Monday, December 26, 2011

Europe Day 8 - London (September 29th)

Today was our first full day in London and we were ready to see the town. Our B&B The Wynchgate B&B offered either a continental breakfast or breakfast made to order. We chose the made to order breakfast all three days. Our B&B owner Sabiya made me a mushroom and cheese omelet and Patrick a tomato and cheese omelet. Along with our omelets we also tried the croissants, english muffins and english tea. It was all delicious and the portions were huge, so we weren't hungry until late in the day.

Wychgate B&B

After our big breakfast we took the tube to Caledonia Station to check out London Metropolitan University where Patrick studied abroad at back in 2003.

Southgate Tube Station

This is the apartment that Patrick lived in when he lived in London. He said it is pretty run down compared to when he lived there.

Patrick's Study Abroad Home

After we saw the old apartment, we walked to campus to check it out. Our mission was to find Chicken Land, a favorite eatery of Patrick's. Sadly Chicken Land had closed, but we did some other fun places like the movie theater they went to and the barber shop Patrick got his hair cut at. Patrick loved his study abroad experience so it was fun to see all the places he loved while he lived in London.

London Metropolian University

London Metropolian University

We decided to be adventurous and ride a bus from campus to Trafalgar Square. We thought we would be able to see more of the city versus riding the tube, but it was a single decker bus. It just ended up just taking longer and the bus was super hot so it wasn't that great of a choice.

At Trafalgar Square we planned to do the free Rick Steve's City Walk Tour that we downloaded to our iPhones at the B&B.

Trafalgar Square

Before we started the tour we watched this street show where this man showed us his ability to contort his body many ways.

Street Dancer

We had the Rick Steve's guide to London, which is where we found out about the free podcast tours. I wish we would have known about them in Italy, as I am sure we would have enjoyed them there.

The tour started in Trafalgar Square and ended at the London Bridge. It was a really interesting tour that featured the City of London where only 11,000 people live, but 330,000 people work everyday. Here is a map of the route we took.

City of London Map

Here is what we saw on our tour:

St. Clements Dane and The Royal Courts of Dane

St. Clements Dane and The Royal Courts of Dane

The original Twinings Tea Shop

Twinings Tea Shop

The Temple Church

Temple Church

Fleet Street & Dr. Johnson's House. Dr. Johnson invented the dictionary.

Dr. Johnson's House

By this point we were hungry and the pod cast mentions that now would be a good time to take a break. We ended up finding a gold mine right around the corner from Dr. Johnson's house. A Chilango. This is basically Chipotle in British form. The only difference is they use white cheddar cheese instead of the Monterrey Jack cheese they use at Chipotle.

Chilango... aka Chipotle of London

Chilango... aka Chipotle of London

After we refueled, we made a quick stop at St. Bride's Church, whose steeple is shaped like a wedding cake.

St. Bride's

Saint Bride's Church

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Catherdral

City of London Chair

Then we finally made it to the London Bridge and had an awesome view of the Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge from London Bridge

I thought that now that we were in London the weather would be cooler so I would be able to wear pants today. I guess I was wrong after a full day of walking in the sunshine this is how we looked, it's not pretty.

Tower Bridge from London Bridge

After crossing the river we were on a mission to find the Tate Modern and see some of the exhibits before they closed. Patrick had been to the Tate Modern in college and he thought it was pretty cool. They did have some pretty interesting exhibits. There was also an observation area at the Tate Modern. Our timing getting there was perfect, the light on the London skyline and the Millennium Bridge was gorgeous.

London Skyline from Tate Modern

London Skyline from Tate Modern

Our plan for the evening included a Jack the Ripper tour, so we headed over the Tower Bridge to the Tower Hill tube stop to meet the guide for the tour.

Tower Bridge

Underground Station

On the Jack the Ripper Tour we learned about the gruesome murders of 1888. We did the London Walks tour and our guide was very good. After the tour we ended up in Bishopsgate and found a pub to eat dinner at. Patrick got a London Ale, I ended up with a Pimm's and we spilt a sandwich and fries. It was a nice way to end the evening.

Today we broke records with our mileage totals. We walked 34,332 steps or 17.16 miles. I guess two walking tours in one day will force you to walk crazy amounts.

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