London-Day 6

The sixth day or our trip to London was a good day but looking back it was the beginning of something that wasn’t so good. When I woke up that morning I felt the tiniest of tickles on the roof of my mouth. So many times in my life when I’ve had colds they begin with that first symptom. However, in recent years I’ve been fortunate that when I spot the first sign I’m able to fight off the cold before it takes hold by taking tons of vitamin C. I had an entire Ziploc Bag full of vitamin C drops that I had brought from Los Angeles so I hoped that if I sucked on those all day then I wouldn’t get sick. I felt fine but looking back I realize that that tickle was the beginning of my first cold of the season, but more on that in future blog entries.

That morning was the first time we made eggs for breakfast. All of the prior days we had premade quiches that we had purchased at the grocery story down the street. Making eggs for breakfast is pretty easy but not as easy as heating up a premade quiche. I went to make the eggs when I realized I couldn’t figure out how to turn the stove top in our kitchen on. I asked my husband to help me but he couldn’t figure it out either. I called down to the front desk and they gave me directions but for some reason I still couldn’t figure it out. I began to get very irritated. I called the front desk again and they sent somebody up from maintenance to show us how to turn it on. Of course, it wasn’t that complicated but it certainly wasn’t super easy either. The other downside of making eggs instead of just heating up the premade quiches was that it made washing dishes more time consuming for my husband while I showered. We agreed that after we used up the rest of the eggs we had purchased that we would just by more premade quiches since it was much easier overall than making eggs.

After the dishes were washed and we were both showered we headed out for the day. Unlike the day before we were sticking to central London but that didn’t mean we didn’t have a jam packed day ahead of us. Our first stop was the London Eye. We had purchased flexible tickets that we could use at any time of day. We figured that would be best so we wouldn’t feel pressured. We had seen the London Eye many times from the air dating back to our first trip to Europe in 2011. We had also seen it on our second day from across the Westminster Bridge. This time we approached it from the other side and were impressed by its size.

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When we got to the line we were worried we had waited too long in the day to get there because we felt like the line was already pretty long. Because the line seemed long we decided to use the restroom before getting in line. We didn’t want to be in a position where we were in agony while waiting in line or worse not able to enjoy our ride on the London Eye because we had to use the restroom. When we finally got in line we were relieved to find the line moved pretty quickly.

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I’m sure that is in large part because the London Eye doesn’t stop like a traditional ferris wheel does.

Our ride on the London Eye was fantastic.

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From the moment you get one the views are spectacular.

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Naturally the higher we got the better the views became.

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Even though my husband is afraid of heights he was never really scared on our time on the London Eye.

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The down side of the London Eye never stopping is that your time at the top is very short.

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Before you know it you’re on your way down.

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When we got off the London Eye I wanted to get a picture of our empty pod before the next group boarded but my camera was too slow to capture the perfect picture. Instead I got the operator standing in front of the empty pod instructing me to move along.

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Oh well.

After we got off the London Eye we checked out the gift shop and bought a couple of things including an official London Eye photo and souvenir book.

The next thing on our list was something I had wanted to see ever since my brother-in-law told me about it in 1999, the London Dungeon. The London Dungeon was not included in our London Pass so we had to buy a separate ticket for it. We had a little bit of time between buying our tickets for the London Dungeon and our entry time which worked out well because it allowed us a bit of a rest to have a snack and go to the restroom. Unfortunately, we were not able to take pictures inside of the London Dungeon so this one outside is the only one I have.

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As for the London Dungeon itself it is a little cheesy but also a lot of fun. It is basically two short rides and a serious of room that present the dark side of London too you in little skits. The history is basic but interesting. My husband wasn’t really impressed but he was a good sport for doing it with me since he knew I had wanted to do it since before we met.

When we exited the London Dungeon it was lunch time. The quickest way back to the tube was to cross Westminster Bridge which is worth noting because that’s where the terrorist attack had been the week before our visit.

