Three Things to do in London

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
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Saturday, May 13, 2006

No visit to London would be complete without a visit to Parliament, Big Ben and of course the famous Westminster Abbey.

We started our day on an empty stomach intending to grab a smoothie from a juice bar near Parliament. Unfortunately we were duped yet again by this country. In Australia you can shop 7 days a week almost 24 hours a day if your heart desires whereas over here, in a country that is so forward in certain ways, it surprises us that they are backwards in the convenience area. In their credit they do have large(ish) supermarkets in certain areas and we are thankful to be able to walk out our front door and look left to a Tesco and right to a Sainsbury's, both within five minutes walk. However we have to remember to time it right. God help us if we feel like a midnight snack on the weekend. Saturdays they close at 8pm and Sundays they close at 4pm. Most supermarkets don't even open on Sundays. Ahhh we long for the convenience of 24hour, 7 days a week Coles, packed with Australian goodness like Vegemite, Tim Tams, BBQ Shapes and Burger Rings. It is important to mention that our Sainsbury's has no less than four huge isles of alcohol with a massive variety of drinks to quench ones thirst (so long as you plan your booze up in advance and buy it early!). It's a pity they don't have the variety of food that they do booze.

Anyway, so we were not surprised to find the juice bar closed at 10am on a Saturday, in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. We carried on regardless with our empty stomachs (the lack of food causing Megs to get a wild, twitchy look in her eye) and took in Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. They are both amazing and were definitely worth putting off breakfast for.

Just behind Parliament is Westminster Abbey but did you know the real name for this famous landmark is actually The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster. Doesn't quite have the same ring does it? The Abbey is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English monarchs. A walk through the Abbey takes you over thousands of crypts buried beneath the stone floors and they continue to discover new burial tombs to this day in the vast space. Buried there is Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Elizabeth I and some famous writes and poets such as Tennyson, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling to name a few.

Entering the Abbey's Pyx Chamber, Rick was unceremoniously bounced off a fat guy's gut into the wall. The guy wasn't paying attention to where he was going as his rather large wife was trying to subdue their rather large son. The little (big) kid was screaming for McDonalds and he wanted it right now. With all the Hollywood attention surrounding the Abbey based on its mention in Dan Brown's book, the Da Vinci Code, we figured there might be a possibility that maybe they will get their wish for a McDonalds or a Starbucks within the Abbey's confines. If the Forbidden City in Beijing can have its own Starbucks why can't the clergy and staff of the Abbey have the convenience of fast food? Think of all the new and varied Happy Meal toys you could get.

After our Abbey experience we then traversed the city to Regents Park and wandered the grounds which were freshly planted with flowers for the spring. From there we walked along the Regents Canal waterways to Camden Locks and market. Camden Market was originally a craft market in the 70's which has morphed into a colourful display of stalls spread over six different areas of Camden. The huge range of goods varies from food to punk outfits and raver gear, books, tattoos and all kinds of craft. Anything you want you can get it in Camden. Walking back to the Tube station we left Camden to the continual directed questions of "Skank?", "You want hash?", "Smoke?". Ahh Camden...
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