9th July 2009
I arrived in London on the 9th July at about 6am after having slept most of the flight over (which was great!!) as it made the plane trip a lot quicker than I had expected. I basically woke up with about 4hrs to go, ate, watched a movie and then we were landing. Lauren and her dad picked me up from the airport and took me back to were they had been staying to shower and eat etc. and met up with Nicole and Sarah who had arrived earlier that morning. We then headed off to The Generator hostel on the tube, checked in and went to get something to eat. We ended up at an Indian restaurant where I ordered a Prawn Cocktail that was 3/4 sauce and some Chicken Curry.
We then went to the British Museum where we all decided to meet back at a certain time as we all wanted to go our seperate ways. Nicole and I had pretty much the same idea - ambush the place as quickly as possible. I mean, I love museums, but they are so huge you need to do it quickly, grab pamplets and read about it later... well, if you want to! We had covered most of the museum in about 1 hour. I did take quite a lot of photos here, one of my favs is probably the one of a mummy and I...
We also stumbled across the Rosetta Stone, which I honestly had no idea what it was and pretty much walked straight past it until we realised there were crowds of people around the area taking photos. Sarah had said it was a 'must see' before we seperated so we took a photo then read about it. Turns out, it's quite important: 'The Rosetta Stone carries an inscription in different languages which helped decipher the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script'. The same thing happened with the Elgin Marbles: Nicole and I were freaked out by the amount of headless statues that we decided to skip that room. I was secretly looking for marbles...
The Rosette Stone
I really enjoyed the Assyrian section of the Bristish Museum. Some of the lion carvings where a little distressing, but overall, quite remarkable.
Assyrian Court Scene (about 865-860 BC)
After meeting back up, we all headed back to the hostel and had some drinks.
10th July 2009
After a hectic morning we finally made it to the Camden Markets. I absolutely LOVED IT. I bought two dresses for about £15-18 each: so cute! Did I mention it was HUGE? In hindsight I would have totally spent all my time and money here, rummaging through all the funky things - seriously though, I do think they top ANY of Sydney's markets that I have ever been to.
The 2 dresses I bought
After the markets we walked back to the hostel for some dinner and then we were off again on our own little London pub crawl. Okay, so we only went to 3 and one of them was an Irish pub, but geez, drinks in London are a little pricey!
One thing I noticed about London was that most of the people are foreign. Maybe it was just the area at the time, but there were a lot of Aussies. Come to think of it, I don't think I met any British people! Another thing that I noticed, was that you can also tell a tourist by their shoes: Those in heels or those walking in pain (probably from walking in heels until eventually giving in and wearing flats) are usually foriegn.
11th July 2009
First stop: Harrods! Tell me something, what does this place NOT have? I was told later in the day they even have a pet store inside! Crazy. Again I think I could have spent a day, or 2, in here exploring the levels. Instead we strolled around and made our way to the food hall filled with cheeses, avocado filled with lobster (only £15.95 each) and amazing salads. We eventually decided on 2 different salads and a snack each and were going to head over to Hyde Park to eat in the sun under a tree but alas, being London - the rain appeared, so we went to starbucks instead!
My 2nd love: Cheese at Harrods!
After lunch we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The place was gorgeous, inside and out! Of course, I loved the fashion and jewellery sections. The amount of detail in the fashion pieces, seeing an original John Galliano from Summer 1987 and the charming jewellery dating back hundreds of years, pretty much blew my mind. Looking back, this was definitely my favourite museum. While Nicole and I were walking around we came across the Library which we went into to take a snap for one of Nicole's friends who likes libraries and in doing so, got told to leave our bags and sign in to go any further, so instead of actually going in Nicole pulled out her camera to take a quick photo and was told, and you have to say this in the strictest voice possible, "you cant take pictures in here" as the flash went off and then just walked out. Crazy Librarian.
We then continued marching. Next stop: Buckingham Palace. The place was huge-mungus!
Me at the front of what appears to be some sort of prison, but is in fact a Palace.
We had to walk around the entire palace before we reached the entrance and saw a guard marching up and down. Must be the world's most boring-est job. Anyway, I think by this stage we were all needing foot massages and and UMBRELLA as it decided to suddenly poor down with rain. We were all trying to fit under the pillars at the front which had about a 20cm coverage. I even had 3 ponchos AND an umbrella back at the hostel, but in the end we came to terms that we were in fact, defeated by the rain, and so we soildered on to meet up with Sarah at the Tower of London. Nicole and Lauren headed off to a local pub for some drinks while Sarah and I had a tour of the Tower. The tour is run by the Yeoman Warders (aka 'Beefeaters') who are responsible for looking after prisoners and the British crown jewels. They live in the tower and the list of requirements to become one is very impressive. The outfits on the other hand. Poor guys. I suppose thats why they have a great sense of humour!
Lauren and I at the front of the Tower of LondonSarah and I with our Beefeater tour guide, Alan
As we were standing in line to go see the crown jewels, I ran to get some coffee as it looked like it was taking forever, but when I got back, Sarah was already up to the door waiting for me so we could go in! Turns out, no drinks allowed inside! Typical. So we littered, and headed in. The crown jewels are gorgeous, huge and not to mention weird. I think the highlight was definitely the spoons and I have come to believe that everyone should own a sceptre.
Heading out of the Tower of London you come to the Tower Bridge which is just beautiful. I could have stood there for awhile if it wasnt for the rain!
So after our short (2 hour!) tour we started another: The Grim Reapers tour of London. We had also succumbed to the rain and bought ponchos. It was a great fashion statement!
The tour started around the Tower of London where we were told stories of be-headings (Nicole's favourite!) and then continuing over to the East End where we were told about Jack the Ripper and his victims, baby killers and other gruesome events. I thought the tour was fun, but I was glad for it to be over. The walk back to the hostel was painful. Apparently I looked like I was skiing, which was fine by me! The less movement and pressure, the better!
12th July 2009
After having out final breakfast at the hostel, Nicole and I went to see if we could by some proper walking shoes. Turns out, shops are closed on Sundays until about 11am and we had to be at St Pancras station AT 11am to catch our train to Paris! Typical. So no proper walking shoes as yet!
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