Tuesday, September 21, 2010

London; The End of the Road

A little late with this blog entry; was running a fever of 103 last night for a little post-travel system shock, but back to normal now.

So, London. The final stop. So many things to do, so little time. Fortunately, I was staying in a pretty good location (a couple blocks off London Bridge), and I think I hit most of the highlights. And I spent A LOT of time in the West End - great seats for waaaaay cheap (e.g., £25 for 3rd row center at "Avenue Q")

A recap:

Day 1: Walked along the Thames to the Tower Bridge and crossed over to see the Tower of London. Wandered down the river on that side to St Paul's, then went over to Leicester and got tickets for Avenue Q (excellent as expected). Explored the squares (Piccadilly, Covent Garden, Trafalgar) and ate some dinner at busy local pub while waiting for the show to start.

Henry VIII's armor - as you can see, he was a pretty big guy
Day 2: Hit the south-west today. Crossed Westminster Bridge to see Big Ben and the palace, then off to Buckingham Palace to watching the Changing of the Guard (dodged the crowds by spending most of the time watching the new guard inspection/rehearsal). Walked up to Trafalgar and toured through the National Museum, then down again a bit to see 10 Downing St and the Palace of the Horse Guards. Saw the superb "Blood Brothers" in the evening (starts slow, and the slanted stage seemed to give the actors a bit of trouble).

Behold the freakishly tall guard
Day 3: Neglected to mention last night was the night when the hostel bar closing time was insufficient, and I got dragged out to an after-hours bar by a Kiwi and a Canadian (alright, maybe the Kiwi and I dragged the Canadian out - details, details...). So today was a little...slower...

Walked the OTHER way along the south of the Thames, saw the Globe and the Tate Modern (still trying with the modern art...). Picked up some advance tickets, then went back to the hostel for a nap. Overslept and arrived late for my dinner engagement with old high-school friend Bill and his fiancee Ania for some tasty Indian food. (sadly, forgot my camera - no pictures, but I should be seeing them again in the near future...)

Not from day 3, but this entry clearly needs a Big Ben somewhere...as do the ladies! Amiright? (Also obligatory: Big Ben-related penis joke)
Day 4: Saw the British Museum and the British Library. I'll give a special shout-out to the British Library, because I think it gets overlooked a lot. It's an actual library, but with two rooms of the "Treasures of the British Library". This includes 2 of the 4 remaining copies of the Magna Carta, the oldest extant copy of Beowulf, a Gutenberg Bible, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff.

Double-feature at the West End today - saw a matinĂ©e of Billy Elliot (great staging - would have been a lot better if the audience wasn't completely lame) and Chicago in the evening (very polished).

Oh, and I happened to walking north from the Victoria Palace Theater after seeing Billy Elliot and passed by Buckingham palace and there was a bit of a crowd. I asked a policeman if there was something going on, and he kinda looked at me funny and asked me if I read the paper. I guess it was a circus or something; there was a guy in some funny robes riding in a clown car.

London pictures

Just about wrapped up with the blog now - I think one more wrap-up entry in the few days and it will be time to close the book on a great vacation.

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