Monday, May 23, 2011

London Baby!

May seems to be a busy travelling month for me again this year.   Although my new years resolution was to save money, I seem to be spending lots of it on going on vacations.   But luckily I have been spending less money on things.  I just love experiences and don't mind spending money on them.   That being said I've picked up some extra shifts at the hospital to pay off my "experiences."

So onto the latest vacation... London Baby!  Alexis has never been to Europe and has been wanting to her whole life.  She has really been wanting to go to Paris, so in planning we found it cheaper to fly to London and take the chunnel to Paris and that way we got to see a different city as well.   We fly Air Transat into London, if never taken a direct flight from Calgary to Europe and it was a long 9 hours.  I did take a benadryl to try and help me sleep, but only one and it wasn't enough.  The other cool part about the flight was that we flew over the top of the world, so I got to see Greenland too. 

Arriving in London was a bit of an adventure, once Alexis and I collected our bags we went to the washroom to freshen up and then I checked to make sure I had everything before we left.  I couldn't find my passport.  Luckily both Alexis and and I are pretty cool under pressure, so we checked my bags and double checked my bags.  I did have a photocopy of the passport with me, so I knew if worse came to worse and it was stolen I could go to the Canadian Embassy with my photocopy and they could issue me a new one.  But we also knew if it was lost it must be somewhere in that airport.   So we left the baggage area and went to the lost and found.  They told me nothing had been turned in, and if something was going to be it would be in the next little while.  So we sat and waited.  While waiting we checked with someone else who worked at the airport and they told us to ask at information.   So we grabbed our backpacks and walked around to information and asked there.  YEAH!!  They did have it.   So once we got that we figured out how to get into London from the Gatwick airport. 

We took the train to London Bridge station, which became our main station.  We stayed at the Southwark All Season Hotel.  It was quite good.   They had a included breakfast every morning, which was delicious and free wifi.  Also the beds were very comfortable.   That first day they let us leave our bags there till we were ready for our room.


While we were waiting we decided to walk up to St. Paul's Cathedral.  I don't know why, but it seems to be whenever, I'm exhausted from a long plane ride I'm drawn to churches where I need to walk hundreds of stairs.  (last time Darryl and I went to Europe, our first day after getting off the plane we went to Notre Dame and walked up all those stairs to the top.)   St. Paul's is a really beautiful church, we did get the audioguide, which was an ipod, and learned about the Nave and the dome and the choir and the Quire and the high alter.  But the very coolest part of St. Paul is the 257 feet up in the whispering gallery.  If you climb up to the dome one person can stand on one side and the other person cans stand 100 feet away and you can whisper against the wall and the other person can hear you.   It's super cool.  We did walk to the top and take some picture of London from up high. 
St. Paul's while walking on Millennium Bridge


After that we went to our first show in London, we didn't have anything booked but needed something energetic to keep us up.  So we went to Thriller a show/concert with all Micheal Jackson songs.   A couple of other observations from that first day.   Everyone in Europe dresses really well.  When we were at the airport in Calgary, every third person has Yoga pants on.  In Europe I didn't see even one person wearing yoga pants.   And you could tell all the toursists with there nike or new balance or some other brand of white running shoes.   Another observation, London is expensive and doesn't have the best food. 

The second day we took the tube up to Nottinghill and went to Portobello Road market.  It was fun with lots of antiques, food and clothes.  It was fun to walk around and see everything.






After Nottinghill went went to the "old navy" of London called Primark.  It is a good and inexpensive clothes.  It was SO busy as well.  There were people trying things on in the ailses and things were a mess.  Neverless Alexis and I picked up some goods and headed for lunch.  There we met some nice Brits, who were talking to us about London and all the preparations for the Olympics next year.  There are lots of improvements being made to the city and I think they will do a great job with it next year. 

 

After that we headed back for a nap and to drop off our goods.    For dinner we went out for classic fish and chips.  Which were good, but burning hot.



That evening we went to see Lion King, which was fantastic.  The costumes are so incredible.


Day Three we headed over to the London tower.  It was great to learn about some of the history of London.  It's amazing how we use to treat each other as humans.  How beheading people was a normal part of life and it use to be entertainment for people.   We got to London Tower early (don't always believe those guide books), so we also walked around looking at Tower Bridge (not London bridge as some would believe)



After that we got on one of those buses that drove us around and show us the sights and taught us all about London.  It's amazing how so much of those experiences are based on your guide and driver.  We had one guide that was great, I could have spent all day listening to her.  But then another time we had a driver that was horrible and made us want to vomit. =)  On the bus we saw....

Big Ben

The London Eye

Westminster Abbey



Beautiful Buildings

Us on the Bus





Tower Bridge
 The last day we returned some stuff to Primark.  We went at 8:30 and it was quiet, but by 9am it was really busy again.  Then we went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard (which was not very good, especially for all the people there.)

Then to the Tate Modern, which is full of Modern Art.

To end off our trip we went to see Wicked.  It was amazing.  The singing and the story was so so good.
All in all I did love London.  The people were nice, the city is clean the tube system is easy to follow and people speak English, even if sometimes I still don't understand it.  It also has all the history that I love about Europe too. 

Next we were off to Paris...

Till next time

Jenn

3 comments:

Lori said...

Oooo, that looks like fun! I can't wait to read about the next part of your trip. No rush though...it's hard to fit blogging in when you're working extra shifts...

Susan said...

great pics

Goofball said...

I love London too. Glad you enjoyed it. Never been in the Tower of London though. Do you recommend it? So far I've never bothered to pay the high entry price

Yes Europeans use running shoes to run...tourists walk around in the city with them :p. But i must admit I do wear sweat pants or yog pants at home, and then I do go out to run some errands. Must be the Canadian in me ;)