Monday, June 10, 2013

{European Travels} London Day 4

We're almost done with London!
Incase you need a refresher on the first three days...

Today was our last full day in London so we had to make the most of it. Planning this trip, I felt that 4 days would be enough to see everything we wanted, but we quickly realized we could have spent several more days here. We didn't get to see inside Westminster Abby, the British Museum, or walk the Pedestrian Bridge and any of the South Bank. There's always next time, right?

The day started off bright and early at 8am and headed to Tower Hill station via the Tube to tour the Tower of London. William the Conqueror built the center "White Tower" more than 900 years ago and his successors enlarged it to its present 18-acre size. Because it was so secure, the Tower has been a royal residence, the Royal Mint, The Royal Jewel House, and, most famously, as a prison and execution site.

We arrived just as they opened at 10:00 and headed straight for the Crown Jewels, luckily beating the crowds (thanks for the tip Rick Steves!).

This is the Jewel House inside the Tower, which has been used to store the precious ceremonial objects, aka: the Crown Jewels, since the early 14th century, when Westminster Abby was found to be unsafe.
Guarding the Jewel House with a smile on his face.

The Crown Jewels are passed down to each king or queen to symbolized the right to rule. People speculate that the collection is worth over 39 million dollars but others say they are worth so much the price can't be calculated. Very impressive.

After seeing the Jewels, we joined the free 'Beefeater' tour, which was a fun and witty way to learn more about the Tower's history. Seriously, you do not want to miss their entertaining stories and bloody anecdotes about the Tower. 

We were done touring the Tower by 12:00 and since we were fairly close, we went back to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Tavern for lunch (as it was closed yesterday for a bank holiday). Josh enjoyed more sausage and mash and I had my first fish-n-chips. As we ate, we had a view of Dr. Johnson's favorite seat, which is in the upper right corner of the picture. 

After lunch we rode the tube to Nottinghill where we walked around the beautiful neighborhood and strolled down Portabella Market.

After returning to the apartment and resting for about an hour, we hit the town for our last night in London. We decided to party it up at Leicester Square, London's theatre district. Josh was hungry for dinner and I wanted my first afternoon tea (although it was more like evening tea, as it was already 6:00, but who cares- it was marvelous!)

After dinner we walked around the square and stumbled upon the world premiere of none other than Fast and Furious 6. Ludacris and Vin Diesel graced us with their presence. Josh, being a giddy fan, was hoping Dwaine Johnson (aka: The Rock) would make an appearance, but no luck. 

We scored last minute, discounted tickets (again, thanks for the tip Rick!) to the show Rock of Ages at the Garrick Theatre. The show was fantastic and one of the most entertaining performances I've ever seen. Such a great way to end our night.

 After the show we returned home and packed for our early morning Chunnel to Paris! We were pumped to go to France, but we couldn't imagine loving another city as much as we loved London. Spoiler: we did!

Up next: Paris, s'il vous plait! 

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