Anyone who knows me, knows that I love cities. I love the feel of energy, craziness, culture, movement, and excitement in cities. In particular, I love the city of London. I had the opportunity to spend a semester there in college, and found it hard to sit and study when such an incredible city was at my fingertips. London is unlike any city I’ve experienced. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world quite a bit, and London always stands out as one of my favorite places. I love that London is the biggest “melting pot” on earth; I am pretty sure there are groups of people from every single country in the world living in London. I love that London is a huge city, yet most of the time in feels like you are in a neighborhood. I love the Thames and the beauty that it adds to the London skyline. I love the architecture – I swear every building in London is just amazingly intricate and unlike any other – no two are alike. The museums, the theaters, the parks, the food (any cuisine in the world is a couple steps in a given direction), the people, the style, the royalty, the bobbys, the transportation (from double deckers, to the tube, to the awesome old school taxis), all of these kind of put London in a realm of its own.
That said, it was so much fun to bring Julie there and show her all of the things I love about London. I think she really liked it too…Maybe we’ll find a way to live over there for a while someday.
Julie got me a really nice SLR camera for my birthday last summer. I think she kind of regretted it on this trip, as I was going to town taking pictures. That said, I have SO many photos. So there will probably be quite a few in the post, but I think you can deal with that.
So here goes. We flew in on a red-eye from Detroit – got to our insanely tiny hotel room in Westminster (near Big Ben), laughed about how small it was, and then went out to see the city.
Detroit – serious excitement on Julie’s face.
Julie’s first glimpse of Big Ben.
Picadilly Circus at about the point I felt I was going to pass out from lack of sleep.
Tesco has the key to happiness in London. Hobnobs and little odd sized cartons of milk. mmm.
National Gallery of Art. I love that place. It was fun showing Julie my favorite Turner paintings there.
St. Martin in the Fields – right next to Trafalgar Square. This was all being refurbished while I was there last. It is just amazing that on every corner in London is another beautiful historical church or building.
That night we went for walk along the Thames in the rain. We got pretty wet but it was worth it when we got to my favorite piece of London architecture – St. Pauls – and dinner at Wagamama.
Wagamama is on the left (pretty cool inside the bottom of a bridge) – then i think this pub on the right is like quintessential England.
We walked across the Millenium Bridge (enter Harry Potter (scene in Harry Potter 6)) over to the front of St. Paul’s.
One of the main reasons of the trip was this…to see Les Mis. Julie has always wanted to see this and London is the only place it is still running. The performance was really really good – you should have seen the smile on Julie’s face. The next night we saw “Love Never Dies” which is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom. We had heard that it was supposed to be really good. I would love to know who the critics/reviews of it because holy cow, it was not good. We kept looking at each other just hoping it would get better, but it just kept getting more and more weird. Les Mis was so good though, that we kind of let Love Never Dies slip from our memories.
We did some shopping around Oxford Circus.
McDonalds in foreign countries rules. McD’s in London is really nice. You might roll your eyes, but I saw the ad for the “M with Bacon” and had to give it a try.
The mix of old and new.
We wandered into the Soho part of town to get some Indian Food before Les Mis. London is home or some seriously tasty Indian Food.
We sat by the Lions at Trafalgar Square after the show and had some delicious trifle.
Breakfast in the park. Those yogurt things (with the fruit in the corner that you stir into the yogurt). “Pull over! No, it’s a cardigan, but thanks for noticing.” – Harry from Dumb and Dumber
This was Julie after she just got back from a trip on the Hogwarts Express. She made it through Platform 9 3/4 and have a good conversation with Harry and Ron while taking a quick spin on the train.
We went to Buckingham Palace and saw the changing of the guard…so did a few other people.
The gates of Her Majetsy’s 900 room palace. 900 rooms? What the what?
Victoria Station. Train stations in London are so cool. Sidenote: Julie loved it when I asked her to turn around for a picture every 3 minutes.
The windows at the store next to Harrods. Look close, it is made out of cassette tapes.
The Victoria & Albert Museum. Chihuly is one of my favorite artists. This hangs in the main entrance. How cool is that thing?
We went to the Bayswater/Notting Hill area – where I lived at the BYU London Center.
I’ve eaten many Kebabs at this place.
The London Center where I lived.
At the top of Portobello Road
London by night.
One day we jumped on a train and went out to Windsor Castle. Her Majesty’s favorite place to spend her summers. 700 or so more rooms for her. Such a beautiful place though. So much history there – it was kind of eerie/awesome to be in the same rooms where Henry VIII and other famous English rulers.
Outside the castle grounds we walked through the town of Windsor. Here is Julie doing quite possibly the most amazing jumping picture of all time. Check out that face and hair.
Of course there needs to be this driveway into Windsor Castle that goes for as long as you can see. And we talk about exorbitant spending in the US? Ha.
Walking around Windsor.
Is Julie pretty or what?
Look, it’s the Bobbys. Julie was too wussy to ask them to pose for photo with her. Now that one on the right is just looking at her weird.
Case and point: London is beautiful. This is the tile in the Tube stop by our hotel.
The British Museum. Home of the Rosetta Stone. See if you can find Julie in that photo.
The Tate Modern. This is one of my favorite museums in the world…after this visit, I think it is on Julie’s list too.
This is one of my new favorite pieces of art. This guy is amazing. I can’t imagine the amount of time it took to do this. There was this one and 4 other huge pieces in the room. I want that for our living room.
A belt shot from inside St. Paul’s Cathedral. No photos allowed, but I could not help myself. I just this the inside of that church is so incredible. All mosaics – that combined with the light/brightness in there is just so amazing. I could sit in there for days.
Hiking up to the top of the dome.
A little glass whole at the very top of the dome looking all the way down. Gives me the willies.
The view from up top.
Another trip to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. The Pope was in town so everything was on lock down, but we got a good view from the outside.
Camden Market. Camden Town is a really cool/crazy neighborhood full of really cool shops and wacko shops full of gothic clothing and boots. Didn’t dare to take a picture of those guys.
After 5 awesome action packed days in London, we took the tube and a bus out to Stansted where we flew out to Italy early the next morning. So stay tuned for Europa Part II – Italia. It might be a few days though because holy cow this post took like 4 hours. London rules.