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A happy Bucket List

May 25, 2011

My goodness we did a lot of sight seeing today! We put together a plan for the day, & proudly stuck to it. Woke up on time, navigated the Tube like true Londoners, & made it to Big Ben before 9:30. Loved seeing the House of Lords, Big Ben, the Eye. Perfect, perfect weather too, how lucky for us!

Today, I fell in love with Westminster Abbey. It is breathtaking. Oliver Cromwell’s burial site was the highlight, as was seeing a beautiful wooden door, considered to be England’s oldest (circa 1050). Kind of can’t believe I’m actually in London, literally touching history! We had a fantastic time…I used the “free” audio guide that came with admission, & it found it was done in a really educational, tasteful way. The Abbey has already set up an all-things-Kate-&-her-big-royal-wedding section, complete with life-size pictures & DVDs of their wedding. Obsession!

Next we walked briskly to Queen Elizabeth’s house to see the changing of the guards, where we made it just in time. En route to the palace, we saw the guards rehearsing. You’ll never guess what they were warming up to! “Somewhere Over the Rainbow!” How funny is that?

Afterwards we made our way to Trafalgar’s Square, stopping at London’s Mall to lounge for a few minutes on these lovely park chairs scattered across the park. Split a great cheese sandwich from a healthy chain called Pret a Manger…they are so popular here! I’ll have to try DC’s out when I get back to the US.

Then it was off to Harrods for a quick walk-through. I had no idea they had such an extensive food area. Fresh terrines, cheeses, cured meats, vegetables, sushi, seafood galore. It was remarkable…but all of it was ridiculously overpriced, & we had other plans anyway. It was time for a classic English tea!

The tea was perfect. Went to a place suggested in our guidebook, & it was exactly what we were hoping for. Off the beaten track, near the posh Harrods outskirts, &, of course, the most important part — the food was fantastic! From an array of tea sandwiches (cucumber&cream cheese, salmon, ham&cheese, egg) to perfect lavender scones to an array of pastries like chocolate cake & lemon mouse, the meal was a real hit. We split it though…it was on the pricey side. It’s tough thinking about the conversion to pounds…

Highlight of the meal? The clotted cream. So good I just had to close my eyes and enjoy the subtle, creamy flavor. Even better than the best homemade whipped cream I’ve ever had. I will absolutely be looking up recipes when I get back to the US.

After tea we took a quick walk to the Victoria & Albert Museum. It was a great place to go, & we ended up staying until it closed. Such lovely artwork, a breathtaking Dale Chahooley (sp?) chandelier, many Renaissance paintings & statues, a gorgeous ceramic staircase, an iron exhibit, & a lovely garden with a well-manicured landscape. There is such history in this city! Best part? It was free admission.

Tonight we were pretty tired — had some decent Indian food, & are about to call it a night. Tomorrow we’re off to the British Museum, Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral & hopefully a few other stops. Fish&Chips for dinner on our last night in London!

Thanks for stopping by!


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