London Trip Part 1: Sightseeing

For my first wedding anniversary, Rob took me to Maine, and he pulled together the most fantastic present for me–the Box of Awesome.

For our second anniversary, we celebrated Mom’s birthday.

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Statue in the lobby. There were sheep, too.

For our third anniversary, we went to Iceland and London.  Iceland was gorgeous, though our hotel had some weird wooden statues that kept making me do a double-take because I thought they were real people.

We slept most of the day in Iceland–jet lag.  But we did get across the street to The Pearl for lunch and lovely views of Reykjavik.

 

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Reykjavik

 

 

 

 

We arrived in London at night, and we had a car service to get us from Heathrow to our hotel–we did not want to spend an hour and a half, with luggage, on the Tube.  We used Blackberry Cars, and they were so fantastic, we booked another car to get back to the hotel.

Rob’s first exposure to London, aside from looking out the plane’s window, was driving through the middle of the city at night.  We passed Harrod’s, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Parliament, the London Eye, and so much more.

Our hotel room was small, with a window that barely opened, so it was stifling, even though the temp was nice outside.  That was remedied by getting a fan.  It wasn’t a great hotel, but it wasn’t the worst we’ve stayed in.

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Just before the downpour.

The first day went a little sideways.  We went to the British Museum, and my camera’s battery was dead.  And I discovered that when I tried to take a picture of the clouds over the building.  Then the sky opened up with a deluge, while I was trying to put away my camera, and everybody ran for the door.

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The Rosetta Stone is there, behind that crowd, somewhere.

 

 

We tried to see the Rosetta Stone.  I saw the back.  That was the closest I could get. We circled back around after going through, and, well, that —>

I got postcards, since we didn’t get close.  Plus, I have photos from my previous trip.

On our trip to the Tower of London, we got to see the poppy display, which I wasn’t sure would still be out. It was both lovely, and sobering.  Each poppy represents a British fatality from World War I.

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Poppies

 

We didn’t get into the Bloody Tower, by the time we came around to it, the line was massive, and neither of us had enough interest in the Crown Jewels to stand in that line.  So we went through the armory.  The best part of that was the dragon.

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His name is Keeper. It says so on one of the barrels.

It was fantastic! The dragon was made of different things from the armory–pistols for the claws, banners for the wings, axes for the spines along the back, and so much more.

From there, we went to Tower Bridge, and I got to really test out my new camera and zoom lens. (Oh, yeah, I got a new DSLR and a new lens.) Also, Tower Bridge has lovely architecture.  And during the tour, there’s a film thingie about the building of the bridge that reminded me of the portraits and photos in Harry Potter.

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Tower Bridge

 

 

The zoom lens is pretty awesome. I took a picture with the Shard, and then I took another from one of the bridge’s walkways and zoomed in on the top of the Shard. (I don’t remember if I took these both from the same spot or not.)

 

Holy crap did that look fantastic.

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View from the bridge

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The top of the Shard

 

Isn’t that great?

 

 

 

 

Rob had hoped to see the giant dead parrot, but I think it got moved the weekend we got to London, or the weekend before.  It would’ve been hard to miss if it were still there.

We rode the London Eye, though Rob wasn’t too sure about that.  He’s not that good with heights, and the London Eye is pretty huge and high.  Afterward, he said it wasn’t that bad.

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Looking up from underneath.

The views are gorgeous, and this time I recognized so much more than last time. I think.  If so, it’s likely because I started watching Doctor Who.

Plus, Rob bought a little map/guide thingie for me that points out the different points of interest, and recognizable buildings, and such.

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View from near the top.

 

We walked from the London Eye to Westminster Abbey.  The Abbey was lovely, but no photos were allowed inside it.

Saint Paul’s Cathedral was going to be the next stop, but we weren’t able to get there before last entry.  I did get a few good photos of the exterior, which was mostly what I wanted.  I’d looked up the cathedral beforehand and knew their policy was the same as Westminster–no cameras allowed inside.

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Westminster Abbey

There was a planned trip to go to the London Zoo, but we scrapped that to stay in the room and let our feet recover before LonCon 3.

Some of the things we, or at least I, noticed in London.  People miss a lot because they don’t look up.  London was nowhere near as ornamented as Rome, but there were still lots of interesting pieces of architecture and art on the ceilings and upper portions of buildings.  Another thing–tourists suck.  This trip reinforces my dislike of traveling in summers.  Rob and I try not to be the stereotypical tourist that can’t get out of their own way and stick out like an Ent among hobbits.

The London Underground might be confusing when looking at maps, but it’s so much easier to navigate than any of the other subway systems I’ve been on.  Which is a feat, as NYC is pretty much just straight lines up- and downtown.  The main reason the Tube is so much easier is because signs.  When there were branching tunnels, signs would indicate which branch to take for which line and which stops.  And even once you got out onto the platform, the facing wall usually had a sign indicating which stops the train would make.

This is probably a good place to stop, since this went a whole lot longer than I’d actually intended.  I’ll get to another one soon, about LonCon 3.  That one will probably be a bit shorter.

And because I know people want to see–all the photos from London sightseeing.

About Rachel

I'm a writer in progress, and in my day job I copyedit/solve puzzles.
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