Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sights of London - Day 2

April 2nd, 2010

I woke up to Valeria moving around on the top bunk. It was about 45 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off so I lied there for about 15 minutes before getting up. We were going to try to make a walking tour at 11:00 so we got ready fairly quickly and headed out. We took a bus map that we found in the room and went down onto the street. It was the first time we had really had to deal with the cars driving on the wrong side of the road. I didn't find it that strange at first but it causes a problem when crossing the street. I find that I can never figure out which way to look before I cross so I just look both ways.

Our hostel is so far out of the way that we weren't on the London bus map so we found a place that was and took a bus going in that direction. Unfortunately we didn't really research it enough. The bus went all the way around the outside of the town and it took us almost and hour just to get to town. When I found where we were on the map and tried to coordinate it with the Tube map and I had us get off and get on the tube which only took a few minutes and took us straight to the Eye of London, the huge Ferris wheel on the Thames River. Valeria took one look at it and said, "It's not that big. I thought it would be bigger." But the closer we got to it I made her take it back. That thing is huge, and so was the line to ride it. So we took some pictures and walked by.

Beyond the Eye of London was the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Valeria and I know so little about London that we both asked each other if it was really Big Ben. But we soon figured out that it was (So embarrassing!). We hadn't had breakfast yet so we stopped at a little waffle place and got some waffles with chocolate topping and ate them in front of Big Ben. We kept thinking we needed a map of the city so we could know what to see but we were too cheap to buy one. As we were about to cross the bridge to Big Ben I found one on the ground and we've been using that. We walked up the steps to the bridge and a guy asked Val and I if we would like to go on a bus tour. We said no, and then he said, "Well how about dinner with me tonight then." We both just laughed and walked away.

We took lots of pictures of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Then we saw them. Just passed the huge clock were the Telephone booths Valeria and I were so excited to see! We ran over and seriously took 20 pictures just of that telephone booth alone. We have pictures together, talking on the phone, sticking our heads our of it, and just of it alone. It's just like I always imagined!

At 12:00 we were supposed to meet Valeria's friend from Sweden who happened to be in London the same day. We found on the map where we were supposed to go and headed in that direction. On the way we saw a whole bunch of people taking pictures, and some guards in front of a gate. People were talking pictures of the street sign, Downing Street. We had no idea what it was, but I decided to take a picture of the street sign anyway. Then I turned to Valeria and was like, "Really, what is this??" The guard heard me and started laughing. So I ran over to him and said, "We just got here and really know very little about London. Can you tell us what this is?" He told us that it's where the Prime Minister lives and he even told us that we could actually see his door if we stood in a certain place. So we thanked him and now we've seen the Prime Minister's house!

We kept walking but it started to rain. Typical London. It was cold and dreary and really windy. We were supposed to meet her at this place called Primark, but when we got there, everyone and their brother was there so we found a Starbucks and text her to meet us there. We only sat with them for a few minutes and then we decided what to do next. We were on Oxford street so we decided to head over and see the Marble Arch and Hyde Park. Hyde Park was huge but there wasn't much to see. So I decided I really wanted to see the Tower Bridge, since that's what I know of London. It was all the way across town but I didn't care so we hopped on the Tube and headed East. When we got there we were going to get some food but I forgot everything closes at 3:00 so we went to McDonald's. Then we headed to the London Bridge. It was nothing like I thought it was, but I guess that's because the real one is in Arizona as far as I remember. But from London Bridge we could see Tower Bridge and like normal I took so many pictures. It was a beautiful day after it stopped raining and the sky was blue in every picture. Perfect.

We found a walkway down by the river and decided to take that over to Tower Bridge. The water was so high that it was lapping up onto the walkway and we had to wait till it went back out to run across. At the end of the walkway was the Tower of London. We saw it and considered going in but it was £15 for students. We weren't sure it was worth it and we didn't even really know what it was. So we decided to go across Tower Bridge instead. On the way I saw a guy from Concordia I thought I recognized, but I wasn't sure so I called out his name and sure enough it was. I don't think he even knows me but he's a friend of Brandon Jone's so I knew him. We talked to him for a little and I just can't believe how small the world it. I told Valeria earlier that day that I felt with all these people I'd have to know someone. Turns out I was right.

Tower bridge was cool but we decided just to walk across it. It was perfect because the sun was going down right as we were going over it and it was beautiful. I looked on the map and found out that Shakespeare's Globe Theatre was right on the river. I didn't even know it was in London and it's something I've always wanted to do since my high school drama group went one year without me. So Val and I took the bus (the wrong one at first and then we walked back and took the right one) to it. It was neat. I couldn't go inside because they still actually put on Shakespeare plays in there! But I got some good pictures of it.

We saw this huge tower next to it and we remembered that Aaron said you could go up into it for free and see all of London. So we went up into it. there were 7 floors and the views were great. It was a gallery which was also pretty cool, but we didn't stay too long. Then we walked across the Millennium pedestrian bridge to St. Paul's Cathedral which was also to expensive to go into but it was beautiful from the outside. We started waling towards Trafalgar Square and on the way we saw the Somerset House. I didn't know why I knew the name but I figured since I knew it, it was famous. So went in and it was just beautiful. There were fountains spraying up and some people running threw them. We met some girls there that asked us to take a picture of them and we realized they were French so we spoke some (very little) French to them so ask if they would take a picture of us.

From there we walked back to Trafalgar Square where we got to see the most beautiful lion statues and some great fountains. We ate at a little place just on the corner of the square. Just a little pizza that Valeria and I shared and then we headed home. We figured out the Tube so it was really easy to get home, but we thought the Tube station was closer to our hostel than it was so we walked and got lost but finally found a bus that would take us home. Good timing because it just had just started raining. We got home and crashed after looking at our pictures and having some good laughs about the day. It was a great day 2!

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