Friday, June 19, 2009

Being Solo

I had high hopes of waking up and conquering London on my own. My mind thought it would be great to get up shortly after Shawn left for work, and get in another full day. My body thought otherwise. We had been staying up late, and getting up early every day for the past week while in Spain. My body finally couldn't take it any more. So instead of getting up early, my lazy self stayed in bed until 11ish. It was heavenly...but also shortened my day.

Despite the fact that I started later than I had hoped, I still feel like I was able to have an enjoyable day. I hopped on the Underground and headed to London Bridge. As I was emerged from the station I passed by a Pasty stand. Our family has pasty regularly, and I never realized it came from here. I hadn't eaten lunch so I grabbed one, and headed down the street to my destination. I have to say it was good, but I prefer our recipe over theirs.

I sat down and took in my view.

As I sat there eating my pasty I was marveled by the fact that I was actually here. I was staring at London's Tower Bridge! It is interesting sightseeing by yourself. It gives you alot of time to think. I think part of the fun of traveling is being able to share that with someone else. To discuss the history, and have insight from another's point of view. I had a wonderful day, but definitely would prefer being with someone.

I made my way along the Thames River, and passed by a cute little shopping place called Hay's Galleria. It once was a loading dock where tea, coffee and butter were shipped and stored. Over time they roofed it over, and the former warehouses now house shops, bars, and restaurants. In the middle of this quaint little area is an interesting sculpture called "The Navigators". Luckily I didn't get sprayed...but it is known to squirt water at people passing by.

I continued on the Thames, all the while getting closer to the bridge. I finally stopped someone to take a picture. They were doing some construction on the bridge so they had opened up the towers so you could view the original hydraulic engines, and actually walk across the bridge from the top. I contemplated going up there, but then was told that the 'lifts' were not operating. I didn't feel like climbing hundreds of stairs. Instead I headed across the river to the Tower of London.

If any of you watch The Tudors...this is where it all takes place. It has been around 900 years and has acted as a royal palace, a fortress, a prison, the official mint, and even a menagerie. Many traitors and victims of political feuds have been imprisoned here, and 3 Queens have lost their heads on Tower Green.

I didn't have time to spend the day exploring the towers. I wish that I would have...but alas that will have to be saved for another trip. It was so intriguing walking around this place knowing so many people had lost their lives here, and in some of the gruesome of ways.

Here I am in the downtown part of the city at the Monument. It was built to commemorate the "Great Fire of London of 1666".

I then took a little detour. Shawn and I like to collect certain things when we travel. I am not one to get many knick knacks...I just don't know where to put them. Instead I like getting an ornament for our Christmas tree. It is nice to reminisce with the family about where and when we went to each year. Our other trademark souvenir is getting a Hard Rock magnet. We don't always eat at the Hard Rock, but if there is one in the city we are visiting we stop by the gift shop to get a magnet. The cool thing about their magnets are that they are unique to each Hard Rock. This my attempt of taking a picture by myself.

Close to Hard Rock was the Wellington Arch. The arch was moved from it original location in the late 1800's and is now the center a large traffic island. I would have loved to go inside, but they had closed the exhibit for a private party. :(

After my full day I met up with Shawn and some of his coworkers Bill, and Mohib. Mohib had recommended this great restaurant in near Piccadilly called the Sugar Reef. I was a little wary because I don't do seafood, but was pleasantly surprised. The food was yummy (I got a steak of course).

Overall it was a great day. I got to see alot, but really wish I had more time to see more than just the outside of things. I just found it hard to spend money on something that I was doing alone., and my time was so limited...I could have spent almost the entire day at The Tower of London. Maybe next time I will have to splurge, and do it anyway.

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2 people know I LOVE comments!:

Casey said...

I love reading about your Europe trip! It looks so beautiful! and what an amazing expierence, I hope one day I get to go!! Your pictures are great! I love the one of the ferris wheel :) That would be great on the wall.

Shannon said...

How brave of you to go off on your own. I'm also impressed that you took pictures of yourself. I would have forgotten to do that. Well you look very cute glad you had fun.

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