Saturday, January 23, 2016

"Look, kids, Big Ben, Parliament"

We got up this morning, ate our hot cross buns (seriously), hopped on an iconic double decker bus which took us to the tube station, where we changed modes of transportation and headed into the center of London to explore some of the famous sites. But, unlike Clark Griswold and his family in European Vacation, we opted for the hop on, hop off bus option, rather than driving ourselves around in circles. This was our first experience with a hop on, hop off bus, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Our ticket included the bus tour, plus a boat tour on the Thames. (It also included a walking tour, which we didn't get to. But, the ticket is good for two days, so maybe we'll get to that tomorrow.) It was chilly (especially on the top deck of the open-air bus), but the sun was shining this morning, which I think may be something of a miracle, so we soaked it up. Both our bus guide and our boat guide were entertaining and knowledgeable, and we learned a great deal about the city. Our one big stop for the day was the Tower of London, where we got to see interesting torture devices, gobs of armor and "weaponary," and the very special crown jewels. From there, we also had a great view of Tower Bridge, which everyone really loved.

Trafalgar Square

Westminster Abby

Big Ben
(You can't actually see Big Ben, as it is the name of the bell inside
the clock tower. But everyone has taken to calling the tower itself
by that familiar moniker. So, there you go.)

Parliament, sitting on the bank of the Thames

The London Eye, with Big Ben in the background

St. Paul's Cathedral

London Tower

Clay's favorite part of the day was visiting the armory

The crown jewels live here

Cruising on the Thames, with Tower Bridge behind us

London Bridge, not to be confused with the more iconic Tower Bridge.
Thankfully, it did not fall down on us as we cruised underneath.
However, it has actually fallen five times over the years,
so I guess there is some truth to the nursery rhyme.

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