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Friday, September 19, 2014
Day One: Looked out the window of our Paris apartment one last time, then it was off to the EuroTrain/chunnel and London. What a great way to travel! Checked into our flat across from Battersea Park, and visited the Masons Arms gastro pub just around the corner. Back to the flat to unpack and settle in. Day Two: Hop on/hop off to take in the London sites... Big Ben, Bloomsbury, Green Park, Hyde Park, Harrod's, The London Eye, the Thames. Hopped off at Buckingham Palace for the changing of the Guards, walked the gardens and saw a pelican. Visited St. Paul's Cathedral just as a choir was singing Mozart's Holy Eucharist. Walked around Picadilly Circus (well-named, indeed!). Day Three: Cruise down the Thames to Greenwich. Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory, Greenwich Park. I love the carved figureheads and ships' badges. English fish and chips for lunch. In the evening, a birds' eye view at sunset of all the sites we've been taking in on the London Eye... Day Four: Trip to Little Venice, and then a canal boat tour through Regent Park and down to Camden Locke. On to Westminster, for a London Walk in the 1,000 year old city, looking at the Palace and the Abbey. Stuck around for Evensong and its beautiful choir. Then off to Albert's for a cider before heading home to Battersea and dinner at home. Day Five: Out to the Cotswolds (Minster Lovell and Burford) for a taste of the English countryside and medieval villages. Then touring around the quads of Oxford colleges & the Bodliean Library (which houses all books published in Britain) & Sheldonian Theatre (designed by Christopher Wren). My neck is sore from walking around for hours looking up and up. Dinner at the Naz to satisfy a craving for Tikka masala. Day Six: The Tower of London tour with a Beef Eater, and then time to wander around and look at the Crown Jewels, the Armoury, the Dungeon. We spoke at length with the Beef Eater in charge of looking after the Tower's Ravens. Then it was off to the Borough Market to sample some great food (especially loved Neal's Yard and sampling English cheeses!). A walk past The Globe Theatre. Mudlarking Bankside in Southwark while the tide was out, and then a very quick run into the Tate Modern before it closed to look at a Surrealist exhibition. Dinner at the Boqueria for Spanish tapas. Day Seven: Basically walked the entire day. Through Battersea Park, The British National Museum and the Victoria and Albert. If I was wearing a pedometer I think it would read 40+ km for the day. Such great sights, too. The Peace Pagoda in Battersea; the Rosetta Stone, Easter Island statue and Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon at the British Museum; entire tombs and colossal marble arches at the V&A. The scale of the exhibits in these museums is massive, so the buildings need to be huge to accommodate them. Day Eight: Packed up our bags in the a.m., stored our bags in 'left luggage' at Paddington Station so we could walk through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, ate lunch at Harrods, nipped in to the V&A for another look, then the Heathrow Express for the flight home.