M & K in San Diego

the west coast adventures of two east coast kids

Posts tagged exhaustion

3 notes

Epic UK Adventure: Day 2

After a good night’s sleep, we were ready to conquer London once more. This time, we were starting at the heart of some of the bloodiest (and most interesting) history of the city: the Tower of London.

We got to the Tower grounds before the gates opened, so we were some of the first to enter the area. K had done her research and knew we needed to head for the Crown Jewels first, as the lines would get ridiculously long later in the day. Great success! We saw so many precious gems our heads were spinning, and all of us were amazed to think of the royal heads the various crowns had sat upon. (No pictures of the royal regalia, sadly, but you have to see the world’s largest cut diamond to believe it anyway, so we suggest you go to London.)

After viewing the Jewels, we joined a Beefeater tour that was just beginning. “Beefeater” is a term which refers to the Yeomen Warders who guard the Tower and have done so since the time of the Tudors. They are still considered to be “on guard” - they safeguard the Crown Jewels, live on the Tower grounds, and also care for the Tower ravens. In their spare time, they give tours. Awesome, hilarious, gruesome tours.

The Beefeaters make sure to dwell on the bloodiest, most shocking stories of British history - the story of Henry VIII and his wives, especially Anne Boleyn; the story of the two young princes who were murdered by their uncle in his quest for the throne, and whose bodies were eventually discovered walled up in a stairwell in the Tower; and of course multiple stories of torture taking place in the dungeons. It’s a great tour! Highly recommended if you ever visit London and the Tower. After the tour, we wandered the grounds some more, visiting the Beauchamp Tower (famous for the carvings in its walls from prisoners throughout the centuries), the execution site within the Tower grounds (where there is now a memorial to the executed), and the White Tower museum (which boasts displays of Henry XIII’s armor as well as the actual execution block, ax, and executioner’s mask).

My my, look at that codpiece!

We had a brief moment of terror when K realized she had put her (nice, expensive) camera down and forgotten to pick it back up. Frantically, we raced around trying to find it. Finally, K asked one of the Beefeaters where to find lost and found items, and just at that moment, he got a message on his walkie talkie that a camera had been found and turned in. Crisis averted! Thank goodness for the Beefeaters. (And the kindness of strangers.)

We had spent several hours at the Tower by the time we were leaving, so after enjoying the view of Tower Bridge we headed to the Dickens Inn for some fish and chips and beer.

After a late, leisurely meal, we headed to the famed British Museum. With not much time left before it closed, we prioritized and headed for Egypt. We saw the Rosetta Stone (SO COOL), amazing Egyptian statues and art, and of course, the mummies.

Sadly, after an amazing day of touring, M & K (K especially) were amazingly exhausted. So, we all headed back to the hotel, where M & K ended up crashing for the rest of the night, while K’s dad and his wife went to Covent Garden for dinner and K’s brothers went out to a couple of pubs. M & K were disappointed to miss out - but the rest was sorely needed and definitely helped them to get in the groove for the rest of the trip!

Filed under travel epic UK adventure family trip london exhaustion tourists tower of london tower bridge beefeaters crown jewels british museum dickens inn rosetta stone

3 notes

Epic UK Adventure: Day 1

At the very end of July, M & K embarked on a nine-day journey through England and Scotland with K’s two brothers, her dad, and her dad’s wife. Full of crazy adventures, ridiculous family togetherness, and amazing experiences, it was an unforgettable trip.

Day One: We dropped the dogs off at camp, picked up Starbucks and sandwiches, and drove to the LA airport, where we hung out for several hours waiting for our flight. Thankfully, we had a nonstop flight straight to London, so once we boarded we were home free. M watched a total of four - yes, four - movies (Just Go With It, Battle: Los Angeles, Source Code, and Water for Elephants) on the way there. (K watched the first and last of those with him, read some, and slept as much as she could.) We discovered a passionate love of Virgin Atlantic and highly recommend flying Virgin at any opportunity. (Free drinks! Good food! Goody bags!!) As exhausted as we were by the time we finally reached our hotel (the Melbourne House Hotel) in London, we were still ready to go exploring (and get some food) - after all, it was the middle of the day there! We were staying right down the street from Parliament, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey, so that’s where we headed first.

We had planned to go to Westminster Abbey for the evensong - but as we walked over, we saw signs that it had been postponed until later. So since we were already there, we decided just to tour it instead. K was especially fascinated by all the history inside, and was strangely moved to see the tombs of Elizabeth I, Mary I, and Mary Queen of Scots, as well as those of such pillars of music and literature as Handel and Chaucer.

As we left that area, waving goodbye to Big Ben (and having visions of Peter Pan and Wendy flying around the face of the enormous clock), we headed up Whitehall and saw the remnants of Whitehall Palace (another geek moment for K). Just before reaching Trafalgar Square, we realized we could not go any further without sustenance and good beer, so we headed into the Lord Moon of the Mall for some fish ‘n chips and British ale. First, of course, we had to take a touristy photo.

After getting food, we pressed on. We saw the building that stood in for Gringotts in the Harry Potter movies, the Royal Courts of Justice, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Millennium Bridge. We stopped along our walk for another pint, because, you know, that’s what you do. Also because it was called Ye Olde Cock Tavern and had a fun poem in the entry way.

By the time we crossed over the Thames by way of the Millennium Bridge (with a lovely view of the Tower Bridge lit up by the sunset), we were all a little loopy from exhaustion. In our delirious state we entered the Tate Modern. This may not have been the best plan, in hindsight - we younger folk ended up playing in the kiddie area, making up new names for the modern art we saw everywhere, and basically making a nuisance of ourselves.

Yeah, by then it was time to go back to the hotel, get some food at the Italian place down the street, and collapse into bed. After an approximately 30 hour day, it was definitely time.

Filed under travel epic UK adventure family trip london exhaustion virgin atlantic melbourne house hotel westminster abbey london parliament big ben lord moon of the mall tourists