June 7, 2009:
Our first full day in London we headed out on foot to tour the sites. We took the tube to Westminster Abbey, which we were both very impressed by! If you’re going to be in London for at least a few days it’s worth buying an Oyster Card, so you’ll get a discounted price on the tube and you don’t have to bother with buying a ticket each time. You can return the card once you’re done with it to get the deposit and balance back.
After we took some photos it started to rain and we had to find shelter under the trees. We checked a couple stores for an umbrella, but we weren’t about to spend US $20-30 on a little umbrella, so we just waited a while and the rain subsided. From Westminster Abbey we crossed the Westminster Bridge and walked along The River Walk. There were signs every so often showing the locations of the touristy points of interest.
We thought about riding on the London Eye, but it’s expensive and we’ve heard it moves really slowly (30 minutes for one revolution?). So we just took some photos. After walking a ways down the river we crossed the river on a pedestrian bridge to see St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Then we wandered away from the river to find the egg-shaped sky scraper at 30 St. Mary’s Axe. George had seen a TV show about constructing the building, so he was interested in seeing it. It is quite beautiful, especially the reflections on the glass panels.
By the time we had made our way back to the river we had over-shot the London Bridge and ended up at the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. I like the blue paint on the Tower Bridge!
While the Tower Bridge looks as old as many of the historic buildings in the area it only dates back from the late 1800s. From the Tower Bridge we walked back towards our starting point, to find the London Bridge.
Really, that’s it? I always pictured the London Bridge to be a bit more spectacular.
After the River Walk we took the tube to Sloane Square Station and walked to the famous Harrods department store where we browsed for a while. Then, instead of taking the tube, we walked back towards our hotel through some nice quaint little neighborhoods. While walking through the neighborhoods we realized that London is Mini Cooper land! Everywhere we looked we saw Minis! When we reached the North Kensington area we had dinner at a fish and chips restaurant and, as expected, the food was horrible. Oh well, we had to try it!