Saturday, November 17, 2012

Last Stop: London

London was the perfect place to spend our last day in Europe. We didn't have to worry about the language and the culture is fairly similar to ours. We enjoyed seeing all the historic/famous places but were a little disappointed that most of them charged expensive entrance fees so we didn't go in any of them.

London seemed to be a place filled with so much history; most of the cities we visited were.  But this history was more deeply connected to our own culture.  Chris was excited to walk into pubs that favorite authors once sat in and be in the place where literature really seemed to take off.

It was overcast and rainy most of the day (seems like a theme of our vacation, doesn't it!) and my cold was getting a lot worse. I'd like to say I had a great attitude and none of this bothered me, but that would be a lie. I let it get to me ended up having quite a few "crabby-moments." Chris was very sweet and gave me a time-out at a cafe where we could warm up and get out of the rain. I hated taking breaks from our sight seeing because we only had one day to see it all. But in the end, I was glad we did. I needed it; the break and hot chocolate helped my mood and kept me from getting soaked.

At the very end of the day when we ended up at the Tower Bridge, the sun peaked out and the rest of the evening was fairly nice.

view more photos here

How long we were there: 2 nights, 1 full day

What we did: We walked. . . and walked! We saw the outside of Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the City of London (original city boundaries) which included famous places like where the dictionary was first written and the pub where Charles Dickens wrote. We walked over the London Bridge which left something to be desired and over to the more picturesque Tower Bridge. We made a quick stop in Hyde park before it got dark.

What we ate: For lunch we found a pub offering a pretty decent special: a burger and beer for 5 pounds. It was delicious. Dinner was more of a struggle. We planned on having bangers and mash or fish and chips, but when we walked by this great looking restaurant around 4:30, neither of us were hungry. So we kept walking. Around 7 p.m. when we wanted to eat, we couldn't find anything English! We took the tube back to our host-apartment thinking we'd find something there but we had to walk for nearly 30 minutes before we found a grocery store! We settled for pasta salad, soup and fruit. We took it back to the apartment and joined our hosts for a glass of wine.

Where we stayed: The AirBnB we booked was great. Our hosts were a newly married couple (the wife was American) who had kept their three bedroom apartment after their roommates moved out. It was comfortable and cozy and they were very nice people. It was a little far from everything, but the tube is quite fast and easy to use. It was closer to the airport which made leaving the next morning pretty smooth.

How we got around: The Tube got us everywhere we didn't walk.

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