Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mission: London

We had an early start to the day today, breakfast at 7am and left the hotel at 8:30am. I felt much better today after a good night’s sleep, the super strong coffee provided by the hotel was a big help too! Our goal of the day was to tour most of greater London with an official “Blue Badge” guide and to see the Tower of London.

Our tour guide’s name was Nigel and he was quite the character. He used to be a London police officer so he had many great stories and an interesting perspective on the city. He works a lot with bands so he made sure to incorporate musical themes whenever he could. Our original plans of seeing Tower of London first had changed a bit because of a truck driver strike in London, Nigel wanted to get all of the city driving done before the trucks drove through the city and created havoc on the roads. We missed most of the commotion, but did get to see some of the strike, which was pretty interesting. Our coach driver drove us all over London, we saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, complete with watching the band play at the barracks and learned just about everything you could about the city from the greatest tour guide ever!The new guard going to change out the old guard

The old guard back at the barracks going off duty

Next was Tower of London where we saw the Crown Jewels and all of the neat stuff surrounding 12c. London and the monarchy. I really wish we had more time there b/c we didn’t get to cover everything, it was actually one place I didn’t see the last time I was in London. I guess I’ll have to come back then….. Our coach dropped us off at the Victoria Embankment Gardens where we had the rest of the evening to see London on our own with our small group.

Outside Tower of London

Inside Tower of London the site where Anne Boleyn was beheaded

My group chose to ride the London Eye, which was very cool. It was erected for the Millennium and had a great view of the city through these pod like structures that you ride in. I got many great pictures here and it was a clear day so we could see most of the city. After we rode the Eye, our mission was to find some fish and chips. We were kind of silly b/c we ended up finding a place to eat near Westminster Abbey, the opposite direction of the hotel. Some of my kids didn’t have cash for a taxi so we had to walk all the way back to our hotel in Barbican, it was about a hour and a half walk and both the kids and I were exhausted when we got back.

Big Ben and Parliament from atop the London Eye

the London Eye

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