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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Caleb's European Graduation Trip Part 2

On day 2 of waking up in London, Friday June 17, 2016 we were ready to hit the ground running once again.  I had updated my sight-seeing to do list and after eating a nice breakfast provided by our hotel we set out.  
our hotel

cute little bike rack on the street
Our hotel was only a short walk to the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) and we actually arrived a little before opening so we sat out on the steps and people watched until opening time.  I think Caleb really enjoyed the museum and the different sort of pieces it held.  The entry was by donation only so I gave some spare bills and all the change we had accumulated up until that point.  The entrance of the museum had a huge hanging Dave Chihuly blown glass piece. My Mom and I visited the Dallas arboretum several years back while a lot of his work was on display there so I took this picture for her.  

in the median of the street was the tiniest and cutest little coffee shack
After the V&M visit we utilized the subway to take us to a different part of London that had a few iconic sights we had to see.  One being Harrods, the famous, must shop at department store. The department store itself is a sight with different level and fancy Egyptian decorated escalators but we didn't make any purchases.  We did wonder through all the levels and enjoyed the nice break from history.

Today was the day that we really got acquainted with the underground!  We scooted all across London hitting this sight and that one. After Harrods we were on a mission to see the London Bridge. We had a discount for the London Bridge Experience and it sounded pretty neat so we decided to do that as well.  It was sort of a bummer LOL.  The London Bridge Experience ended up not being quite what we expected but we did learn more about the history of the bridge so that was a plus. It was mainly for small kids I think or smaller than us!  It had a really cheesy haunted house feel and took almost 2 hours.  I'm just glad we didn't pay a lot for it.  After the experience we were put out right near the bridge so we walked along the river and took pictures while figuring out our next sight.

The London Bridge- present day
In trying to make our way to the Shard to take pictures we stumbled upon the famous and super popular Boroughs Market.  I actually had forgotten about this treasure and was so happy we ended up here.  This is my place as well as every other tourist and Londoner as it is a huge market and food vendor area that is semi-indoor/semi-outdoor. I loved browsing all the stalls that literally had everything you could ever need in a kitchen that is edible!  There were entire vendor stalls dedicated to just MUSHROOMS (tons of varieties) just cheese, just tomatoes, etc.  It was really something to see and it was very clean as well!  After venturing through the farmer's market type vendors we made our way to the restaurant/food vendors.  Caleb wasn't the best eater on this trip which is very odd for him but his body was really out of order due to the jet lag and the unfamiliar food choices.  There were so many options to choose from it was really hard to decide what would truly hit the spot.  We were ending the vendors and we saw a vendor serving Egyptian food!  I was like oh yes this is what I want so I ordered me up a bowl and chowed down.  I hadn't had Egyptian food since 2011 while in Egypt so it was a perfect treat.  Caleb was unsure but he did try it! 

The Shard

mushroom vendor

we got a couple of fresh made juices for cheap! Yummy

my Egyptian Koshari so good!
After visiting Boroughs Market there was a historic monument nearby that you can climb to the top and get pretty good views and we found it but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance and restructuring of the stairs/elevator.  We walked around and got a few more good pictures of the Shard next to the London Bridge as we made our way to the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

We purchased passes to enter and tour the London Tower which was near the Shakespeare Globe Theatre.  The London Tower is a medieval castle type structure that you are able to roam around at your own pace checking out all the rooms.  It was really neat and Caleb is definitely a bigger man than the men in London back in that day! 

After we finished our London Tower tour we headed out the gate to see the iconic Tower Bridge which most people assume/confuse with the London Bridge!  It was so pretty I just wanted to keep taking pictures but after a while I stopped I mean there are only so many of the same pictures you need LOL!  Afterwards we walked across the bridge and up into the towers and read about the history of the bridge as well as the mechanics of how it opens and closes back in the day.  It had a glass floor so you could see the traffic below.  I was surprised we were able to go in the bridge!

a view of the Shard and the more modern buildings on this bank of the river

After we exited the bridge and the tour we had to catch the underground to Oxford Street and speed walk to our afternoon tea!  Lauren from Aspiring Kennedy is a fellow Texan living in London and always does awesome reviews of places to have tea.  She did a post about the Mad Hatter Tea at the Sanderson Hotel and I thought it was so pretty so I booked a tea for Caleb and I.  He was the only male in the entire room but it was a great experience and we both had fun.  Two old British ladies had to teach us how to do the tea. I didn't know we had to use a strainer as the tea in the pot was free floating and otherwise you would have a big mess in your cup! 

actual desserts of little pots with ice cream covered in cookie crumble and flowers
After our afternoon tea we walked around Oxford Street and shopped a bit for souvenirs and other things.  I love shopping overseas...they seem to have the best clothes and I always feel the prices are better!  I may think this because I NEVER shop of clothes or things like that while at home LOL!  Caleb picked up some things at H&M and I got the cutest necklace custom made at Topshop.  

back at Piccadilly Circus

Seeing it was still pretty early in the evening I didn't want to hang it up and head back to the hotel right then so we took the underground back to Piccadilly Circus. At night, crowded with people it didn't even look like the same place that we were at the day before during the morning.  We decided to catch a movie, Caleb wasn't feeling any sort of bar or anything and it was really early for that still. We kept with our Alice in Wonderland theme and saw Alice Through the Looking Glass.  Caleb slept the majority of the movie...teenagers!

After the movie ended we walked around and ventured into Leicester Square and around Chinatown to see it at night.  Asian food sounded SO good and we really hadn't had much of a meal except for breakfast at the hotel that morning so we chose a clean looking stall and got takeout Chinese and took it back to our hotel via the underground.    

Back in our room we showered and settled into our takeout while watching more movies!!! I told Caleb that we couldn't keep watching TV we had to go to bed even if we weren't tired otherwise jet lag would just keep kicking our butts.  I still think we stayed up past midnight!

Another day in London spent making a bigger circle seeing more sights and enjoying a bit more of the normal culture this day!  

If you missed the first part see PART 1 HERE!

Coming up in Part 3 is our last day in London before heading to Ireland!

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