London Part II (December 27, 2012 – January 2, 2013)

Saturday
After another hotel breakfast, we headed to the tube station once again. (Did I mention that the British love baked beans with their breakfast?) It was a little colder on Saturday and we had some light rain, but it still wasn’t too bad.

Rick Steves was busy again! Today, he took us on the City Walk. We started in Trafalgar Square and headed east on the Strand. Our walk started in the city of Westminster, but where the Strand turns into Fleet Street is where we crossed into the city of London. There was a statue at that spot that represents the Queen having to ask permission from the Lord Mayor to cross into London. Off of Fleet Street, we took a really neat walk through some alleys behind the main road and came across Dr. Johnson’s house. Samuel Johnson published A Dictionary of the English Language in 1755. He is quoted as saying, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” (We REALLY enjoyed Rick Steves’ self-guided tours because he takes you off the beaten path to some places that you would never have otherwise found!) Once we wound our way back to Fleet Street, we were in familiar territory for a few minutes: we saw the pub where we had dinner the previous night, and we were close to our hotel. Not too far past our hotel was St. Paul’s Cathedral. We toured the inside, and it is absolutely incredible. Words cannot describe it, and unfortunately, photography was not allowed. We also walked through the crypt in the basement. As we continued the City Walk, we saw London Bridge, Tower Bridge, the Royal Courts of Justice (magnificent building!), and King’s College.

St. Paul’s Cathedral
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The Royal Courts of Justice
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Tower BridgeImage

Our walk ended at the Tower of London. We saw the old guillotine site, and waited in a loooong line to see the Crown Jewels. Behind us in line were a group of high school girls who were in London to march in the New Year’s Day parade. They were enamored with Connor, James, and Andy. Derek told the girls that he marched in the parade back in 1997…Charlie was just waiting for one of the girls to say something like, “That’s the year I was born!”

Tower of London
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After taking the tube back to the hotel and relaxing for a little while, we all walked to the Blackfriars Pub for dinner. We were seated at a table in a crowded room, and the other diners were definitely giving us dirty looks as we tried to get situated with the three kids. Connor was NOT happy, and since we were on the booth side of the table we had no room to scoot away and keep his hands away from everything. It was a huge blessing that he decided to fall asleep in my arms and stay that way through most of the meal. I had fish and chips, and Charlie had a chicken and mushroom pot pie.

Sunday
It was cooler, but SUNNY! We were so thrilled to see blue sky and sunshine. We took the tube and then walked to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. Connor and Andy were both asleep in their strollers. We claimed a spot right up against the gate and waited…and waited. The crowd formed all around us, and I was really getting nervous. If any of the kids decided to have a meltdown, it would be almost impossible to get through the mass of people behind us. Connor woke up and I put him in the carrier. He started getting fussy so I somehow managed to nurse him while he was in the carrier, and we made it through the ceremony just fine. Phew. The ceremony was actually pretty disappointing. The band marched in, got out their music stands, and played…wait for it…Malagueña. Seriously, not even joking. That’s pretty much all I remember…I think I was more focused on keeping Connor content. I think all of us had a similar reaction when it was over: “That was it? We waited over an hour for that?” But, now we can say that we have seen the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace!

Buckingham Palace
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Once the crowd cleared out, we walked to Harrod’s department store. It was HUGE…and crowded. We pretty much agreed that just walking into the store was enough to say, “Ok, we saw Harrod’s,” but we ended up spending a little more time there as we had to navigate through a few departments for restroom breaks and diaper changes. Next, after a stop at Starbucks (mmmm, my first latte since we’ve been in Germany…), we took a tube ride to another part of town to see the Imperial War Museum. It was pretty neat, and we all (especially Charlie) enjoyed looking at the exhibits on each floor. The Holocaust exhibit was particularly moving. We were completely drained after a long day, so we headed back to the tube station and went back to the hotel.

Harrod’s
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All of us were either starving or stupid because we pushed our luck with a 3-course dinner at the hotel. They offer a meal deal where you can pick 2 courses for a certain price, or, for £22.99 you can have three courses plus breakfast the next morning. Too good to pass up, right? Charlie and I had a new plan for Connor…just bring the stroller and wheel him up to the table! He could play, we could feed him…it sure sounded great. He actually did pretty well, but by dessert, he was done, and who can blame the poor guy? I was trying to hold him while I took my first two bites of apple crumble. He dropped a toy, and as I bent down to pick it up, Connor decided that if he couldn’t have any of my apple crumble, then mama wasn’t going to have any, either. Splat, face down on the floor, the entire plate (minus the first two bites). Big bummer. My hero of a husband let me have the rest of his highly coveted brownie sundae. If that’s not true love, then I don’t know what is. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s dinner adventures to hear about another heroic display of love…and our final London adventures!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chuck and/or Marilyn Mraz
    Jan 07, 2013 @ 22:15:40

    I just love reading your blogs by the way….you do a great job.

    M

    Marilyn Mraz 770-242-9089 (Home) 404-234-5230 (Cell)

    Reply

  2. U.Steve
    Jan 07, 2013 @ 23:34:05

    Fish & Chips, another local treat.

    Reply

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