Today is our final day in London before we continue on our journey.
I’ve fallen in love with this city in these fleeting days. I love that it’s similar to New York in that it’s never turned off. There are people everywhere speaking every imaginable language and dressed every conceivable way. There is always another street to dart down, another corner to discover. It’s full of this vivid history that is just pulsing underneath our baby feet. And if you’re bored of one little neighborhood, the tube is there to take you somewhere equally magnificent. I love the gardens, the buildings, the museums, and the pubs with their odd names. I love the people. Maybe I’m just a city girl on the inside, but I would love love love to live here for a bit. A scant for days are not enough.
Yesterday Jes and I went to the British Museum. It is amazing. Much like the Metropolitan Museum of Art back home, it would take years to fully see and appreciate it all. When I was little I read this story of a little sister and brother who run away from home to live in the Met. (The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweller) I think the British Museum would be just as fun to hide away in! They have the Rosetta Stone, along with an awe-inspiring amount of Egyptian art and mummies, and also probably more Greek statues from the Parthenon than are left in Greece. As I heard today, the Brits were really quite good at “collecting” (see plundering and stealing). The mummies were a bit freaky, but everything else we managed to see was so cool! There was an entire room devoted to clocks!
Afterwards, we hopped the tube and went to St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was breathtaking. I can’t quite get over the grandeur and size of these buildings. I’m used to the staggering height of skyscrapers. These buildings are these almost intimidating behemoths, looming above us common folk. We were lucky enough to get to the cathedral during 5 pm mass so we could go inside. Despite being raised Catholic, I never felt that I wanted to get married in a church, but this church would sway an atheist’s mind. Jes and I tore through most of these places in our mad dash to see it all, but I would love to come back and just spend hours upon hours surrounded by the beauty of London.
For our evening entertainment, we saw a production of Avenue Q at this pub called Upstairs at the Gatehouse. It was really brilliant, and just as funny as when I saw it years ago! It was a very intimate setting and you could bring as many drinks as you liked into the theatre.
Today, I went on a tour from New Tours Europe. They offer free tours where the guides operate on tips alone, and then really cool specialized tours which don’t cost too much. Our spirited guide Sonja, was really fun and vivacious. She knew so many stories about London. We went to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey/Palace, Big Ben, Downing Street, Prince Charles’s residence, Green Park, and so much more. We stopped by one of the palaces King Henry VIII lived in, and she picked girls out of our group to play his 6 wives. I nearly died fangirling when she plucked me out for Anne Boleyn. In high school, my best friend and I devoured so many books on the Tudor dynasty and the Boleyn family especially. Ah! So fun! I made friends with some of the people on the tour and we stopped at a pub afterwards.
On the way back, I got off the tube at Baker Street and took a picture at 221b, also known as the residence of Sherlock Holmes. I fully disclose and embrace my geekiness.
Just grabbed dinner at this amazing dim sum place called Ping Pong Marketplace, which had these little veggie filled sticky rice pouches all wrapped up in leaves. It was like a healthy, not greasy and gross, hot pocket. SO YUM. I know what I’ll be trying to recreate back in New York!
I’m going to miss London SO much. Jes and I had more mishaps than we did in Reykjavik, but London calls to me. Ah, well, life leads where it will, and if I work really hard, maybe it will lead back to lovely London.
Always with love,