Saturday, August 3, 2013

UK Part II: London

I feel as thought I should post an addendum to the methodology I outlined in my last post.  What do you do when the address google gives you for the hotel is wrong?  Answer: Find Free WI-FI (in London, I recommend any of the train stations) and try to find the correct address.  I mention this because after about an hour wandering down Craven Road, and Craven Hill and some other Craven street in London as I searched for the Oxford hotel, I  returned to Paddington station to look up the Hotel's website only to discover that our hotel was actually on Craven Terrace.  No wonder Google maps got confused.  

Westminster from the Cloisters

I met my friends at the Oxford Hotel in London mid-day on Tuesday.  We had two day London Passes and and a day and a half to use them.  Needless to say, we flew around the city so fast it made me dizzy.  That wasn't the only thing in London making me dizzy (can anyone say spiral staircase in St. Paul's?).  On Tuesday afternoon we went to Westminster Abbey so that I could pay homage to the cosmati pavement and then to Kennsington Palace where voices whispered in the window seats of the innermost king's chamber.  After dinner in a pub and a brief rest in the hotel, we ventured out again to find Wafflemeister near the South Kennsington tube station for some delicious desert waffles.

Kennsington Palace - you might hear whispers

Armour collection in the Tower of London

Wednesday was jam-packed with sight-seeing.  We began at the overcrowded (and overrated - I guess it's just one of those things that everyone has to see once) Tower of London (pictured above and Left), grabbed a bite to eat on our way to St. Paul's whose dizzying spiral staircases to the galleries are enough to take anyone's breath away, and the views from the top will leave you breathless (pictured below). From St. Paul's we hopped on a bus to the British museum where I enjoyed the ambiance of the enlightenment exhibit in the "king's library" a room built to house a collection of books donated by King George the 4th.  We took a breather back at the hotel before heading out to race through the National Gallery, eat dinner and then go for a night of looking at the lights of The Houses of Parliament and Buckingham palace.

If it sounds dizzying it is because it was.  During my time in London, I visited Four train stations and countless underground stops, rode 4 buses (but no taxis), visited 10 of the major tourist attractions (decided I have no interest in seeing anything except the churches again),  found 1 delicious waffle shop and 2 mediocre pubs, and got a grand total of 10 hours of sleep over two nights.  Needless to say, we all slept a little on the 3 hour train trip from London to Penrith (North Lakes) on Thursday morning.

Next Stop: Lake District.

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