London April 2011 part 2

Its now Sunday, day 2 of our extended weekend trip to London.  One thing we all wanted to see was the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.  The Changing was scheduled for 11:30am.  Buuuuut, us getting home so late, and just being on vacation, we wake up late.  We probably could have made it, but throughout the morning, Jamie yells at both of us as our alarms are going off to turn them off.  Who am I to argue for a few more minutes of snoozin?……I knew better than to listen.  But the idea sounded sooooooooo good at the time.  Oops.  But all wasn’t lost.  We power walk over to the Palace and get there at 11:45a, but still just in time to see the entire thing, mini parade and all!

Tulips in St. James Park as we powerwalk to Buckingham Palace

Here they come!

And there they go!

Military Band leading the procession to the Wellington Barracks.

One of the gates to Buckingham Palace

As the Band was marching off, they started with a super super slow silent march (seemed like the tempo was around 50bpm.  Amazing with no given tempo or cadence) that looked pristine.  Then all of a sudden it was a normal tempo march, and they started playing.

For the best view of the band leaving, (if facing the Palace) stand on the left side of the Queen Victoria Memorial.

Now, I remind you this is a quick trip, added on last minute due to a great fare that Delta had (~$350 roundtrip from JFK.  Though after all was said and done, we got it for ~$420 with a day trip to Amsterdam).  The next several sights we just taken in front of the sight, didn’t actually go in.  We wanted to see everything and so I don’t have as much info as I’d like on these sights.  Guess I’ll just have to go back.  🙂

Inside Westminster Cathedral

View from the top of the Westminster Cathedral Bell Tower

Better view from the top of the Westminster Cathedral Bell Tower

Westminster Abbey

Big Ben & some of the Houses of Parliament

London Eye and the old County Hall building

Trafalgar Square

The Tower of London and Tower Bridge

In addition to these sights, we also:

  • walked by the Admiralty Arch, which is between Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square (though closer to the Square)
  • walked along the Southern bank and passed by Royal Festival Hall
  • a cool skate park built semi-underground along the South bank
  • the South Bank Book Market
  • the New Globe Theater
  • Borough Market (though it was already closed when we got there)
  • walked past London Dungeon

If you want to see ALL the pictures I’ve taken which include most of these, check out my GetGowing Facebook fan page.  And it would be greatly appreciated if you also Liked it, too.

Get Gowing Facebook Fan Page

At this point, we’re all pretty beat.  We probably walked a good 4-5 miles that day, and the day wasn’t over yet.  We grab our luggage from the Courthouse Doubletree and then go check in at the Hilton London Paddington Station.  (See my Priceline entry on how I got this hotel for 60% off).  We lucked out getting this hotel (since through Priceline you don’t know the exact hotel you’re bidding on) since we needed to catch the Heathrow Express train from Paddington Station, which the hotel was connected to.

I was meeting up with a friend I went to college with, so we split up for the rest of the evening.  They went to check out Abbey Road Studios, and I went to go get some fantastic Indian food.  It was an adventure in of itself just trying to contact my friend to so we can meet up and get some food.  Read about it in my Quick Review of the Hilton London Paddington Station hotel and the adventure trying to make a phone call.

I finally get in touch with my friend, and we meet up for some of the best Indian food London has to offer on Brick Lane.  Apparently this street is the place to go for curry.  There are just tons of restaurants that line the street.  And outside several of them, there would be a hawker at the door beckoning you to come inside.

“Best curry in London!”

“Best curry in the world, come get some!”

they would shout out.  They were more aggressive than the people trying to sell porn/prostitutes/club tickets on the Strip in Vegas.

Brick Lane

After the meal, we get carried away just catching up, talking about the “games” and travel that I talk about on this blog, that I miss the last tube.  So how did I get home??  Double-decker bus of course!

I grabbed a seat upstairs in the front row to see all the action.

I get back and finally go to bed around 2:30-3:00am, only to wake up at 7am to be on my way to Amsterdam!

When I revisit London, here is my list of things to do:

  • go inside Westminster Abbey
  • take a ride up the London Eye
  • shop & eat at the Borough Market
  • visit the Tower of London
  • eat more Brick Lane curry
  • listen to one of the London Orchestras
  • listen to a British brass band
  • take a ride in one of the black taxis
  • take a day trip to Stonehenge

I know I have more, I just can’t think of any at the moment.  There are also greatly reviewed FREE tours that you can take that is similar to our drive-by style sightseeing day of London run by SANDEMANs tours.  They have free walking tours of many European cities, as well as paid tours of other sights, ghost tours, bar crawls, etc…..Check them out the next time you visit Europe.

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