Hello, London! We meet again!
Going to London was a blast and being there with Jas was even more fun!
Taking the Euro train to get to London was a awesome. The country side of Paris is gorgeous, mostly farm land, but so pretty. Of course part of the ride included going through the Channel Tunnel which goes under the ocean for about 30 miles to make it across to the other side. I did get a little nervous as we approached the shoreline, as it turns out I had nothing to be worried about. Did you know that the English Channel is one of the 7 wonders of the world?
Once we arrived we headed right out to see the sights. Our first stop was Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. I think the architecture of Big Ben and the Houses are so cool, so old and detailed, and shockingly close to many of the types of structures we saw in Paris. What I didn’t realize until this trip, was many of the same engineers and architects that built France, also went to the UK and were reused.
Houses of Parliament
The River Thames flows directly behind it which I think makes it all the more amazing (especially as the sun is setting).
You can’t go to London and come home without a shot in a phone booth.
However, we are smiling but these booths were NASTY! Holy cow it smelled like Urine and I was dirty! There is no way that anyone would ever be able to go in that booth and use the phone with the door closed because you. would. die.
Whats really cool about these particular phone booths is that they are just around the corner from where I used to live when I traveled to London with the Covey family. It was so fun to revisit our old stomping grounds.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is SO MUCH FUN. The experience is enriched all because of the tour guides also known as the “Beefeaters”. They tell you all of the cool facts about the Towers history as well as keep the mood alive and as a bonus they have awesome jokes.
You might think that just “anyone” could become a tour guide at the Tower of London however that is not true. In order to work there you have to have served at least 22 years in the military service, have reached at least the position of Warrant Officer and been awarded a good conduct medal.
The E II R on the outfit stands for ”Elizabeth Regina” and Regina in Latin stands for “Queen”; so the whole thing means “Elizabeth the Queen”. When the Queen retires or dies then the next heir to the throne is Prince Charles and all the EIIR symbols throughout the whole country will change. That is just crazy to think because the symbol is everywhere.
This is the castle of the Crown Jewels. All the jewels of the royal family are still kept at the Tower of London which is still guarded day and night, which is why such high ranked military are the beefeaters to protect the Tower.
You gotta love these guys! I seriously don’t know how they keep a straight face, never scratch a thing, and are ALWAYS looking straight ahead (and they will never laugh no matter how hard you try). As it turns out the little black house that is behind them serves many good purposes such as shade for seriously hot days and protection from the rain when there is a down pour. Regardless of the weather the guarding must go on…. I would hate that job!
This is Jas at the White Chapel of Armory at the Tower of London. On the very top level there is a working chapel where all the Beefeaters can worship (the major religion being Christian). The other levels are where the armory is kept.
The picture below is the armor of King Henry VIII. His armor was HUGE! He was 6ft 1 with a waist size of 52in and chest of 53in… lets just say he was a BIG guy in more ways then one.
This was inside the Chapel on the top floor. In order to take a picture we had to sit through a 30 minute history lesson. Which was ok because we got to just hangout and it was actually really pretty.
This is one of my favorite stories of at the Tower. This is a toilet – they didn’t really use out-houses at the Tower instead they had these little rooms. The picture below is the chute that all the crap comes out of and it drops directly into the moat.
Chute for crap
This is where the story comes in….
So historically a moat is put into place and filled with water to provide a defense line around the castle, which can be a great idea, unless you are Henry the III and have the moat dug to deep. Which was exactlly the case for this moat.
Why would that be a problem you ask? Because when the moat is dug to deep, the water can’t be all flushed making it impossible to flush out the crap, so it all sinks to the bottom and then starts to SMELL! Gross! This moat provided a defense line in more ways then one! :)
The Babes hanging out having lunch at the Tower.
Of course your not in London if it doesn’t rain…
The Tower Bridge
He’s the most handsome person I know!
