Parliament & Big Ben from the London Eye
Breakfast was at 7:45 this morning. Today we were slated for a driving tour of London
and then given the rest of the day to explore the city. We boarded the bus and were carted around and saw the major sights such as Tower of London, Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, etc. Michael gave us the option of being dropped off at Westminster Abbey or going back to the hotel. Many of us actually went back to the hotel so we could visit the nearby Contiki Basement to pick up cheap tickets. Dorne, Steve, Nora, Jennifer, Adam, Gary, Francis, Aaron and I all ventured off together.
First we went to the London Eye where we had a 12:30 reservation. We got on our pod and prepared for our 30 minute rotation on the large Ferris wheel built for the new millennium.
The gang at the London Eye. Top from L to R: Me, Dorne, Steve, Jennifer, Greg, Gary and Francis.
Bottom from L to R: Nora, Elle and Aaron
The London Eye was awesome! We had the pod to ourselves with the exception of one other gentleman. Unfortunately for him he had to take a group photo with about 9 different cameras. He also had to deal with our "Party Pod." Next we crossed the bridge to Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Then we went to the Tower of London. It was amazing! Beyond the moat and fortress walls was an entire medieval village. The buildings were spectacular. While we walked the tower's walls it began to snow! Just beyond the ravens in the center of it all was the home of the royal jewels. We saw the most amazing crowns and scepters as well as artillery and armor.
We breaked for a few minutes. Most people went to the gift shop, I however opted for a quick bite of chicken and chips.
More views from the Eye
From here we split off into two groups. Some people went shopping at Oxford Street where as Adam, Elle, Jennifer, Dorne and myself went to the London Dungeons despite my guide books suggestion of skipping it. The Dungeons were a unique approach to the gory part of London's history. It touched on subjects such as Jack the Ripper, the plague, the great fire, etc through multiple mediums such as videos, a ride and skits.
Elle, Dorne and I had to rush from the Dungeons to Madame Taussauds to visit our favorite wax figures. We got there 15 minutes past the last entrance so we missed out. We stopped by a souvenir shop and literally ran to the hotel to meet the group at 6:45 for a play in London's West End. The play we saw was called Blood Brothers.
It's a traditional play that's been running since the 80's. The play was great! I had hoped to catch a more prestigious one but there was no need, this one was brilliant.
After the play the group split again. Some people (most) went back to the hotel. Norah, Fida, Pedro, Elle, Greg, Angie, Sarah, Lee and I all went back to Shakespeare's Head for drinks. We bought 4 pitchers to share as well as a few beers. We stayed until closing time at 1 am. We walked back to the hotel and called it a night. After all we had breakfast at 6:45 the next morning.
Miles Walked: 11.30
Sights Seen: Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, London Eye, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, London Dungeon, Tower of London, Tower Bridge.
Expenditures: Drinks £15, Tickets for the day $110.89 USD
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