London, our third and final visit?

Trip Start Aug 02, 2012
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Trip End Aug 02, 2013


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our flight landed on time and we headed through customs in the UK once again. Our passports already have lots of UK stamps and will acquire a few more before the end of the trip! We caught the EasyBus back in to London and then the metro to Paddington. Our hotel was a short walk from there and we gladly checked in and dropped our bags. We headed off to bed since it had been a long day and we hadn't slept much on the flight.

The next day Anoop woke up early and headed down for an early breaky while I slept on for a bit longer. The buffet was quite good and there was lots of selection including croissants, toast, hard boiled eggs, cheese, sliced meats, yoghurt, fruit, and cereal. He pigged out and then headed back up to the room to see if I was awake yet. I was, so after we got ready we headed back downstairs. I had my breaky and Anoop had his second breaky. We left feeling rather stuffed and glad that we were going to be walking around for the morning.

We arrived at the Tower of London to visit the sights. This was the one sight that we really did want to see on this trip and hadn’t gotten around to seeing on our previous visits. It was a clear day which was perfect since most of the sights are outside. We wandered around for a bit before heading back to the meeting point for the Beefeater tour. We were led around the area and given the history of the Tower which was quite interesting. Our tour guide was funny and cracked all sorts of jokes along the way (and they were actually funny). We finished up in the church which was quite nicely decorated for Christmas. We then visited the other sights on our own. We saw the crown jewels which were quite impressive. We also visited several of the towers, some of which had been used as prisons at various points in time. We saw a neat collection of armour and other assorted weaponry which had been stored there in case of war. We also walked along the ramparts which had great views all around.

Afterwards we headed over to Trafalgar square which had been decorated for Christmas. It wasn’t as neat as Covent Garden, but worth a quick stop nonetheless. We headed over to Victoria station and in to a pub nearby that had good reviews. We walked in to the bar portion which was just packed with people, but luckily the restaurant downstairs wasn’t nearly as busy. We had half a roast chicken with fries and coleslaw. It was the best roast chicken I have ever eaten in a restaurant!

We then walked over to the Apollo Victoria theatre to watch Wicked. We hadn’t seen it when it came to Vancouver and hadn’t heard great things about it there. However a few of our friends told us that we really should see it in London since they loved it. We decided to see for ourselves and were glad we had. We sat in the last row, but again, because the theatres are quite high, rather than deep, we had a great view over everyone’s heads to the stage below. The performance was great and we really enjoyed seeing how they incorporate "the Wizard of Oz" into the show. Anoop was feeling a bit sleepy with jet lag and because it must have been 25+ degrees up top, he dozed off in a couple of parts - I just keep prodding him awake. We both quite enjoyed it and were glad we had seen something new to us.

The next day we set off for Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard. It hadn’t been a top priority since we figured they would be changing the guard for the foreseeable future, but it wasn’t raining so we thought we should take advantage of the weather. We found a spot near the statue in the middle with great views all around. We couldn’t see the actual changing of the guard, but we could see them all marching in and out again which seemed more interesting anyhow. It was great to see them all parading in and I was glad we had gone. We might even have seen the queen in the background through the palace gates – or at least another rather short lady with a huge entourage heading out somewhere…

We were feeling rather cold after having stood around outside for so long (especially after the difference in temperature between Bangalore and London!) and decided we should see about tea somewhere. We just wanted to have a cup of tea, a scone and some clotted cream which seemed like the thing to do while we were in England. We started to wander and lo and behold, across the street was a cute looking shop that had “tea for 2” advertised. We got a whole pot of tea and a lovely scone, strawberry jam and clotted cream to enjoy with it. We relaxed and enjoyed our tea for quite a while. The shop was really cute and had a teapot Christmas tree as decoration.

We then headed over to the Lyceum theatre which was showing the Lion King. We had heard good things about it, but weren’t sure what to expect. The costumes were unbelievable – we absolutely loved how they did all the animals. It is impossible to describe the costumes, but they were so well done. The actors who were portraying the animals did such a great job of moving like you would expect them to so it was very convincing. The sets were great and of course the songs were tons of fun. The performance was wonderful and we enjoyed every moment of it!
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