Trip Start Jul 04, 2011
Trip End Aug 04, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Tuesday, August 2, 2011

On Monday we left Arras and headed for London.  We took the Euro Star through the Chunnel.  It’s amazing you can go from Paris to London on the train in 3 hours but the Chunnel isn’t very scenic, just 20 minutes of tunnel.

We took the London Underground from the Euro Star train station to our hostel, ironically we got off at the Canada Water station.  Or hostel was a little out of the downtown, but the Underground made it really fast and easy to get anywhere in the city.

Monday night we went out to see as much as we could before it got too late.  The first thing we went to see was the London Eye (aka The Millennium Wheel) which was really picturesque when it’s all lit up.  We took a ride on the eye (400m up) and got to see most of London which seems to go on forever.  We took some cool pictures and had a bit of an adrenalin rush with the heights and the rushed manner in which you get on and off the wheel (they don’t stop it).  After the Eye we walked across the Thames to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey and by then it was getting late so we took the Tube back to our hostel.

We had to make the most of our Tuesday as it was Andrew’s only full day in London.  After getting up at 6:30am (by accident because Andrew forgot to change the time zone) we took advantage of the extra time, got dressed and went to try and get discounted tickets to London’s most popular play Wicked.  Unfortunately, by the time we arrived the line was already too long to get 2 of the 20 discounted tickets so we went across the street and got tickets to Billy Elliot for that night instead and then it was off to the Tower of London.

The tower of London was pretty cool.  We started our visit with a tour being conducted by a Beefeater.  Beefeaters are actually retired military who live in the Tower on London and conduct tours during the day.  He took on us a tour of most of the castle explaining that most places had been a place of murder or intrigue at some point in the castle’s history. 

After the tour we walked through White Tower, which is the centre building in the castle.  The royal family use to live on the top floor and torture was done in the basement…now there is just some armour and artifacts on display thank goodness. 

Finally we went to see the crown jewels.  It was a really long line to get in to see them but the lone moved really fast.  The line snakes through a series of rooms where they show videos about the history of the crown jewels and then you finally get to the room with the jewels.  They have a sneaky way to keep the line moving past the crown jewels, you stand on a moving walkway (similar to an airport) and it moves you past them.  That keeps things moving but you can go back and ride the walkway again, which is what Jen did.

After the Tower of London we finished up seeing the major tourist attractions including Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. After that we went for a bite to eat at a pub, tried some local English beers, and went to see Billy Elliot.

Billy Elliot was great; although I wasn’t sure they were speaking English sometimes.  The performances were great and the production quality was amazing.  I’m not sure how they stored so many things under the stage; the stage is like a giant Rubik’s Cube!

The next morning Andrew left for Heathrow, uncertain how to even get there on the Underground, and Jen continued her site seeing in London for a couple of days.  After that Jen was off to visit her relatives in Leicestershire for another week.

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