Finally in London!
Yes we really did use a Map! This wasn’t posed!
Our Group! (Left to Right: Rojo, Virginia, Me, and Maddi)
After a rough start, and a good night’s rest, we started our first day in London! After breakfast (provided by our hostel!), we took the 30 minute walk to see some famous London landmarks. We first got to see Big Ben and the Parliament Building! Across the street from clock was Westminster Abbey and its sister church, St. Margaret’s. We toured the inside of St. Margaret’s , but not Westminster, since the line was too long and expensive. St. Margaret’s was beautiful on the inside and held the remains of many from over the centuries. I actually felt a little uncomfortable walking down the isles since these held graves, and I felt like I was disrespecting the dead by standing on them! I was unable to take pictures of the inside, but one thing that my friend pointed out (and asked about!) was the stained glass on the left side of the church depicted stories of the bible, while the stained glass on the right side only had grey and yellows of mismatched stained glass. This was because during WWII, a bomb went off on the right side of the church, destroying the windows. When the windows were replaced in the 1960’s, it was decided that the windows would represent the bombing and smoke, as a reminder of the war.
After admiring the churches, we took a walk to Buckingham Palace. It was huge! Although I was surprised and a little disappointed as to how plain Buckingham was. Compared to other town structures, there was nothing ornate or interesting to the building. The gates surrounding the palace were beautiful and decorated in gold garnishes. As always, the Queen’s Guards were marching outside!
Next to Buckingham Palace is Green Park. It’s entrance holds matching gates to those that surround the palace. We took a walk through it to make our way to Piccadilly Circus. Piccadilly Circus is a road intersection with many popular shops and restaurants. A few blocks off of Piccadilly Circus we enjoyed lunch at Steak & Co. I had a Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Salad. Maddi and Virginia had Bacon and Chicken on top of Fries, and Rojo had Baked Bacon Mac N Cheese. I definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for a casual place to eat in London!
London is home to Hamleys Toy Shop, aka a 257 year old toy store! It is the oldest and largest toy shop in the world! Hamleys original location was in High Holborn, London and moved to its current location in 1880! The Store had 5 floors and everything from teddy bears to full sized costumes of Stormtroopers. Next was a quick stop to get some frozen coffees and check out a book store that pulled us in with its representation of the US government (pictured above). Turns out the display was for a book written in 1935 that has become a bestseller in the Uk.
We ended the long day with a trip to the British Museum and got to see some ancient jewelry, the Mummy of Cleopatra and the Rosetta Stone as some of the highlights!