So, we decided to go to London for the weekend. We were lured into it by stories of incredibly low airfares. The airfare was, in fact, quite inexpensive… can’t say quite so much for the rest of the trip, but we had a great time!
We left Friday evening and arrived in time to go to bed at a hotel near the airport. We were up early Saturday morning, however, in order to pack as much fun time in as possible. We were on the first bus out of Stansted airport and made it downtown by 9:30am. We started right in with breakfast. The Regency Cafe had high marks on yelp and it hit the spot.
The next order of business was a walk past the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey to the Thames River.
We walked along the river past the London Eye.
We found out what a taco truck looks like in London.
We stopped at Tate Modern to catch some culture. A couple of Bret’s faves:
When we were museumed out, we walked across the Millennium bridge. It is a pedestrian bridge that was constructed as part of the Millennium tourist attraction package. It was quickly nicknamed the wobbly bridge and closed shortly after opening in 2000. It reopened in 2002 and seemed sound enough to us.
We also got some fresh toasted nuts with salt and caramel!!!
Next up, St. Paul’s Cathedral. This is the seat of the Church of England. The cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, who is credited with rebuilding much of London following the great fire in 1666, and was the tallest building in London for much of its lifetime (365 ft).
We had to hasten along, however, because we needed to get back to the river for a boat tour! Along the path on the northern side of the river, we ran into some more cool embellishments: camel sided park benched, dragons, and, yes, a 3500 year old Egyptian obelisk. The obelisk is called Cleopatra’s Needle, although it predated Cleopatra by about 1500 years. It was a gift from Muhammad Ali (the King of Egypt and Sudan, not the boxer) in 1819. It did not actually leave Egypt until 1877 and had a rough journey (including a few days floating around the Bay of Biscay in a giant iron cylinder after the boat that was transporting it sunk). It was finally erected in 1878 over a time capsule (with the following items: A set of 12 photographs of the best looking English women of the day, a box of hairpins, a box of cigars, several tobacco pipes, a set of imperial weights, a baby’s bottle, some children’s toys, a shilling razor, a hydraulic jack and some samples of the cable used in erection, a 3′ bronze model of the monument, a complete set of British coins, a rupee, a portrait of Queen Victoria, a written history of the strange tale of the transport of the monument, plans on vellum, a translation of the inscriptions, copies of the bible in several languages, a copy of John 3:16 in 215 languages, a copy of Whitaker’s Almanack, a Bradshaw Railway Guide, a map of London and copies of 10 daily newspapers).
Anyhoo, on to the river tour!
If someone was found guilty of treason, he/ she would be shipped from the houses of Parliament to the London Tower, through the Traitor’s Gate, to await execution.
We were getting fairly worn out by the end of the boat tour, but we only had the weekend to pack in as much as possible! So, we walked over to Piccadilly Circus for a much needed drink and snack at the Queens Head pub. Then, we strolled through St. James’ Park to the entrance to Buckingham Palace.
Luckily, we happened by a tube stop just as it began to hail. We decided to call it a day and head to our hotel. We barely made it out for dinner before we crashed out from a full day.
Next up, Tottenham Hotspurs FC game, the Tower of London, and a trip down memory lane for Bret!