I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

London: Arrival and Sightseeing

We flew to London today on Delta airlines and this has got to be the most uneventful series of flights I have ever had with Delta! Our flights were on time and our bags arrived with us. Hurray! Maybe I can take Delta off of my bad list now! We arrived in London Heathrow around 11:20 pm. After making our way through customs and picking up our suitcases, we proceeded to the Underground where I had decided I wanted to try that route to get to the hotel instead of acquiring a taxi. This was a great idea! It took us about 30 minutes to take the Picadilly line straight from the airport (where it dead ends) to the Earl's Court station. We did not even have to change lines! We walked from the train station to our hotel, The Nadler Kensington. Our rooms were ready and after freshening up just a bit, we left to see some sights and get our bodies into the sunlight. The best way to combat jetlag and reset your body clock is NOT to go to sleep when you arrive but to hit the pavement and expose your body to sun. This will affect your natural hormone production in a positive way and help your body adjust well to the new time zone. We had planned to have some lunch, but Westminster was closing earlier than I expected so we decided to skip lunch altogether. We had eaten the plane meals and weren't very hungry anyway. We got on the tube going the wrong way and had to jump off and go back to find the correct ride. This was my fault, but I usually make a few errors early on in my trips with public transit. Every city is different in how they orient their direction of transportation.

We went to Westminster Abbey because I wanted Maddie to see where the new King of England would be crowned. This will happen in her lifetime and it's always kind of cool to say "Hey, I've been there! Westminster Abbey stretches back 1000 years in history and since 1066 it has been the site of every Royal Coronation except for two, Edward the V and Edward the VIII. It is a very beautiful Gothic style church with such pretty stained glass. Photos inside are not allowed and we were so disappointed. I told Maddie that she would just have to soak it up and sear it into her memory.

After leaving Westminster, we walked toward and admired Big Ben.

We crossed over the river Thames and took turns taking pictures of each other with Big Ben and Parliament in the background. It's a beautiful view! We then crossed back over the bridge and walked along the river toward the Embankment station.

The London Eye...a slow as molasses way to get a view over the city!
stopping to admire the Battle of Britain monument along the river bank

I was curious about a brightly colored area, Neal's Yard, that I had read about while researching for this trip. Maddie likes "artistic areas" and "graffiti art" and this was mentioned as a colorful area to visit while in London.

 Neal's Yard definitely was colorful but was just something pretty to see and it wasn't near as pretty as what I had seen on the internet. Perhaps that was because of scaffolding in the area, but I was disappointed!

We left there and went to nearby Covent Garden which is a shopping area that we enjoy spending time in.

I snagged a few of these to take back to the hotel!
It took us awhile to figure out exactly how this guy was doing this!

Our original quest at Covent Garden was to find the delicious Thornton's ice cream we had snacked on in past visits, but it wasn't located there anymore!! Instead we ate Venchi gelato which is a company from Italy that I was familiar with and it was amazing!!

We enjoyed every bit of the tiny scoops. Maddie got 2 little scoops of coffee gelato, Debbie chose milk chocolate and strawberry and I had just one tiny scoop of 72% cocoa dark chocolate. It was very refreshing and we also found my favorite Laduree macarons! I am infatuated with the little boxes and have quite a collection from my travels. This one was special because the Queen of England is celebrating her 90th birthday this year (April).

As we made our way to the Underground for our next stop, we were distracted by a pair of outdoor jugglers/performers that had drawn a crowd.

This little girl in particular was mesmerized!

They were very entertaining! We got back on the tube and stopped to see Piccadilly Circus before going back to the hotel for dinner. Piccadilly circus is the theater district of London with a "circus" or "circle", a round open space in the center of a street junction.

Piccadilly Circus...at night this is lit up like Broadway in New York City

It was at the Piccadilly Stop that I inadvertently left Debbie and Maddie standing on the side of the platform when the doors closed behind me on the subway car before they could get on. Thankfully Maddie had heard me say the name of the stop we were headed to as I smiled and waved goodbye to them. I waited for them at the next stop which was our stop near the hotel, Earl's Court. I was so proud of Maddie for paying attention when I was discussing stops because my phone wasn't receiving their texts while I was underground! We all learned a lesson to communicate before getting on the subway (Tube) in case we are separated again. Sometimes those doors close fast or there are crowds of people that can separate you from your group. For dinner, we went down the street to Zizzi's which is one of my favorite Italian restaurants here.

They have several locations. We managed to get through dinner without falling asleep in our plates. We were so hungry after skipping lunch, and just having ice cream, that we didn't even take any pictures of our meal before we gobbled it up! After dinner, it was a short walk back to the hotel where we were given little boxes of chocolates in celebration of Maddie's 18th birthday and her graduation.

It was a sweet gesture and we are now in our respective rooms preparing for a full whirlwind day tomorrow! Until then.....

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