Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunday 3-20-11

Breakfast this morning was interesting. There were cucumbers and cheese and tomatoes and then a lot of choices with the eggs. It was delicious! We decided to do the bus tour today. Swinder got us our passes and it included a free cruise tour and guiding headphones. It was amazing to see all of the old buildings while driving through London. I feel like that's one aspect that makes the US different from England. I love seeing the history and hearing the stories of London. Our first stop was by the London Eye. It was close to Big Ben and Parliament.

A big group of us decided to stop by and go on the London Eye. The line was really fast to go through. You could literally see every part of London from that view. I wish I could go back at night time to see the city lit up. After the London Eye, we got souvenirs from the gift shop. My aunt LOVES The Beatles so I got her a mug and I bought myself a fashionable London scarf. I also got my grandmother her William and Kate Royal Wedding plate (save the date--April 29th!). I bought Jed, my boyfriend, a Chelsea soccer scarf. Every pub we walked into was watching soccer games with their soccer jerseys on. I'm not sure they've even heard of basketball....

 The old buildings on the streets of London.

The London Eye by Big Ben! <---we were on the one in front of this one!

After we got our gifts we decided to eat lunch. Only the best--McDonald's! It was amazing to see the differences there. Their large sizes were like our medium sizes in America. Their menu was also a lot different. They had fewer items but more chicken items. You also had to buy a meal instead of separate items. One thing was the same--the crowdedness. It was jammed packed and hard to get into. It was delicious though!

We next decided to go to the Tower of London. We did the guided tour of the tower and found out that it used to be a place of imprisonment, an armery, a visiting spot, etc. It had many different types of uses. You can see the famous bridge in the background view which was beautiful. It was interesting to hear the guide's uses of Wizard of Oz references. We told him we were from Kansas so it was a nice coincidence!

Outside the Tower of London! 

Anne Boleyn was beheaded behind the walls at the Tower of London. Only 6 people were actually killed within the tower's walls. The rest were executed up the street. 

I thought it was really interesting that at the tower they usually only kept royal or important people. Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas Moore, etc. were imprisoned there before their execution. There was so much history within the walls that blew my mind.

We say the 530 carat diamond during the royal jewels exhibit and we saw the torture chamber they used to use. That concluded our visit to the Tower of London. 

We then went to Buckingham palace to see my future husband William (just kidding...). The palace and surrounding statues were beautiful and the flag was raised which meant the Queen was there. The guards were wearing gray instead of red which I was a little disappointed about. Apparently it was their winter style.

William left me the key!

Buckingham Palace! Long live the Queen!

We decided to then take a park ride on the bicycles. We paid one pound and got to ride for 1/2 an hour. We rode throughout the park and by the palace which was a neat experience. I thought it was really neat that many people use public transportation or bicycles as their daily transportation. It's a cheaper and faster way of getting around since the streets are so jammed packed.

Riding bikes around the park!

We met for dinner and decided to go to an Indian restaurant because Indian food is very popular in London. We had Swinder just order us a large variety of food and then we all just took a small piece and passed it along the table. I was surprised that I actually liked the food. It was spicy and had so many textures and flavors. We decided to split the check and go look for a pub because the night was still young.

Because it was Sunday, all of the pubs closed at 10:30 pm. We looked around for awhile and then we found the Zoo Club and Bar. We had to pay a small entrance fee but it was neat to meet all of the people inside because everyone was from all over the world. They played 90's music from America which was so great because we were able to recognize the songs. We started to dance and the "macho" men started to surround us American girls. Apparently we are quite attractive or something because one minute I was dancing and the next minute I was being dipped on the floor against my will!

I found that European men are much more aggressive about seeking out a dance partner. They don't get the picture if you don't want to dance with them and they'll follow you around. They're also more aggressive in their dance styles. They liked to latch onto you and not let go! Although there were a few awkward moments, I did meet some nice new people. One Paris fellow asked me to be his girlfriend but I had to decline because let's face it--Europeans don't have very good teeth.

I also found out from my observations that English men don't buy drinks for women (at least where we were at) which isn't how it is in the US. It just seemed a little different since everything is more proper here.

We tried to take the tube back home but it closed early. We tried a few buses before we finally got back to the hostel and called it a night!

Til next time,

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