Monday, January 26, 2009

London: Day Four

Unfortunately for me, I did not see everything I wanted on day four, because I was oblivious to something I should have been guarding very carefully: My Health. See, you can't find drinking fountains in London, and I didn't think ahead --I kept forgetting to bring water! So until lunchtime, I didn't have access to liquids, and therefore, my joints starting hurting, my back started hurting...and being pregnant...? Well, you get the picture. But I still managed to have a good a time, so here's what I did:
Brandon was working again, so I headed out on my own. I went to the Westminster stop, and got some good up-close pictures of the Houses of Parliament and nearby (it was the other side --not the same angle as Day Two's):

My next stop was Westminster Abbey.
Holy. Cow.
That place was incredible. Simply unreal! I walked in and I couldn't stop gaping at everything. I could hardly move! Finally, a nice man approached me and asked if I wanted to do the audio tour (best thing I ever did, peeps). I relished every moment I spent in that place. For those of you unaware, Westminster Abbey is where the monarchs are coronated (I saw the throne that all the kings/queens have been coronated in since King Edward --we're talking the year 1308, people!), and where several of them were married (Prince Charles and Diana were married in St. Paul's --perhaps they could have stood a chance if they were married in Westminster...? Maybe...? Yeah, probably not).
Anyway, the place is just amazing. I think the most humbling part for me was seeing the grave (as in, the entombed casket where her body lay) of Elizabeth I. Man, alive! They also had what they dubbed as Poet's Corner, where several poets and authors are buried. Go to the wiki site and read about who else is buried there. It's so cool!
I was blown away by the enormity of the place and the richness of history. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures inside, so the outside ones will have to do:

After Westminster (and a few more shots of Big Ben:
I decided to find lunch. I walked down to the river and walked towards the Embankment underground station. I decided to just grab what was familiar, and that happened to be Quizno's. After lunch, I then took the long way to Trafalgar Square (walked up Villiers Street and then turned west on Strand to get there, instead of going up Northumberland). I decided to see the National Gallery, and if I had time, I'd go on up and see the British Museum. Both of these museums are free of charge, and I figured they were worth seeing! But by the time I got through the entire gallery (originals of Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt, etc.), I was worn out. Completely and thoroughly wiped. My whole body ached and I was exhausted. So, I took some good pictures of Trafalgar Square and the outside of the Gallery, and then took the tube to the hotel. Here are the pictures:

I was in bed by 3PM, and I took a 3 hour nap! I needed it, plus all the water I drank. So, this is the first thing you should know about London: You will walk. A lot. Drink your water! Especially if you are with child. Sheesh!
Later that night, Brandon and I went to the most adorable little French restaurant. The food was fabulous, and the dinner was wonderful. By this time, I noticed a few things about eating out in London:
1. Waiters/waitresses are not always kind, but they do their job.
2. You have to actually ASK for the bill. They won't bring it to you until you do.
3. If you want refills on water (even tap water), you have to ask.
4. They will never give you the stink-eye for sitting in the restaurant for four hours. This is how it's done! You eat, and some yourself --and you do this for however long you need to.
5. Like I mentioned in Day Two, all the restaurants are small and enclosed. You are very close to other tables around you...

...which brings me to another few observations about London:
1. Everyone is squished together --tightly packed in trains, tightly packed in grocery stores, tightly packed in restaurants, tightly packed on the streets, etc.
2. Even though everyone is tightly packed, they ignore each other. Completely ignore each other! It is easy to have a conversation with your dinner-mates without anyone being annoyed or trying to eavesdrop. Why? No one cares! They all just do their own thing, but they do it all squished together. Cool, eh? I imagine NYC is like this? But I've never been to NYC, so I can't make an honest comparison.

Man, I love London!


Annette Lyon said...

I wanna go even worse now! That audio tour sounds like something I would totally drink in.

Julie said...

Westminster Abbey -- I want to go there so badly.

I love the idea of being able to chat for 4 hours at a restaurant. We have a certain couple we go to dinner with that we love to sit and gab with forever -- but the waiters always ALWAYS give us the stink eye. ALWAYS. I think I shall have to dine out in London.

And I promise not to forget my water.

Julie said...

PS, how do you do your mosaics?