London in a day

Trip Start Apr 02, 2012
Trip End Jun 04, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hilton Olympia

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It’s Tuesday in London, and what a Tuesday it was. We covered as much ground in one day as anybody could expect to cover, even with a rather late start. We began our epic day of sightseeing at Green Park, where we stopped to have a quick picnic (we had picked up salads at Marks & Spencers, d-lish and a deal). We walked over to Buckingham Palace where the raised flag confirmed that the Queen was in. I think the further away from the palace you are, the easier it is to take in it’s grandiosity. Surrounding the palace in every direction were perfectly manicured beds of colorful flowers. We headed away from the palace towards St. James palace, which is where “the boys” live, which is how everybody here seems to affectionately refer to Princes William and Harry. The raised flag there would indicate that one or both of them were in, as well. We were just in time to watch the changing of the guards, which is quite the process. The tall black furry caps are as amusing and perplexing in person as I expected. The special force (what would they be called in the UK?), were unexpectedly young and attractive in their Euro fitting suits. We then headed down Horse Guard Road towards 10 Downing Street, which is where the Prime Minister hangs his cap. You can’t see much, but the guards were rather chatty and I enjoyed eavesdropping on all they had to say. We kept walking and after a couple more blocks, the street opened up onto Big Ben, the houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. All very beautiful buildings that were set nicely against the blue skies. We listened to Big Ben toll and walked half way across the Westminster Bridge for a view of the city from the choppy river Thames. We hopped the tube to Covent Garden, which is an old open air, indoor market with tons of cute shops, Opera Singers in the open areas, etc etc... very charming. We stopped for a coffee and some soup before heading back towards Picadilly Circus for a casual stroll up Regent St. The weather started to turn a bit and seeing as how we found ourselves near the British Museum, we decided to take refuge there. I had heard amazing things about the museum, but with such little time in London, hadn’t prioritized seeing it. It was as if the brief stint of rain was God’s way of telling me I couldn’t miss it! As soon as we were inside, the skies cleared up but we had already seen enough to know we weren’t going anywhere for a while. I’ve never seen such a beautiful museum with such a vast collection of ancient relics. We saw the Rosetta Stone, mummies from thousands of years ago, we cozied up to an Egyptian lion that dated 2400B.C., saw the most famous chess set in the world, and leaned on a glass case reading the first rules ever to a game board (an ancient game and board that was uncovered from Ur... Ur). There was so much to see with such little time, but one thing is for sure - this will be my top priority on my next trip to London. We ended our day in Marylebone, which was more of a local neighborhood away from the other tourists. It was the perfect way to end our day. We had a delicious meal at Prince Regents Pub and casually made our way back to the hotel around 11pm. Somehow we managed to get a second wind and gave ourselves manicures at midnight while watching British TV and finishing off our terrible wine from the night before... 

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