We will be the first to admit that we completely underestimated London. There was so much to see and do that we just couldn't fit it all in! Unlike most of our other European vacations, we spent a lot of time on public transportation in London; the tube, buses and taxis ... everything is so spread out. But it was comforting to be somewhere in Europe where we could actually communicate in English and read a menu!
A second trip to London is definitely in order ...
We flew to London in lieu of driving. Kelty has become quite independent packing and traveling with his own carry-on luggage. I found a cheap rolling backpack for him and of course I appliqued it!
Kelty takes safety of flight very seriously and took a few minutes to familiarize himself with the aircraft's emergency evacuation procedures.
We had a quick layover in Amsterdam and I was so happy to come across this CHOCOLATE BAR! Oh my ... I do hope we have another layover in Amsterdam on a future trip!
We arrived in London Friday evening and hit the ground Saturday morning. They British are so kind to tell you which way to look before crossing the street!
We were fortunate to visit Buckingham Palace on a day where we could witness the Changing of the Guard. We also got lucky with "up front" viewing at the gate. I had to post this photo of Kelty and his nose smushed up against the iron fence ... perhaps he was marking his territory?
Ok, to be honest .... watching the Changing of the Guard was a bit, umm ... comical. It takes about 30-45 minutes and their is a lot of "pomp" when everyone arrives during the 1st 15 minutes .... then who the heck knows what is happening after that! The men were breaking off in pairs and just marching around .... marching to this corner, turning around, marching back, turning around, oh ... let's march over to this corner, etc. I assume if I were to Google it they would be doing some sort of check of the perimeter before the change-over? But bottom line ... it's a lot of marching. :o) We left early. But don't get me wrong ... we are very fortunate have witnessed it!
After leaving Buckingham we took a nice walk through Green Park which used to be a part of King Henry VIII's hunting grounds.
We walked around the Houses of Parliament and took the token photo of the clock tower which is home to Big Ben. The Parliament building are truly massive and gorgeous!
Just across the street was Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately is was "closed" for the day and we didn't get the opportunity to visit ... just admire from the outside. I guess we'll revisit on trip number #2!
Kelty is infatuated with "transportation"; buses, car, planes, boats. Here were waiting for one of our many buses where Kelty was proudly holding onto is very own little London Bus toy.Yes we did! This is the very crosswalk the Beatles strutted across for the album cover of Abbey Road! They actually have a camera that broadcasts the crosswalk "live" and we were tempted to call the families and say "look look" ... but we didn't. We found a family to take a photo of us walking the crosswalk ... unfortunately it's not from the same angle and because it was at dusk, the camera struggled but we still love the photo.
Now, I don't eat fish .... but I HAD TO while in London. I have to admit, it was pretty good! They serve their Fish-n-Chops with lemon, salt, and vinegar.
I just had to post this photo ... when we got back to the hotel we grabbed a drink at the bar to take up to the room. We walked into the elevator and promptly after the door closed we were hit by "the gift" the previous occupant left behind .... it was a long ride up to the 8th floor!
Then we took Kelty to the London Aquarium ... something fun for the kiddo since I'm sure visiting castles and antique shops is not high on his "fun list" ...
Then we took a London Taxi to the Rainforest Cafe for a fun lunch. Our lunch at the Rainforest Cafe is possibly the closest meal to "normal" we've ever experienced with Kelty. With all of the great things for Kelty to look at, we actually ate a full meal ... and dessert!
That afternoon we visited the Tower of London, which isn't really a tower. The Tower of London is popularly know for the place where those who committed treason were held and historical figures like Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey were executed. This place was so HUGE we didn't see half of it during our 2-hour visit. We did get the opportunity to see the Jewel House where the actual Crown Jewels are held (under TIGHT security) and the Armory Gallery which houses armory from the Stewart and Tudor era. This yet another place we have to go back and visit because we didn't see enough ...