Happy New Year (London Edition)!
Trip Start Dec 27, 2011
15Trip End Jan 11, 2012
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We headed down Whitehall Street, which is where the royals used to live and play
We headed further down Whitehall, passed No. 10 Downing Street (where the Prime Minister lives), passed the monument for women in WWII, and paused near Westminster. We did a quick point and tell about Westminster Hall, Westminster Abbey, St. Margaret's, and the statute of Abe Lincoln. Abe is a replica of one we had in Lincoln Park, and he sits right outside the Supreme Court building which used to be the place where people could claim sanctuary from Westminster Abbey. I am planning to go back to both the Abbey and St. Margaret's. Apparently the window in St. Margaret's (which you cannot see from the outside) was a gift from Ferdinand and Isabella to England as a gift for the wedding of Katherine of Aragon to Henry VIII's brother. Unfortunately, it was 20 years late and Katherine had married King VII who was, at the time, seeking a divorce
We had lunch at a bagel shop (which was very boring and weird) across the Thames. After lunch, Katie and I headed to Harrod's Department Store....that was an awful idea. Outside, there were fur protestors who were convinced that Harrod's was selling illegal furs and had very graphic material to prove it. Despite the great deals, the store was packed (a lot of obvious Indian shop owners were running around with huge stacks of perfume). We gave up rather quickly, but waited because Justine was supposed to meet us. As we were leaving, we ran into her and we all caught the tube back to the Goodenough Club to get ready for the evening festivities.
We took the Picadilly Line to Green Park, where we got off and started walking. Green Park is supposedly named because Charles II's wife commissioned the gardeners to destroy all of the flowers so that Charles couldn't pick them for his mistresses (as Green Park was a favorite place to bring them for some "knightly skills" practice). We passed the Spencer house (the home of Princess Diana's family. A quick detour through a fenced in part of the neighborhood took us to St
We continued walking passed Buckingham Palace (we paused briefly to take a picture of the balcony where the first kiss was) and to a pub called Westminster Arms. It was not very crowded when we got there, so we got the basement to ourselves for a while until the locals started showing up. The owner didn't recognize Dean Faught and he was giving us a hard time, but when his wife showed him that Dean Faught had brought Loyola pens, all was well (they love the pens here). A man from the US Army stationed in Germany kept talking to us because he was "grateful to finally meet someone who speaks English" (although I am not sure why since the entire country speaks English). He was supplying free beer for a while, which made it better (even though I ended up having to pay for one of his through a very bad turn of events). Around 1130PM, we all went to the bathroom (we made friends because the queue was so long for the women's bathroom...some girl told us she was pregnant to get to the front of the line) and headed out to look over Big Ben.
Midnight at Big Ben was awesome