Yesterday was quite a busy day. We essentially did all of London in a day! We started at 8:30 AM with a pretty extensive breakfast buffet at our hotel. Then our tour guide picked us up for our four hour, four mile walking tour.
From our hotel, we walked to Kensington Palace, where a lot of Dukes and Duchesses reside. Then, we continued to walk through Kensington Gardens where we saw monuments for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. I was surprised by the grandiose nature of the latter. It was at least 150 feet tall, with gold all over and four statues representing the four known continents at the time – Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The one for the Americas had a buffalo on it – it was not the America we think of today!
Memorial to Queen Victoria
Memorial to Prince Albert
Then, we continued to walk through the park until the park became Hyde Park. We walked down to a giant man made pond and saw the memorial fountain for Princess Diana. It was pretty small and I was expecting something more grand. It was basically a small waterfall with a pool at the bottom of it.
Lake in Hyde Park
Memorial Fountain for Princess Diana
Then, we walked through a few gardens and exited Hyde Park about a half mile from Buckingham Palace. We tried to see the changing of the guards, but only caught bits and pieces because it was so crowded. On our way to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, we did catch a small parade, though. After we saw everything, we hopped on the tube to the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. After that, our tour ended and I was exhausted.
Channeling my inner Guard
Tower of London
We went to a pub after the tour for a bite to eat. After, my roommate and I walked across the Tower Bridge and down the river bank for about a mile. Then, we hopped on the tube to the London Eye. We met up with a group of 5-6 other people and did the Eye together. It was much better the second time because it was sunnier, I actually knew what I was looking down at, and I was with people I knew.
Group shot on the London Eye
Then, we headed to Harrods, the world’s largest department store. It had anything and everything. They had amazing electronics an even a whole section dedicated to spy gadgets like what James Bond uses.
After Harrods, we went back to our hotel for a half hour and headed out to dinner at a French restaurant after.
We had to wake up at 6:00 AM in order to catch our 9:15 AM train to Paris. We are on the train now and I am thoroughly enjoying the relaxing ride.
After our train arrives, we have a coach tour of the city, then dinner at a French bistro, and a cruise at night on the Seine River. It should be a great day!
Note: This post was originally published on May 18, 2012 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe…Again” which chronicled my post-graduation trip across Europe.