Today, I am sharing the last set of pictures from our trip ~ highlights from London! When we arrived in London, the first thing that I spotted was lots of hats. You may laugh, but this was not something I expected to see ~ I thought the hats were reserved only for very special occasions.
And don’t forgot the gentlemen. . .they were in their tails. (Downtown Abbey, anyone?)
When we arrived at our hotel, having just gotten off the train, we were in our most casual digs. The lobby was packed with people sporting their hats and tails. And in my fleece jacket and skinny jeans, I felt rather out of place. I started to worry that I might be a little underdressed the entire time we were in London, but we were then told that the Queen was having a garden party (phew!) and all of the people in the lobby were preparing to head over there. Just look at all of the people waiting in line to go into Buckingham Palace.
Next to Buckingham Palace, we walked through St. James Gardens and spotted a mama sheparding her babies. I couldn’t resist.
We made it to Westminster Abbey and Big Ben right when it started to look pretty gloomy out. Westminster Abbey is where Kate and William got married. I vividly remember watching their wedding on TV while working out at the gym since it was very early morning here. And I also remember feeling super silly when I teared up a bit as she walked down the aisle. You don’t see too many people crying in front of the TV on the treadmill, but thankfully no one seemed to notice.
We are still trying to figure this one out. One of the best street performers I’ve seen ~ how is he (or she) standing up?
OK – definitely kind of cheesy but I guess slightly obligatory?
The next day we started off at the Tower of London. It is pretty mind-blowing how old this place is (construction started close to 1070). The highlight (which of course you can’t take any pictures of) is the Crown Jewels. Now, I assumed that these were all items that never get used. However, while we were there, the Queen’s everyday crown was not on display because it was “in use”. In case you are curious, this video shows the coronation of the Queen in 1953 and many of these items are on display in the Tower. The video is worth watching if only to realize how long Elizabeth II has been Queen!
The contrast of the old and the new in London is one thing that makes it so interesting architecturally. In the distance you can see the skyscraper that houses the new Shangri-La Hotel.
I’m not sure how they got anywhere quickly in battle wearing that armour. And for some reason, I got a kick out of the juxtaposition of hashtags inside a thousand-plus year old building. Oh and I feel sorry for whomever was responsible for carrying that book!
That afternoon we went to an area of town to walk around called Shoreditch in East London and walked through Spitalfields, an outdoor mall. We grabbed lunch at The Real Greek, which was pretty much my dream lunch. Think creamy, pureed hummus with crisp crudités and warm pita along with marinated, sizzling chicken skewers. There, we also found T2, an Australian tea company that makes Teavana’s tea selection look small. Of course, we loaded up on tea (varieties of black tea for me and green tea for my husband).
One of my favorite parts about being in a new place is just exploring, people-watching and seeing what is hiding around the next corner. In this case, that happened to be a bike store/espresso shop ~ which I found to be a pretty unique combination. Who wouldn’t want to purchase a twelve speed and a half caff vanilla latte at the same time?
The next day we took a bus tour to Windsor Castle, Bath and Stonehenge. It was a long day, but doing it in one fell swoop was an efficient way to see everything.
When the British flag is flying, it means that the Queen is not there. (It is only her weekend home, after all). I highly recommend a visit to Windsor. The best part (which I couldn’t take any pictures of) is walking through the State Apartments, where you can see the crazy decadent interiors of the Castle.
Stonehenge is a group of towering rocks that were arranged in a circle sometime close to 2500 BC. No one knows exactly when or how they arrived, but researchers believed that the stones were put there by prehistoric people perhaps as some type of monument. We were told that it may have taken up to 100 people to move a single stone. Just the fact that humans put this together is pretty amazing.
The next day was our final day in London and we had about 230498572394857 things that we wanted to see. We managed to make a plan of sorts and started the day off with the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. I must admit that I thought this was going to be a pretty minor thing (maybe the guards just switch places?) and I questioned why this needed to be at the top of the “must see” list. But check out the fanfare.
Now, if you visit this blog for pictures of food, you’ll be happy to see these next pictures from Harrods. I have never seen anything like this in my life. Let’s just say I hope you have a snack nearby, because it will be difficult to scroll through these pictures without feeling hungry. Apologies in advance for the glare on some of the photos.
The level of exquisite detail put into crafting these desserts is just incredible. Did you see that little drop of water on the rose petal? My husband and I actually got lost from each other inside the food halls for about 30 minutes. Oh and if you are interested in sitting down and having a bite, they have lots of little mini restaurants too, from around the world. (And I haven’t even mentioned the floors upon floors of clothing to gawk at).
Two other highlights from our last day include checking out the Soho neighborhood, where we came across a really cool food truck/food station area on Berwick Street and finally Notting Hill, where there were a number of gorgeous homes and of course the cute little bookstore from the movie.
If you headed to London sometime soon, I’m happy to give more details about what we did, where we ate and all that jazz. I’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming (i.e. food!) later this week.