blue. We walked through Green Park to get to Buckingham Palace where we took a break and sat for a bit. Buckingham Palace isn't all that impressive in my opinion, although the gates are nice. We stopped for a Beef and Stilton Pasty on our way home - very good!

Second day (April 4, 2009) we headed back to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards. We were there an hour before the ceremony started and it was already a bit crowded. We found our spot and waited. By the time it started the whole square was so packed you could hardly move! I was glad we got there when we did, but we left after 30 minutes of the ceremony. Too many people and too much standing! We then headed out to see Mom's old house: 248 Finchley Rd. I imagined her running in and out to and from the tube. We did a lot of walking after that. We went through Covent Garden and stumbled upon Somerset House which was neat. We didn't even know it was there! We passed a few other impressive buildings before ending up at St. Paul's Cathedral. I really wish I could have taken photos inside, although they would not have done it justice. It was just amazing and beautiful and breathtaking inside. The ceilings were so detailed and golden and high! And we were lucky enough to arrive when the boys choir was beginning to sing. It was really lovely.

Third day (April 5, 2009) we visited the financial district. The Bank of London, Royal Exchange, London Stock Exchange, Swiss RE, and Mansion House. They were all pretty much right next to each other, thank goodness. We walked down to the London Tower, which we were very disappointed to find required 17 GBP to get into. I was upset but did not think 17 GBP was a reasonable price! So we just went on to teh London Tower Bridge. An impressive bridge, although the blue color of it threw me off a bit. We passed by city hall as we started getting really worn out and made our way to Waterloo station. We hoped to find food there but that didn't pan out. We ended up having fish and chips and an italian beef pie. Yum! But we were done after that. So tired. We went back to our hotel and relaxed most of the rest of the day. Which is where I am now...

So there you go. That has been our time in London. Lots of things to see here, but I think we did it a bit of justice!

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