As we had only 3 full days to spend in London, and the first was clouded with my jet lag, we had a lot of ground to cover in the next two days. On Sunday, we got a relatively early start and decided to see London and Tower Bridges before going to church later in the afternoon.
Much to my relief, London Bridge was not, as I had been so told in my youth, falling down, and is still fully assembled in London. Contrary to popular belief, the London Bridge, other than being the London Bridge is not that cool. Other than being a place from which to look at Tower Bridge and relive child horrors of a bridge falling down, it is pretty much a normal, nonaesthetically pleasing bridge. The lack of beauty however, did not detir our picture taking spirits however.
Following our walk across London Bridge we made our way down to the Thames river bank in attempts to walk up to see the more aesthetically pleasing Tower Bridge. We however, were of course side tracked by a huge cathedral and enormous doric tower that beckoned us to come climb it.
The tower was built after the fires of London in attempts to beautify the city. For only £2 we were able to trudge up the 311 steps of the winding staircase to get a fabulous view over looking London.
In case you were wondering, 311 is a lot of stairs
Of course, not before we snapped a few photos of our beautiful selves.
This tower is not for the faint of heart... or legs, the 311 stairs up the spiral staircase is intense... I could definitly feel the burn. The view in the end however, was worth it, and we could see most of London.
Our last full day in London started early, with another stop at Westminster Abbey so I could experience the sundial. While we had seen it earlier, the clouds, and obscene amounts of Tour de France fans inhibited my opportunity to fully see the dial in action.
Pic of dial. This photo was taken at 10:13 am... apparently it does not take into account daylight savings time, but other than that, it works fairly well. It works by standing on the line closest to the current date. An as always, I am interested in sciencey things...
After the sun dial I made my way to the changing of the guards. This was a drawn out ordeal, involving the queens guards dressed in fabulous attire, walking back and forth, and the band playng prodominantly American tunes, with such ditties as Staying Alive, the Pirates theme and Copa Cobana.
I'm pretty sure here the band was playing the National Anthem... only shortly after the Copa Cobana.
Their hats were definitly the best part here...
After the gaurd change, Nicole and I enjoyed a leisurely walk through the parks surrounding Buckingham palace.
We took this picture right before some guy came and tried to make us pay to sit in the chairs... nothing is ever free, especially in London.
Also a plus about the gardens (or minus depending on your view), was the many pelicans walking around and swimming in the lakes. I found it particularly amusing that they had signs discouraging the feeding of the pelicans, as aposed to the ever popular don't feed the pigeons signs.
Me and Buckingham palace in the background. Not to shabby of a house for the Queen eh?
Following our jaunt around the palace, we headed to the London Eye, a huge enclosed ferris wheel allowing tourists to see nearly all of London from a bird's eye view, as the line was horrendous we opted to do the Eye first thing in the morning, before we flew out to Rome and instead happened upon a brilliant fountain.
This is me, inside the fountain, it is really fun, we had a few close calls, but luckily, no one got to soaked. There were however, a few sopping children running around... hmmm, the fact that I am amused by the same things as are small children... what does that say about me?
Continuing in our super mature nature, following the fountain, we found a skate park. It was nestled under a bridge, with only a few skaters there, so I didn't feel to bad showing my moves.
What do you think? Quit my day job right?
Continuing in the 'run yourself into the ground' while traveling Europe trip motto, next we headed to Tower Bridge. This bridge, which is much more elaborate than London Bridge (which in all honesty isn't saying much) looks like it was stolen from Disneyland. The spires are great and I love the blue accents.
Disneyland right? The castle, white and blue trim, I was expecting to see Sleeping Beauty walk out at any moment.
Here I am, wearing the bridge as a crown, do I look regal or what?
After the bridge, we rushed to St. Paul's Cathedral, where we attended a service (key word here, FREE to the public... great way to get into cathedrals by the way) for the beneficiary's of St. Paul's. St. Paul's was goregous, very elaborate, and the service was very nice as well, complete with a boys choir that was very enjoyable.
After the service, in a seemingly vain attempt, we hurried to Shakespere's Globe theatre, in hopes that we could buy standing room tickets for the evening show. Of course, since we went 1 hour from show time, the tickets were completely sold out, but as we had not much else to see and were feeling lucky, we decided to wait in the cancellation line in case people canceled. While it did not look promising, we were eventually able to conjure up 1 standing room ticket (for free even, thank goodness for flakey high school students who don't show). Because we had been running around all day, and were exhausted to say the least, this was not a bad thing, as I watched the first half of the show, and Nicole watched the second half.
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Photo of the layout within the Globe theatre
All in all, the Globe was marvelous, while not Shakespeare's original theatre, it is an exact replica, and the standing room tickets are great, you can easily get right up to the front of the stage without much trouble and as long as you can bear standing for 3 hours, are a steal at only £5 (sadly, this is cheaper than a one day underground ticket for this ridiculously priced, but fabulous city).
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Potentially copyright-infringing picture of the stage, close huh?
As is expected, once the show was completed we were completely exhausted. I have taken Bree's place of falling asleep in random places, as I mastered the art of sleeping in subways during my stint in NYC. I happily napped the entire ride home and fell to sleep almost as quickly.
The next morning, before our flight to Rome, Nicole and I enjoyed the London Eye. While potentially another opportunity for London to rob poor tourists, this was a rad way to see London. With a bird's eye view we could easily see all the places we visited, and got a good feel for the layout of the city.
Following the eye we made one last stopover in Trafalgar Square, to get pictures with the lions. The park nazi did her best to keep us away from the statues, but to no avail, we foiled her attempts and got pictures anyways! (which are not on my camera and will be loaded later)
Our last stop in London was to Portobello road. We had hoped to find the riches of ages, but were unfortunate to find that the main markets ran only on Saturdays (it was Tuesday). Instead, we meandered through the open markets (still quite a few) and ate yummy falafal pitas. Seriously, one of my favorite foods right now, if you've never had one, you should get one.