Christy's London Tour

London Travel Blog

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Sam & Ali outside Tower of London, London, England

We took in London by way of a hop-on/hop-off bus and boat trip using ‘Original Tours’.  We jumped on around 8:30 Friday morning.  This was a great day to do it because although it was overcast at times it was largely sunny!  We chose to sit in the front seats at the top of the open-topped double-decker bus.  As expected there is so much history.   Just in the 1st hour we passed by the many things along with the original Ritz hotel and the original hard rock cafe.

As it neared 10:15, we came up to Buckingham Palace.  As luck would have it the ‘changing of the guard’ would be taking place at 11:00 AM.

Looking for Trouble - London, England
  We went to grab a cup of coffee at a little Italian eatery to warm up.  While we were waiting for our drinks 2 young guys that had been outside came inside to ask Trent if he was the kids’ father.  When he said yes, the guys said he just lost a bet because he thought Trent looked too young to be their dad.  This all gave us a good laugh!  Well, when you got it, you got it!  (Trent’s take is they inquired because of interest in Ali.)

We headed up the street to the Palace and found a place at the fence and waited, and waited.  Initially the numbers around us were few.  However, by the time the ceremony began the fence, surrounding lawns, sidewalks and pretty much anything you could perch yourself on was covered by people.  Throughout the ceremony there was a lot of marching and saluting by the British soldiers or as they’re more commonly known ‘Household Troops’.

Big Ben Clock Tower with London Eye in the Background - London, England
  This process in part is a shift change for the guys that have been working so the new guys can start their day.  This all seemed to take forever as we were watching.  We’d seen a number of the guards changed and when I was about to walk away (Trent and Kids gave up) 2 of the guards came to the fence to chat.  One of them addressed me for a minute or 2 before it was time for them to continue on.  It was the usual niceties “Hi”, “where are you from?’ ‘Are you enjoying yourself?”  I asked him the same, it was all pretty fun.  As it turns out the Queen is in town (denoted by the guard posted outside St. James Palace).   There was to be the ‘Trooping of the Colour’ (parade) the next day.  This is a yearly celebration of the Queen’s birthday.  We were going to attempt to make the spectacle but we ran out of time on Saturday.
Changing of the Guard (Buckingham Palace) - London, England

We’re off for more of the tour.  Saw the Parliament building, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben which I learned isn’t the name of the clock.  It’s the name of the big bell inside the tower that rings at the top of ever hour.  We jumped off and headed to catch the boat part of the tour and floated down the Thames River.  One of the sites we took in was the Shakespeare Globe Theater where the phrase ‘box office’ comes from.  The money that was collected from each show was placed in boxes and then taken to a room at the top of the theater and this became known as the ‘Box Office’.  Other sites were the ‘London Eye’ which is the 2nd largest Ferris wheel in the world,  and the Millennium Footbridge.  The footbridge also was given the nickname of the ’wobblely bridge ‘ because when it was first built it swayed up to a foot sideways as you walked on it.

Original New Era Hat Shop - London, England
  Not exactly what you want when walking over a bridge that spans a river!  The architect blamed the sway on the ‘way people were walking’. 

We exited the boat at the Tower of London.  As part of the Tower of London ticket you get to see the British Crown Jewels, White Tower (Armory), Blood Tower (named after the unsolved murder of two young heirs to the thrown), etc.   There was a special exhibit on King Henry the VIII.  Near 5 o’clock we ran to catch the last bus on the tour and headed back to Piccadilly Circus so we could make our way to eat a yummy curry dinner at an Indian restaurant.  England is not known for its cuisine, but London is known to have good Indian food restaurants.  Thanks Scott D. for the recommendation.  On our way to dinner we went by Piccadilly Square and it was packed.

Sam and Ali Close Up - London, England
  We were told that this was nothing compared to what we would see later in the evening.  The food was good and a bit spicy for some, J and we know who you are.  Off to see the Lion King production, this was FANTASTIC!  It was very comedic at times, costumes were beautiful and the theater itself was very nice. 

After the show we made our way back to Piccadilly Square and true to form it was packed with people, tourists and locals alike. A street performer picked Trent as a ‘volunteer’ for his act.  He and several others assisted the performer in what seemed to be a bit of a magic trick.

Royal Guard (Tower of London) - London, England
It’s a treat be sure to download it!!!!! Give the download a couple of minutes because it is large.  You can download it for 7 days by using this link: 

 https://rcpt.yousendit.com/700549040/79ae96e83944c0baabde86009117786f

The night came to an end for us with a walk back to the hostel.  The hostel was a great place full of young travelers, and old travelers from around the world.  The hostel itself was located in central London and it was never more than a 15 minute walk to the different events and attractions.   

We awoke the next morning for a quick breakfast at the hostel and then off on the bus to find the original ‘New Era’ hat store for Sam to check out the 59Fifty’s.

Ladies Close Up - London, England
  If you were 14 you would understand what 59Fifty meant and the importance of it!  No shopping for Ali, her stop will be Paris. 

With only a little time left before catching the “EuroStar” (high speed train to Paris) we grabbed a bite to eat with the last of our ‘pounds and pence’, gained one more stamp in our passports, and off we went.

Trent’s departing comments, “this could be interesting, I don’t know a single word of French.”

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Sam & Ali outside Tower of London,…
Sam & Ali outside Tower of London…
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Looking for Trouble - London, Eng…
Big Ben Clock Tower with London Ey…
Big Ben Clock Tower with London E…
Changing of the Guard (Buckingham …
Changing of the Guard (Buckingham…
Original New Era Hat Shop - London…
Original New Era Hat Shop - Londo…
Sam and Ali Close Up - London, Eng…
Sam and Ali Close Up - London, En…
Royal Guard (Tower of London) - Lo…
Royal Guard (Tower of London) - L…
Ladies Close Up - London, England
Ladies Close Up - London, England
Tower of London - London, England
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Guard Tower (Tower of London) - L…
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Street Performance 1 (Piccadilly …
Street Performance 2 (Piccadilly S…
Street Performance 2 (Piccadilly …
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Street Performance 3 (Piccadilly …
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Family ouside Tower of London - L…
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London
photo by: ulysses