Buckingham Palace: The changing of the guards
We went to the changing of the guards and thought it was so fun, but we didn’t get to see everything as good as we wanted to so instead of being disappointed we devised a plan. We picked out the best places to stand in order to see the parade and the changing of the guards inside the gates and decided to come back the next morning….
Our master plan did NOT work because it was pouring buckets of RAIN. Of course…. and the best part is in that kind of rain that don’t have the changing of the guards. This was the only time I wished I had a little black house to stand in. I was a little jealous of the guards….
Heaviest rain storm I have ever seen… and it came without warning…
YOU SNEEKY RAIN!
Jas in front of Westminster Abby!
It was fun to be there since there had been so much recent coverage of the marriage of Kate Middleton and Price William’s wedding, not only that but for its sheer history in London. From the outside it looks very, very similar to Notre Dame…almost exact.
Jason pondering the meaning of life inside Westminster.
This saying was in the stone as you leave the building and I really liked it:
May God grant to the Living Grace,
To the Departed Rest,
To the Church of the World Peace and Concord,
And to us Sinner Eternal Life.
The London Eye
He loved it. I hated it.
Views from the top!
This is the first time I stood up the whole ride. I was seriously so scared. I don’t know what has happened to me but in my old age I have really grown to HATE heights. Something about standing in an almost completely glass capsule 5 million feet above the ground makes me nervous… I know call me crazy.
and we’ve never seen it in the states.
Speaking of Tasty… Cotto was AMAZING!
This restaurant was 100% Gluten Free and was Italian. What?!
This was a breath of fresh air for us since we had such a hard time finding GF stuff for Jas in Paris. After eating the food and loving I had to talk to the owner and find out why he offers so many GF options on his menu. He said that 22 years ago he found out that he had Celiacs Disease and being in an italian family, and owning an italian restaurant he had to find a new way to cook without using wheat flour. So he started coming up with his own recipes and now he offers as many GF options on his menu as regular. It was such a treat!
Thai Square: Best Thai Food Ever!
Thanks for the recommendation Pam and David!
Inside the restaurant
We got here in the nick of time…
Did you know most European restaurants will open at like 11am for lunch and will close again at 2pm until dinner?
Bring on the double deckers.
I’m pretty sure these are the only type of buses Jason can get me to ride in.
We thought, what the heck lets go see a broadway! Jersey Boys was great!
Outside the British Museum
The egyptian exhibit is a must see!
I was singing “Walk like an Egyptian” the whole time!
YOU SNEEKY BABE!
The Rosetta Stone
Q: What is the Rosetta Stone?
A: The Rosetta Stone is a stone with writing on it in two languages (Egyptian and Greek), using three scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek).
Q: Why is it in three different scripts?
A: The Rosetta Stone is written in three scripts because when it was written, there were three scripts being used in Egypt.
The first was hieroglyphic which was the script used for important or religious documents.
The second was demotic which was the common script of Egypt.
The third was Greek which was the language of the rulers of Egypt at that time.
The Rosetta Stone was written in all three scripts so that the priests, government officials and rulers of Egypt could read what it said.
Q: When was the Rosetta Stone made?
A: The Rosetta Stone was carved in 196 B.C. – That was a LONG time ago and this thing is still intact.
The Underground – AKA the Subway
I am proud to say that we only rode in a taxi from the airport to our hotel and from the hotel back to the airport. The rest of the time we took the underground or rode on the bus. Man we are rock stars! Thanks NYC for teaching me that public transportation is doable in big cities.
The London Heathrow airport is the WORST airport I have ever been in… but I thought this was funny. Do we really need a sign that as explosives as a Forbidden item – for real? I thought some things just went unsaid.
Once we finally boarded the plane and took off we were happy to be getting back to America. Our flight path back home was London to Paris, Paris to SLC. Total time flying home was about 16 hours, and don’t worry we were in the very last row of the plane, next to the bathrooms and for some reason we didn’t sleep a wink the whole flight home. Thank havens for the iPad!
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