On Monday morning of Stef's visit, day two, we popped up and headed straight to central London for probably our most jam-packed day of the week.
We started our morning at Westminster Abbey, one of my favorite places in London. Before we went in to the Abbey, we gawked at the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben for a while and snapped some pictures.
Then we headed in to the Abbey, where we did the audio tour. I highly recommend doing audio tours because they allow you to move at your own pace and you can pretty much guarantee they're going to have all the info a real tour guide would have, if not more. Plus, you can go in whatever order you'd like through the attraction and you know you'll always be able to hear what's being said. At the Abbey, the audio tour will also set you back one pound less than a guided tour, at just four pounds.
I love the Abbey because of its history -- the people who are buried there, the Kings and Queens who've been crowned there, its visible wounds from WWII, its gorgeous architecture and elaborate tombs. It's a London must-see. And luckily, what with it being January and all, we walked right in (no line) and never had to wait to continue our tour. Here's to the off-season!
After the Abbey we headed away from Westminster, toward Trafalgar Square, stopping at 10 Downing Street and the Horse Guard's Parade along the way.
Once we hit Trafalagar Square, we made a loop through Leicester Square, where we had lunch at a nice little pub, and then on to Picadilly Circus. From Picadilly we hopped on the tube to Hyde Park. We strolled across Hyde Park and skirted the edge of St. James Park and then walked down toward Buckingham Palace. By then, the weather wasn't as gorgeous as it had been, so we decided to call it a day and head back to the flat for a recharge.
After some wine, cheese and baguette, we got ourselves together and headed to West Hampstead to have some drinks. Even though I'd done some research before we left on good places to go, I was still a bit disappointed with what we found when we got there; but we did manage to find a good pub eventually where we had some weird interpretation of nachos, a few beers and played a few rounds of brain teaser trivia.
Much of day three, Tuesday, was spent in transit. We headed to London Bridge around 9, got a train to Luton and arrived at the airport around 11:45 or so. The flight to Dublin was short (less than an hour) and beautiful, with clear skies letting us get a great view of the coast of Ireland on the way in.
After we landed, we hopped on a bus to take us into the city centre. We were excited. Can you tell?
Even the views out of the bus window were incredible. The weather (besides being frigidly cold) couldn't have been better.
We walked from the bus station down the Liffey River on our way to our hotel.
This was the view facing out from our hotel, and the cobblestone street you see there might as well be the yellow brick road. We followed it that night and found the most amazing bar (with the most gorgeous bar tender), the most amazing people and a fabulously good time.
But before I get to all that, I have to fill you in on what we did that afternoon. But you'll have to wait for that! In our next installment, you can look forward to pictures of Trinity College at night, the Dublin Castle, our first pints in Ireland and tales of French drinking songs, The Temple Bar and Guinness, more Guinness and some Bailey's Irish Cream.
HRH e. cawein