Friday morning we got up and had another huge English breakfast and then drove to London. We were feeling a lot more confident about the driving and did pretty good until we missed the turn off the motorway to Birmingham. One thing that is very different about driving there is if you miss a turnoff, there's usually no second chances. It's very unforgiving. But it's okay, we managed to find another way too get to the airport without having to go through central London (fortunately!). Once we were at the airport, we dropped off our rental car and hopped on the tube, which took us to our hotel near Hyde Park. We walked with our luggage about 1/2 mile (which seemed like a lot longer) to our hotel and checked in. Here's a blurry picture of Brandon walking in the tube station where we got off.
Then we decided to go find some dinner. Some friends had told us about a good place to eat called Taza's which was fairly close to our hotel so we headed in that direction. We went through Hyde Park and found a bike station that I had researched before our trip. They're called Barclay's Cyle Stations and you can rent the bikes with your credit card. As long as you keep all your trips under 30 minutes, it's only a pound a day per bike. So we rented 2 of those and started off to Taza's. We got turned around a few times, but finally made it there. We had chicken shwarmas and freshly squeeze carrot juice - yum! It was delicious. And a very popular place - we waited in line for a little while... But they were worth it! We ate them in Hyde Park.
Then we got a couple of more bikes (we had dropped our other ones off before we got our food) and went up a few streets to a place called Gelato Mio. They had delicious Gelato there and all different kinds. I wanted to try a scoop of each flavor they had! But I settled on just two. YUM!! :)
Here's me on one of the Barclay Cycles:
If it looks like I'm having a blast it's cause I was. We loved riding the bikes around London.
It was the perfect way to travel, cheap, but a lot faster than walking and we weren't stuck underground missing the charm of the city. After the Gelato we got a couple more bikes and rode back to our hotel.
The next day we got up and decided to start out at Tower Hill and make our way back to the hotel, seeing sites on the way. We decided to ride a bus out there so we tried to figure out the bus to get on. It was a lot harder than it sounds. It took us 2 hours before we finally figured it out! They had construction all over the place and the bus stops weren't listed exactly, just generally so you had to walk until you found the right one. Anyway, after much ado, we finally found the bus and got on it. The bus ride was fun - we got to ride on the top level of the double-decker bus. We snapped pictures as we went and got to see a lot of London that way. Then we made it to Tower Hill and saw the Tower of London
and walked across the Tower Bridge.
It was neat. On the other side we saw the HMS Belfast ship docked in the bay.
Then we walked over to Southwark Cathedral. We went inside and it was beautiful! They let us walk all around. Beautiful place.
Then we went to the Borough Market. We loved this market! They had everything from produce stands
to aged cheese shops
They had exotic meats like Ostrich Eggs
And this really yummy freshly-squeezed orange juice maker.
They even had (and my Dad will appreciate this one) a Gluten Free Bakery!!
Borough Market is probably not on most people's list of favorite attractions in London, but it definitely was on ours! What a fun place!! The only thing disappointment was that we had already eaten and weren't hungry enough to try everything we saw. We did try the orange juice and a few other things though. :)After that we walked by the London bridge
and got on some bikes and rode over to St. Paul's cathedral. We walked all around it, but didn't pay to go inside - we walked inside the entrance and peaked around. It was also a very beautiful place.
Then we hopped on some more bikes and rode over to the Houses of Parliament (Big Ben):
and Westminster Abbey
On the way we also rode near the London Eye.
Then we rode back to our hotel, and went and got some dinner and walked around some of the streets, did a little window shopping and bought some souvenirs and stuff. It was a fun day.
And once again, that's all I have time for today. Hopefully I'll be able to finish this at some point!! :)