For lunch we decided to try to go have afternoon tea at one of the restaurants in the skyscraper called The Shard.

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Unfortunately, when we got to the restaurant we found they were all booked up for afternoon tea. We were both kicking ourselves because we should have known better than to think we could just waltz into a place like The Shard without a reservation for afternoon tea. The Shard does have a viewing deck but it was pretty expensive and since we had already gotten some pretty great views that day from the London Eye we decided to do something else.

Since we were both hungry we decided the most important thing was to find somewhere to eat before we lost it. Thankfully, we were close a place called the Borough Market where there were several restaurants to choose from.  We picked a Middle Eastern Restaurant called Arabica Bar & Kitchen. My husband and I both had flatbread dishes.

The food was very good. However, my drink was not. I have wanted to try Turkish coffee ever since I first saw “The Birdcage” in 1996, so when I saw it on the menu I had to go for it.

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I’m glad I tried it but I didn’t like it at all. Oh well, at least I know now. Still, the little piece of Turkish delight that came with it was good.

After lunch we wondered around the market for a while. We each bough a pack of fancy salt to use for cooking upon our return to Los Angeles, we were sure to buy two since not buying more salt was our biggest regret from our trip to the South of France last year and we didn’t to repeat that same mistake. While we were at the market I also purchased some loose leaf tea for my sister.

Upon completing our shopping at Borough Market we headed for our next location, a British War Ship called the HMS Belfast. But before we got there we saw the actual London Bridge.

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Obviously compared to the tower bridge it’s nothing to speak of but it is cool that I have seen the actual London Bridge.

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In fact I have seen the original bridge that is now located in Arizona.

The HMS Belfast was included in our London Pass which was nice so we didn’t have to pay a separate entrance fee. It was also nice because it normally takes at least two hours to see the ship and we only had an hour and a half to see it before it closed for the day. Since we weren’t paying extra money to see it we didn’t feel bad rushing. The ship was really cool.

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The ship was used by the British in both World War 2 and the Korean War. It was fascinating to get to go down into the depths of the ship.

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It was amazing to experience first hand just how many different levels a ship like that has.

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The audio guide gave us lots of interesting information. As much as I was intrigued with the depths of the ship I was actually more interested with the areas of the ship where the sailors lived and ate.

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The rooms where there soldiers slept in hammocks only two feet away from each other were amazing and really made me appreciate what close quarters the sailors lived in.

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We managed to have just enough time to go to the very top of the ship before it was time for the ship to close for the day.

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Our time on the HMS Belfast was brief but really cool.

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One thing I like to do on my travels is buy clothes. That way when I wear the clothes back in my normal life I am reminded of my trip. When the HMS Belfast closed for the day we had a little bit of time before we were to meet up with a friend of ours and since we found a men’s clothing store close to the HMS Belfast it felt like it was a good time for me to do my clothes shopping. I bought three shirts and a pair of sunglasses (since I also like to buy sunglasses in the different cities I travel to).

When I was done with my shopping it was time to head off to meet up with our friend. We met up with him by his flat. Then we went over to his flat and had a drink. I have to admit it was cool to see the inside of a British home. As the three of us hung out we got to hear various things about his family that we didn’t know. Such as the fact that is family traces all the way back to the Tutors and has an very impressive family home/castle in Yorkshire. Being Americans we were utterly fascinated by this and quite impressed. For him it was not big deal but we were in awe. Before heading back to our hotel our friend took us for a walk around his neighborhood and we got to enjoy a great view of the River Themes at night.

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Just like we had been on the fourth day of our trip when we met up with another friend we felt so happy to have local friends to hang out with. We made plans with our friend to meet up again while we were on our trip.

By the time we got back to our hotel we were both pretty tired but in a good way. There is nothing like spending a day doing the things in life that give you the most pleasure and the sixth day of our trip was certainly one of those days.

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Here is a description:

Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.

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