Day 2: Exploring London

**just an editors note, I am typing this all wherever I can find free WiFi and on my cell so please excuse any horrible spelling. I promise its not intentional.**

Day two begins with a hearty English breakfast. The only bad part about breakfast here is that their 8:00a is our 3:00a so I’m never hungry. So although I got a lot on my plate, I only managed some toast, OJ, and a croissant for later.

English breakfast at the hotel

After Breakfast the whole group got a whisper device that you could hear the tour guide and we started towards Westminster on our 3-hr walking tour. The only downfall of the morning was that it was drizzling and around 50 degrees, so I’m glad I packed my warm raincoat and umbrella. The first stop was Trafalgar square. It was pretty but later on we found out that outside Westminster it was a lot prettier of a square.

Rainy at the square

We then walked to the Parliament building where Big Ben stands which was absolutely beautiful! Then, we walked past Westminster Abby followed by walking through Green Park to see the British guards. Lucky for us, it is the Queens Birthday June 2nd so the guards instead of changing in front of Buckingham, were doing a whole performance you could watch followed by them walking down the street back to Buckingham. That was so incredible to see and we got to walk right next to them!

Guards practicing

Walking right with them!!!

So close!

The band

We then got some quick pics at Buckingham Palace and then ending the tour at the London Tower with the crown jewels. We didn’t go see the jewels however because we wanted to go see other things and looking back, I’m glad we didn’t go because after the tour, Erin and I took the tube back to Westminster Abby and paid £20 to tour the whole church. And boy was that worth it! So many famous people buried there and the church was a Gothic spectacular all in itself!  It was hard to get pictures in there though because they would have men that would scold you for taking pictures.

Side aisle of the church looking down the nave

The courtyard inside the abby

Then we headded back towards Trafalgar square to the national Art Gallery and Portrait Gallery which was free. And this was so much fun, I saw DaVinci, Jan van Eyck, Titian and so many more I was like a little girl in a candy shop. I even got to see the original copy of a painting done by Titian that I wrong my final essay on for my last History of Art class!

The real Titian piece

Van Goah

Da Vinci’s 2nd copy of Madonna of the Rocks

Jan Van Eyck!!

After the museum Erin and I were starving and tired from walking so we went next door to an adorable little Italian bistro for pizza, tea, and lasagna.

My delicious pizza was so big

After food, we ordered tickets for the London Eye online for nighttime and then took the tube and Piccadilly line up north to Kings Cross Station to take the classic Platform 9 3/4 Harry Potter picture which was such a blast!

Oh you know, just heading to Hogwarts

The Elder wand

All the wands laid out to  purchase

The it was back to the Tube on the Piccadilly down to the London eye for sunset. Erin and I loved using it because we got an unlimited day pass and we were able to buzz around much faster and see more places.

Down the escalator we go!

We arrived at the London Eye 30-mins early which was just perfect because Erin was able to grab some souvenirs and after picking up tickets, we got to watch a free 5-min 4D movie of the Eye which was actually better than expected.  There was even an awkward wax figure of Kate Winslet in the lobby that we of course had to get a picture with.

4D movie

She looked pretty real for a wax figure

Then we got right on the London Eye, which was a 30-min ride and it was absolutely beautiful! So glad we decided to do it at 9p/sunset because right at the top, the city lit up and was such a sight from so far up!

The Parliament building and Big Ben

The river

The sun went down just as we did

All lit up at night

We then walked back to the Tube to head back to the hotel.

After returning to the hotel, Erin and I went to the restaurant for a light dinner of appetizers of cheese bread, bruschetta and rose wine. It was nice to also catch up on WiFi blogging and Instagram the day. Tomorrow we board an early train to Paris under the Chunnel at 8:15a (3:00a US time…ugh).

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