Friday, August 22, 2014

London & Brussels 2014 {Day Two~Part Two)

Here is my conclusion of Day Two post:

After lunch at Borough Market, I walked to Millennium Bridge.  I got a great view of the Shard on my way.  The Shard is currently the tallest building in the European Union.  There is an observation deck on the 72nd floor which I had intentions of visiting later in my trip, but it didn't end up working out.

I also passed by The Globe Theatre...
The Millennium Bridge is a foot bridge across the River Thames...
My reason for wanting to cross the MB, is that as you cross, you get a fabulous view of St. Paul's Cathedral.

and some other nice views as well...
Here is a little video I shot of the surroundings from the bridge.
Not super exciting, but at the beginning you can see The Globe Theatre, and then see how St. Paul's rises up as you cross the bridge...

I was in a bit of a rush to get to Westminster, so I didn't go around to the front of the Cathedral.
I had been here before, and in fact attended a Sunday service there.
So I just took a few quick pics of the side.
It is stunning from any side
After that, I walked down to Mansion House underground station and took the tube to Earl's Court to do a quick unload of my bag at the hotel since I had bought a bunch of stuff at the gift shops that morning.

This is the pub at the end of the street where my hotel was located.  Of course I loved it's flowers too!
After unloading, I took the tube to Westminster to see all the sights there.
Westminster Abbey was my first stop because it's tours ended first.
I had visited Westminster Abbey a couple of times before...
but I have to say that I enjoyed it more this time for a few of reasons.
First, there was a "new" audio tour.  It was narrated by Jeremy Irons, and it was easy to go at your own pace.
Second, over the past few years, I've read quite a few books about the War of the Roses, which took place between 1455 and 1487, between the House of Plantagenet and the houses of Lancaster and York.  So this time around, I was much more informed about many of the people who are laid to rest in the Abbey... as in "Oh my gosh!  There is the tomb of Margaret Beaufort!".  Total nerd alert!
Third, it was exciting to see the Abbey and remember what it looked like during the recent Royal Wedding.
I wish that photos were allowed inside, but 
you can take a few pictures once in the courtyard...

As soon as I walked outside, I saw this taxi.
Of course, I love the black taxis too, and in this area of town, they are quite plentiful!
I then walked back to the bridge toward the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben.
Big Ben is really just the clock and the bell.  It is officially called the Elizabeth Tower.
But whatever you want to call it (and I call it Big Ben), I love this icon of London!

I walked across the bridge to take some photos.  I remember I was hoping to not get rained on, but I had no idea until I looked at my photos, just how ominous the clouds were!

After my photo-op, I walked over to the London Eye.
I had booked a Flexi-Fast Pass for the day, which meant that I could ride anytime that day, and skip most of the lines.
It was the most expensive ticket option, but for my purposes, it was the right choice.
If you had asked me right after I got off of the ride if I thought it was worth it, I would have without a doubt told you "No".

But after looking at the photographs I got from that unique vantage point, I think I have changed my mind!  Here is St. Paul's in the distance.
Westminster Palace, Big Ben, and part of Westminster Abbey...

One final look at Big Ben, and then I hopped on the underground at Westminster and traveled back to Earl's Court.  I had walked a ton that day, my feet (& darn ankle) were hurting, and I decided to have dinner in my room and turn in early.
I needed to recharge my batteries because I had a very early day scheduled on Thursday.

Stay tuned for Day Three...
"Psst: It was the one I was most excited about going into my trip!)



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