The fountain in Trafalgar Square.
Way back when I was but a wee young lass in the year of 2005, I was fortunate enough to be able to go on a school organized trip to London. There were about 20 of us shipped overseas with a handful of teachers and guardians hoping to keep us out of trouble for five days. We had a pretty full itinerary, catching many of the major tourist spots including the London Eye, Stonehenge, Shakespeare's Globe, the Tower of London, Roman Baths, Harrod's, St. Paul's Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, the changing of the guards, Windsor Castle and more! It was a pretty whirlwind journey. Read on to see more photos!
Winding streets and cute little cabbies of London proper.
A bunch of mossy old stones in a field called Stonehenge.
No, really, Stonehenge is pretty neat. There's even a song about it on the YouTube.
Yes, the YouTube.
What I wasn't expecting was for the area around Stonehenge to be primarily sheep farms. The bleating of the adorable little wool-machines (and likely their smell) wafts through the air occasionally disrupting the mystery…to be fair, it had been roped off into an awkward amble around the stones at a safe distance so the air of mystique was already a bit diminished. You could opt for a guided tour via a pre-recorded earpiece or simply choose to stare at the stones and puzzle out their meaning on your own terms.
Saint Paul's Cathedral.
We went in and did a whole tour of the place, but photos were not allowed inside the building. Perhaps this has changed since then, but I doubt it. The holy ghost doesn't like to be caught on film. ;)
I love the architecture in the city! No wonder the Doctor prefers to spend much of his earthbound time traipsing about London town.
Just a little fella they affectionately call Big Ben.
We actually walked along Westminster bridge in our travails.
We stayed in the Hyde Park Towers Hotel through the duration of our stay. It was close to the Queensway or Bayswater tube stops, making it a convenient location for us to be in. Not the fanciest of hotels, perhaps, but it was perfectly suitable for our needs. I remember being surprised by how small the rooms felt, but now their size seems far less unusual and more the norm after traveling abroad more.
The hotel offered a continental breakfast, which is always a lovely option to have, however I generally opted to sneak across the street to the small patisserie and sample some fresh baked vittles. Unfortunately, it seems that bakery has since been replaced by another restaurant, but such is the way of life. It has been awhile since I visited…
While there we sampled fish & chips, bangers and mash and more, naturally, but I especially enjoyed popping into small local restaurants or buying snacks in Tesco or mini markets. It made me nostalgic when years later I found a Tesco tucked away in a random neighborhood of Tokyo. A small curry shop owner near my hotel gave me extra food for free one night when it became clear that I was inexperienced with their cuisine and unsure of what to try. I was just barely too young to drink legally then and too scared of possible ramifications to event attempt, so I couldn't comment on the joys of the British brewing world, but hitting a genuine pub is on my bucket list.
The Hub in Shin-Urayasu does not count.
Nor do any of their locations in Japan.
The view from the London Eye. What a beautiful city!
The weather was relatively cooperative during our stay, albeit a bit grey compared to the middle of the desert but that's the nature of nature. I would certainly hope for it to be a bit different climatically on a small island country on the other side of the world, wouldn't you?
There is so much to see and do in the city that I would gladly return any time the opportunity presents itself. With all of the historic buildings, melting pot of cultures and traditions it's truly a unique place. I had a wonderful time and still get excited when I recognize landmarks on film. What can I say, American Werewolf in London has been one of my favorite movies since I was a kid. :)