January 2, 2013

Christmas in England: Part 3 - Second Day in London

The second day in London was my absolute favorite because we visited everything that I had most been looking forward to seeing.  We had planned on going to mass in the morning, but when we got to the church it was all locked up, and we didn't have internet to look up another place to go.  We ate breakfast at a cute cafe, and then we walked to Buckingham Palace.  I was just floored when we approached it.  It's one of those places I've seen many pictures of, but it was so much more astounding to actually be there and see it in person. 








We then walked through St. James's Park, which was beautiful even in the winter.  
There was a really nice view of the London Eye from the bridge! 


As we walked through the park, we saw guards riding horses down the walkway from the palace.  In true tourist fashion, I started chasing after them trying to get a picture.  We eventually caught up with them at Horse's Guard.  


I couldn't tell you what was going on, but we stuck around and watched with the crowd for a little bit. 

We started walking towards the area where we could see the London Eye and the Tower of Elizabeth.  
We didn't ride on the London Eye, but maybe next time! Ha ha ;) 
 As I learned, Big Ben is the bell inside of the tower itself, not the actual tower. 
And much to Thomas's embarrassment I had to get a picture of us with a red telephone booth just because I thought it was awesome seeing them everywhere!  Even though he didn't want to do it, he is in fact the one who came up with our pose. ;) 
Out of this whole trip, I was most in awe when we approached the area with Elizabeth Tower, Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of Parliament.  I can't even begin to describe what it was like to look around and see all of these landmarks that I'd only ever seen pictures of and heard about.  It sent chills down my spine to be standing there looking around. 


I just L.O.V.E.D Westminster Abbey. Loved it, loved it, loved it.  We couldn't take a tour because they don't have them on Sundays, but I very much enjoyed walking around the outside of it, taking everything in. 





We walked around a bit to try to get to the other side, and ended up going through a neighborhood area.  We came across an open doorway with a sign to a cafe out front, and we wandered in behind some other tourists.  We're still not entirely sure where we were, but we think it was somehow a part of Westminster Abbey.  The hallways we walked through were just breathtakingly beautiful.  Tall ceilings, sunlight streaming through the windows, stained glass, and a lovely view outside - I was mesmerized. 


 



We had packed our lunches, so we ate outside after exploring because it was a beautiful day.  This was our lunch view:

It just doesn't get any better than that.  I seriously felt like I was living in some kind of dream!  After eating,  we walked along the Houses of Parliament to get a closer look.    
I have to say that this building and the Elizabeth Tower were probably the most impressive buildings I saw.  You can't even tell from the pictures, but the designs on the building are just so incredibly elaborate.  There's nothing I can even think of in America that could used as a comparison. 

 

We then headed over to the British Museum, which was extraordinary.  Huge does not even begin to describe it. You could spend weeks looking through all the exhibits and reading all of the information about every piece and still not even come close to taking it all in. 



As evidenced below, we enjoyed ourselves a little too much! :) 

We saw the Rosetta Stone, but I must confess that I never knew what it was until we saw it at the museum!  

The section on Egypt was my favorite because I am fascinated by the Egyptians, especially with mummies.  I also loved seeing a body that was preserved in sand for over 3,000 years, but I'll spare you the picture so you don't get grossed out.  What can I say, I'm a science nerd and I like things like that. 
After walking around all the exhibits until we were so tired that we couldn't possibly do more, we took the tube to see the Marble Arch at the end of Oxford Street. 
 It was an impressive structure, much larger than I had anticipated! 
We walked along Oxford Street to find dinner because we heard there were lots of Christmas lights up along the street.  It was simply amazing to see, and the absolute best part was that it started to snow!  It only lasted for about five minutes, but it was so magical to walk down the streets of London at Christmas time, hand in hand with my loving husband with snow falling all around us.  A memory I will cherish and never forget.  


My camera battery died at that point, but we went out to eat at a place called Garfunkel's for a delicious dinner.  We then took the tube back to the hotel, picked up our luggage, and took the tube to the airport to meet my in-laws, who were flying in from Denmark.  Their flight was delayed so we had to wait for about three hours, but it was honestly for the best because we were both completely exhausted from all of the walking around we did over the two days in London.  When we found out the plane was delayed, we bought a Christmas puzzle book and sat in the airport drinking hot chocolate and doing puzzles together.  We were excited to see my in-laws when they arrived, and we all drove back to Lechlade together.    

Next up: Christmas Eve and Christmas

Love,
Caitlin 

15 comments:

  1. Love love love this, Caitlin....can't even imagine seeing those wonderful places in person!

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  2. you lucky lucky woman! it looks like you really enjoyed yourself! memories you'll never forget. I absolutely lover the pictures with the sphynx and big Ben!!!

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  3. I kept thinking..."I saw that on T.V. when Prince William married Catherine!" So cool!

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    1. I know! It was soooo cool to be there and think about all of that!

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  4. Your trip looks so fun!! Did you get random people to take pics for you? They are so good! I never have that much luck when strangers take my pic. :)

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    1. Some of them were random people taking them, some of I pulled out the tripod...poor Thomas :)

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  5. Yep, that's the courtyard at Westminster Abbey. I remember it from when I was there on Holy Saturday in 1998. (We had a 24 hour layover in London before flying to Ireland.) We managed to be the last people let in on Holy Saturday because my mom claimed I was a pilgrim. (Technically, I was -- I'm Anglican by background.) I was blown away by the size of the building... until my mom told me that the cathedral in Cologne, Germany (where she had been a month earlier) was 4-5 times larger.

    Have you had the experience of being in awe at how old various buildings are? I know that coming from the USA where nothing is older than maybe 375 years tops (things are definitely not that old in California), it completely blew my mind to go into churches in Ireland that dated back 1000 years. Even "newer" buildings (only 400 years old) were amazing to me.

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    1. Ohhh okay!! Thanks for letting me know! I can't believe the one in Germany is that much bigger. Wow!

      And yes, absolutely, totally, and completely in awe! It was just unreal to see such old buildings.

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  6. Your pictures are beautiful! I want to go!! lol

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  7. Caitlin, LOVE your pictures! So, so jealous-- I want to go so bad! It sounds amazing. The royal wedding fanatic in me is extra jealous you got to see Westminster Abbey :)

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    1. Ahhh I just wish we could have seen the inside!!! :)

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  8. Your photos are gorgeous as always! I am so glad that you and Thomas had a great time in England! You are making me miss my time in Europe!

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    1. Thanks Jessica! You're so sweet! I hope you had a wonderful New Year's! :)

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  9. Wow what an incredible trip!! Love you photos! And determination to get certain shots no matter how embarassing :)

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  10. London is my favoorite place in the whole world! I love reminiscing by looking at your photos.

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