First time in London

Trip Start Sep 05, 2008
Trip End Jan 01, 2009

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, September 8, 2008

This morning Anne broke out the Canadian maple syrup for my pancakes, which was a very nice treat. Then I squashed my belongings back into my little bag and we headed for the train station. I got on a train to London and Anne drove my bags over to Auntie Ali's house. I was on my own in the big city today and spent a lot of time being lost. 

I got into the city easy enough and headed straight for Buckingham Palace. It wasn't far from Victoria station, where m train arrived. From the second I walked out of the train station I had a smile on my face. I was so excited to be in London, finally! And with sun in the sky to boot!

The palace was pretty cool but I left before the changing of the guard because I didn't want to hang around for another 40 minutes. Instead I walked through St. James Park.

The park took me past Whitehall and from there I could see small glimpses of Westminster Abbey, so I headed in that direction. The abbey is beautiful, inside and out. There are numerous tombs and memorials inside the cathedral which was actually a bit overwhelming. I decided to get an audio guide which was a really good decision and they were free (after paying the 12 admission). The audio guide took me on a walk through the entire abbey and into the cloisters, the only part where I could take photos. The cathedral was amazing though and there were some beautiful tombs inside some of the chapels.

I eventually left Westminster Abbey and headed towards Westminster Bridge. From there I got a great view of Big Ben. The footpath across the bridge was closed, so I had to walk further down along the Thames to cross, then backtrack along the opposite bank towards the London Eye.

The Eye gives great views of London so it was a good stop and gave my feet a bit of a rest. After the ride, I kept on walking along the Thames until I got to where the Winchester ruins were supposed to be. I found Southwark Cathedral, which I had noted was right beside the ruins. I walked around the entire cathedral (incidentally, the oldest church in London) and didn't see the ruins so obviously my notes were wrong. I gave up looking for them and continued on my way, which is exactly how I ended up finding them. Unfortunately they were well hidden behind construction boards and scaffolding so I didn't really get to see them anyway. I then went in search of the Old Operating Theatre. After passing it once I turned around and went back and found it hidden behind more construction scaffolding. It was really cool! There is so much information in there, I could have spent hours reading and observing it all. The operating theatre was built above a church which they were restoring at the time I visited, but the sound didn't travel up too much. The girl at admissions told me they had just finished renovating the operating theatre and it had been closed for five weeks, so I had good timing.

Once I had taken in most of the museum, I went to the operating theatre. It was interesting but the other museum artifacts were probably more fascinating. Though imagining the doctor operating in coats covered in blood and pus, assisted by nurses with similar clothing, nobody sterilizing themselves or the patient, makes the theatre that much more intriguing.

I came out looking for the Imperial War Museum but once again found myself walking in circles. I felt like that is how I had been spending most of my time since leaving the Eye and decided it was time for a Starbucks break. That rejuvenated me enough to continue my walking. I forgot about the museum I was so focused on before my little break, and instead walked right over the Tower Bridge before it crossed my mind again. Now I was on the wrong side of the bridge for it so I decided to scratch it off the to-do list and headed to St. Paul's Cathedral. I had been waiting for this all day so I was kind of disappointed when I got there. Not by the cathedral itself; it is absolutely breathtaking when you walk inside. But I was there too late to even take an audio tour and the admission was fairly high. I decided to just walk around the free parts, which actually allowed me marvel at the stunning beauty and awesome size of the cathedral anyway.

After milking that, I called Auntie Ali and headed out to her place where I am now. Her and my cousin Ben picked me up at their local train station and we came back here where she made me a delicious dinner and now we are just relaxing with wine and movies while I try to get up-to-date on this blog! Unfortunately I am having some issues uploading photos here so you will have to wait a bit longer for those.

I hope to hear from you all soon!
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