After relatively comfortable flights, we arrived at Heathrow at 7:30 a.m. (2:30 for those back home) on Saturday ready to hit the ground running. We dropped our bags at the “Z Hotel,” found some sustenance (COFFEE) and took to the streets of London.
Hyde Park was nearby, so we took a leisurely stroll on what was a sunny, clear day with temps in the low/mid 60s. Hyde Park is likely London’s Central Park equivalent, and is very open, well-kept and home to some very interesting trees. Shortly thereafter we trotted over to Buckingham Palace in time for the changing of the guard. It’s worth noting that this process is rather protracted, so, having little sleep, we found ourselves struggling to stay awake. We also toured Westminster Abbey, which was simply beautiful. Of the many old churches we have seen, this one contained some of the most intricate designs, both on the inner and outer facades of the building and on the many tombs etc. located within the Abbey. It serves as burial place or otherwise as a memorial for many famous historical figures from scientists (Darwin) to authors (Dickens) and, of course, British Royalty. We finished our Saturday at a pub a few blocks from our hotel, where the service was amazing and the people even better. Aaron & Andy found themselves talking at length with a gentleman who worked in the infamous British media, and enjoyed the great conversation.
…. (I am already running out of time and battery life!)
Sunday we arose VERY reluctantly from bed, although I was a perfect ray of sunshine as always <note sarcasm>. We had dates with the museums and enjoyed Van Goghs, Monets, Renoirs and so on. I do love impressionism! We also visited the British Museum, a large museum stuffed full of history. Notably, we saw THE Rosetta Stone. Wow. After museums, we had tickets to see Muse at Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal plays (soccer). Muse puts on quite a show and it’s clear that they have a few fans in London.
Yesterday we started our day with a truly great tour guide telling us tales about the Tower of London. His (Steve) tour was a highlight of our first few days. We checked out the Royal Jewels and the white tower, and then popped out of the Tower complex right next to the beautiful London Bridge, a blue-trimmed, imposing structure that is a perfect landmark for the city and will be imprinted in my mind for a long, long time. We also visited the British Library, home to the Magna Carta, works from Shakespeare, Beatles Lyrics, old Bibles and religious texts, and much more. Absolutely worth the visit.
I’m writing while Aaron is snoring away next to me in our tiny, matchbox-sized windowless room, where our bed borders the glass partition to the bathroom (it’s still a nice place, just tiny). Today, we’re catching a bus to Bath, Lacock and finally for a sunset tour of Stonehenge. I have to go for now, but hope to catch up sometime in Dublin, where we’ll be flying tomorrow morning. Cheers for now!