Our First Full Day In London [Day 13 Europe]

[5.20.2009] journal entry

First full day in London. We didn’t want to start using our London Passes yet, which gets you into lots of things for ‘free’ (you must use it for 3 consecutive days), so we did things that were not covered by the pass. Up in the morning, apparently our toaster was not extra weak like all the others and John really burnt his toast.  Luckily the smoke cleared out of the apt. pretty easily.  First we went to Leicester Square to see what theater tickets were available this week – some pretty good stuff. (You’ll find out later what we chose).  Then off we went to Westminster Abbey.  Incidentally, this is right near Parliament and there were a whole bunch of protesters about lots of things including Sri Lanka.  Took lots of pics outside of the Abbey, but again, no pics inside. 🙁  The Abbey was amazing and had so many memorials and tombs of so many royalty and other important people.  They even had a memorial to FDR.  The Q Elizabeth I & Mary Q of Scotts tombs were amazing and very interesting.  Henry VIII’s mother was apparently the inspiration for the face of the Queen of Hearts card.  Cool.  After the Abbey we headed over to check out the London Eye and grab some lunch.  The Eye was ridiculously expensive for a giant slow ferris wheel – like £24 or something (each)!  So we skipped it for now.  Walked down along the river to find some lunch.  We passed several sidewalk performers – statues, musicians, and other ‘characters’.  Interesting.  A blue guy, the hoola hoop chick, several historical looking dressed folks, human statues… and one guy who was apparently being heckled – and was heckling back.

We found lunch at a place called EAT.  Fresh food =)  Then we decided to head over to the Globe Theater to see about tickets – (ta da!)  We got tickets for Thursday’s Matinee for Romeo & Juliet!! Yipee!!  Then we headed over to an area called the Seven Dials.  Very trendy, hip, indie sort of feel.  Walked around and looked all over.  Celebrity alert: walked past Benicio del Torro sitting at a cafe table on the street.  Fun.  There were lots of great little shops.  Got a delicious cupcake @ “Candy Cakes” – see pic.  Sooooo good.  Also picked up an awesome birthday card for a friend from a little shop called Mambo.  So excited (fyi – she liked it)!  After all that we hopped back on the tube to just near the start of Hyde Park and walked through the park.  It is gorgeous with lots of interesting parts and the green spaces are just enormous.  A great contrast with the bustling city.  Lots of birds, even saw some Magpie’s and some ducks we didn’t recognize.  We met a man who was very interested in our camera and was researching which camera to purchase.  He was amusing because we could tell he researches things meticulously, like we do =)  We passed by Royal Albert Hall, but didn’t go see it.  At the end of the Park you go into Kensington Gardens and the Palace.  We couldn’t get a good front view of Kensington Palace because they had a bunch of catering trucks there, setting up for something.  The grounds were beautiful though. There were tons of runners out and we saw a few boot camp style training groups.  It was a beautiful evening.

We hopped the tube back to the Thames and found a bar/restaurant [Old Thameside] on the river to have dinner.  John had fish & chips of course, and I had bangers & mash and I tried some cider (beer).  Very good.  Then we walked back along the river and I got some more cool night pics of the Tower Bridge.  Back to the apt., more planning for the next day, and out. =)

And I’ll be posting the Lightbox (nonflash) gallery soon for those of you (Bond) who I know will only see this on your iphone. =)

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