- NOTE: This post is based on my original blog entry.
London rock the house! The holidays, New Years, and then-some spent roaming thru the streets of London. Roaming and roaming and roaming…my feet are fucked. There were actually alot of Americans there over the holidays (duh Halley), as well as plenty of (in descending order), Italians, French, and Russians. Some initial observations about London and the UK.
- A $2 for every £1 exchange rate really sucks.
- What’s up with the 2 pence?
- The various pub names. Rat and Parrot, Eagle and Child, Lamb and Flag, Noun and Noun?
- There are alot of Starbucks in London.
- There are as many, if not more Pret a Mangers.
We landed in the morning and immediately headed out to explore Chinatown, Westminster and Parliament, the Tate Modern, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Somerset House.
We started early at the crack of dawn, which in London was apparently sometime around 10 am. Weird. The second day was interspersed with some site-seeing, shopping, and foodage at Wagamama’s. Amongst the points of interest we hit up were Westminster Abbey, Churchill’s War Room, the Imperial War Museum, Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, the Camden Locks and Camden Market, Covent Garden, and Piccadilly Circus.
Day 3-4 – New Year’s Eve
We didn’t exactly have any plans for midnight celebrations, but we headed out anyway to get our tourist on. New Year’s Eve was as good a day as any to check out the Tower of London. The Yeoman/Beefeater guide gave us a nice detailed tour of the various sites and their incredibly bloody history. Beheadings here, drawn and quarters there…fun stuff. The Armoury was pretty awesome, as were the crown jewels, but sadly no pics of the jewels were allowed. We roamed around afterwards, heading over to St. Katharine’s Dock. I personally don’t know much about that neighborhood, but if I could, I’d live there. We continued wandering around afterwards, trying to figure out what to do at the stroke of midnight. We did land on some party plans at the last second, but the party turned out to be RSVP when we got there (it wasn’t supposed to be), so we partied at a pub near our hotel…the Prince Alfred. Drink, party, Happy New Year!
New Year’s Day was a quiet one. Fish caught a soccer game, and I just wandered around London aimlessly. We met up later for Shanghainese on Gerrard Street.
Day 5 – Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon
We joined a bus tour to get out of London for a day and see a bit of the English countryside. The main stop was Oxford, but with side trips to Warwick Castle and Stratford-upon-Avon beforehand. Warwick was very touristy, in the sense that it was run by the same people as Madame Tussaud’s. Kind of hokey, sometimes cheesy, but still fun. We then hit the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Again, touristy, but the town was pretty nice. We didn’t stay in the town long, but still managed to trek over to the Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried. After that was Oxford, where we did a walking tour of the grounds. It was definitely nice to get out of the city for a day, see the rolling English countryside. I’d still like to see a real English castle one day though. Warwick didn’t really do it for me. We caught dinner afterwards at this small okonomiyaki place called Abeno-too, which served up Osaka-style okonomiyaki.
Our last full day in London. Time flies, and we still had a list of things we hadn’t even hit yet. We wanted to get schooled, so we headed out to the trio of museums of the Victoria and Albert, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum, all next to each other. They were packed, but we still got edumacated, and even made a lunch pitstop at one last English pub, the Hoop and Toy. We wandered around later at night, grabbed a French dinner in Soho, then headed back to our hotel to pack up. We caught our flight the next day, and got to sit two rows behind the alleged UK tween girl band Girls Aloud. What the hell were they doing in coach?