Saturday, July 5, 2014

Day Two - London

After a very full night's rest (most of us slept for 12 hours), we woke up refreshed and ready for our first full day in London.

We were out of the apartment (after breakfast) by 8:30am.  We had our first experience on the London Tube station (the words "mind the gap" were repeated about 100 times as we rode due to the step down you have to take off the train onto the platform).  It was very easy to navigate.  Made us think about Boston's subway system and New York's (although 10 times easier than New York!)

We didn't have a long ride - about 15 minutes and then we appeared right in front of the London Eye.  It was great!  The kids were so excited to see it and Big Ben all at once.

We rode the London Eye which was a 30 minute ride on the biggest enclosed Ferris Wheel we had ever seen.  Finley wasn't thrilled about the height of the thing, but she did great.  It moves so slowly, and it doesn't rock (thank goodness) so you would never know you were on a ferris wheel.  We got a great view and were able to take amazing pictures on that ride.

After that ride we had some time to kill before we were going to lunch, so we walked around the area.  We walked down to where the Prime Minister lives.  You can't get close, of course, but closer than you could to the White House.  We saw the Royal Horse Guards at the Royal Stables and watch them put the horses away.  We walked through the stables into this large, gravel area that was part of the route that Prince William and Princess Kate took when they got married.  Arlington was very excited about that.  We walked around St. James Park and watched the birds.

We then had lunch in the Cellarium Cafe attached to Westminster Abbey.  We made reservations there before we came and I am glad we did.  It was small and very popular.  It was really cute inside - reminded me of the inside of the Cloisters.  And the food was really good.  We are having trouble talking the kids into trying new things, but this one had a pretty tame kid's menu.  Mat and I ate the local fare and the food was very, very good.

After lunch we got in line to go through Westminster Abbey.  The line was intimidating, but we couldn't get tickets ahead of time.  And I had read about it online that it looks bad, but the wait is usually less than 30 minutes.  And they were right.  It moved very quickly.  It costs to go in for adults, but kids are free, and it was worth every penny.  We were super sad to find out you couldn't take a single picture inside because this place was amazing.  Finley, Cainan and Arlington loved it.  Arlington even listened to the audio tour and hunted down all the places.  We were in there for 90 minutes and the kids didn't want to leave.  (but they were closing).

Westminster Abbey is where the princes and princesses get married, so we got to walk where Princess Kate and Prince William did when they got married.  We got to see the altar.  We saw tombs of kings and queens from as far back as the 1200s.  Finley was really into this - little weirdo.  She was obsessed with knowing if it was a queen or a king in the tomb and what their names were.  We visited

Also buried here are: Charles Darwin, Handel, Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Lawerence Olivier, Kipling.  Very cool.

After Westminster Abbey, we hopped over to The House of Parliment for our scheduled tour.  The Parliment is not in session right now, so we could take a tour.  It was also very interesting, and even Arlington was in to this one.  The other two hung in there, but it was a bit boring for them.  The guide was entertaining and he loved the kids.  He really kept Arlington engaged by having her count how many crowns she counted as we moved through the 2 hour tour.  (she found 600 but there were way more!).  It was neat to hear how their government worked and that the queen only visits once a year now - even though she is still the Head of State.

After that tour, we had dinner at a cute little cafe in St. James Park called "In the Park" and then headed for home.  We grabbed some ice cream on the way to the apartment and were in by 8:30.  Full 12 hour day!

Today is also Finley's 8th birthday.  She told me she had a really fun day.  I cannot believe my baby is 8 years old.

Here are pictures from our day.  There are a lot.  I weeded out the best I could - there are a lot more (but of the same things).  Have fun looking!

Our First London Underground (subway) ride.
 Big Ben!
 Part of the House of Parliment
 The London Eye.  There is no way to capture in a picture how massive it is:

 House of Parliment and Big Ben:
 Our London Eye Car.  The thing doesn't stop - you hop on while it is moving.  Quite impressive, really, because they can get 25 people off and another 25 people on one little cart within about 30 seconds.
 On the London Eye:
 Beautiful building across the Thames River:
 We talked Finley off the bench and over to the Window of the London Eye:
 The cars above us:
 Birthday Girl:
 Views from the London Eye of the city.  The city is HUGE:

 Big Ben and Parliment from above:

The Shard
 Buckingham Palace:

 The Royal Horse Guard stables and that stone/dirt area I told you about above:
 The Thames River.  It is really dirty brown.
 Beautiful architecture was everywhere:

 The Royal Horse Guard stables:
 These guards were outside on the horses in guard stations.  They never moved.  This guard was a girl!
 Where the horses are kept when they are not working:
 The retiring of the horses for the day.  Cainan found it hilarious that we were standing on the "butt" side of the horses for the show:

 One of the building along side of the Royal Horse Guard Stables:
 The stables and building from the back.  This is the way that Prince William and Kate would have ridden once they were married - they drove right through the middle and onto this dirt area.  I have no idea why this area is all dirt/stone.  It is massive:
 all of these countries flags were lining the street across from St. James park.  We THINK they are all the areas that were/and some that still are run by Britian.  Britian was a pig - they owned A LOT.  As the saying goes "The sun never sets on Britian" - that would be true.

 World War 2 Memorial:

 A memorial that Cainan liked:
 This is where the Prime Minister Lives:  Downing Street.

This little Cottage was built in the 1800s for the Bird Keeper in St. James Park:

 We love the Taxis:
 No idea why, but very close to Westminster Abbey is this statue of Abe Lincoln:
 This is the Supreme Court building - so pretty:

 Cainan at lunch at the Cellarium Cafe:
 Lunch at Cellarium:
 Beautiful part of Westminster Abbey:
 Big Ben!
 Part of Parliment.  Flags everywhere:
 Birthday girl in line for Westminster Abbey:

 Front of Westminster Abbey:
 Big Ben.
 Okay - the story of Oliver Cromwell - we learned about it inside Westminster Abbey.  He lead the revolution against the Monarchy.  He won, declared himself ruler of England.  When he died, he was buried in Westminster Abbey.  After his death, the Monarchy was re-instated at which point his body was dug up from Westminster Abbey, hung, and then decapitated.  Nice.
 We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside Parliment except for this one room.  This is the only room that survived a fire that Parliment had in the 1800s.  This room dates back to 1000 AD.  The roof dates back to 1200 AD - it is amazing.  It is all wood and carved by hand.  I had a hard time getting a picture of it because the wood is very, very dark.
 Carved out Angel.  This suck is over 800 years old.
 Stained glass windows at the House of Parliment:
 This stair case is over 1000 years old.

 Believe it or not - they have working telephone booths all around the city:
 Having dinner.  Kids wanted to sit outside:
 Our view while eating dinner:

 View of the London eye from St. James Park:
Our street where our apartment is located: 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

July 5 2014

Way way way waaaayyy! Awesome! How fun I love the pictures!! I want to go now hehe!!

Happy 8th Birthday Finley sweetie!!

I am so happy for you! :)

Friend Shayla