England....July 11th - July 16th
The majority of our time in England was actually spent in London. While in London, we stayed at The Tune, which is a hotel that is affiliated with AirAsia. The hotel was super small, but in a wonderful location. I would totally recommend it for those of you who travel with very little luggage! :) During our time in England, we rode the tube, caught a show, walked a lot, saw TONS of sights, and also had time to meet up with friends. That's the short version of it. If you want the long version...keep reading and enjoy!
Day one included walking all over town after arriving into Heathrow at 7am. We dropped off our stuff as we weren't allowed to check in till later in the afternoon and spent the day strolling around town. First stop included breakfast at McDonalds (I know...I'm hanging my head in shame) while looking over the Thames River towards the London Eye, Parliament, and Big Ben. It was a beautiful day as the sun was out, which was rare during our time in London! We then strolled down Westminster Bridge pass Ben and along Whitehall (past a press conference near 10 Downing Street) towards Buckingham Palace. We got there just around the time that the Changing of the Guard was happening, which was perfect planning thanks to Matt! By the time that was done, it was well past lunch so we grabbed a sandwich and ate on the steps of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. From there it was time to check in and have a bit of a rest before finding some fish and chips for dinner.
Day two started early with a delicious English breakfast with REAL bacon and sausage...YUM! We then met up with some friends from Hong Kong, Katherine and Jennifer, over in front of Westminster Abbey. We toured the inside of the church, which I have no evidence of as I followed the no pictures rule. :) From there we went over to the Tower of London and were able to explore lots of sights including the Crown Jewels, 500 years worth of armor, and some nasty torture devices. Then we walked out and saw Tower Bridge, which is not the same as the London Bridge...sad, I know. For dinner, we happened upon this delicious Mexican place called Benito's Hat, which is very similar to Chipotle for those of you back in the States.
Day three was shopping day! This was actually a necessity as it was rather chilly and I was in desperate need of a sweater to wear. We shopped over on Regent Street, Oxford Street, and Covent Garden. I was a good girl and only bought one sweater. Impressed?? :) Later in the day we went and watched Wicked over at the Apollo Victoria Theater. I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it. After the show, we took a bus over to Soho where we met up with a high school friend of mine, Christiane, for some yummy Thai food. It had been well over 5 years since we last saw each other, so it was great to reconnect!
Day four included an all day tour that we signed up for that took us to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford. It was a lovely day albeit a bit hectic and quite long. This was a great tour for us because we got to see a lot in one day. The only downfall was that we felt like cattle being herded from place to place. We had just enough time to see everything quickly, but totally could have used more time to explore. Some highlights included: our tour guide who shushed people on the bus and threatened to move people to the back of the bus if they continued to talk while he was talking, seeing the Doll House in Windsor Castle, of course the Stones at Stonehenge, and checking out Christ Church in Oxford which is where a lot of scenes were filmed for Harry Potter. When we got back into town, we met up with my friend Kris again for one last meal together. She met up with us at a little Italian restaurant across the street from our hotel. It was hilarious as the owner kept chatting us up all evening and making totally inappropriate jokes about "drilling and gigging."
Day five was our last day in London and luckily we had time to enjoy one more delicious English breakfast before catching the train to Aylesbury, which is the town Matt lived in while he was working in England. Our first stop was his old school, Mandeville, where he was able to reconnect with a lot of old colleagues. Then we went to town and strolled around his old "hood" before meeting up with friends at the local pub. It was a fun night and a great chance to see another side of Matty! :)
The next day we left early and got on a plane for Holland...but that's for another blog. In the meantime, enjoy the some of the pictures!
Parliament and Big Ben
Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace
Obligatory tourist pose!
Impressive stain glass!