Thursday, August 09, 2007

Day 1: Westminster Abbey, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square

These past two weeks, I've been everywhere but Chicago. Before my trip to Europe, I had the chance to visit Baltimore again for Andrea and Rich's wedding. It was a completely beautiful affair and you can see pictures here. Special thanks to Olivia, Stacy, Anna and Sudip for hanging out this weekend. You guys are the best.

If you didn't know before, Mari and I have been planning to go to Europe for the past month. This summer is supposedly my LAST SUMMER EVER, so I had to make good use of it and go to the continent I most longed to visit. The summer flew by quickly and the day finally came. We took the el to O'Hare and flew all the way to Heathrow.
Let me say that the London Underground is THE BEST hand down subway system I have ever been on. Although the trains don't go everywhere, the entire system runs so smoothly. All the stations and trains were clean. But one trip on the underground is 4 pounds. In dollars, that's more than $8. Can you imagine paying for one trip for $8?? Oh well... the dollar STINKS. I loved the voices on the intercom telling you where to go. Best line ever? "This is a Picadilly line service to Cockfosters". *snort* We were the only ones giggling whenever we heard that. I am so mature.
Our hostel was located in West Kensington, 15 minutes west of London proper. The neighborhood was quiet and nice. Ace hostel is the first and probably the best hostel I will stay at. It was really clean (you can tell what makes me approve of things), high tech (keys were security card keys, internet available for use), friendly staff, a jacuzzi in the back! and breakfast in the morning. Contrary to the picture, I took the bottom bunk. The first night was great because we had the room to ourselves. Later, four other Americans (2 from Minnesota and 2 from the south) took the rest of the beds.
Dropping off our stuff, we headed over to Westminster Abbey.
It was great having Mari on the trip because she was so knowledgeable about British and French history.
Inside the Abbey (boo for prohibiting pictures...), there is so much history involved with the building. So many tombs with royalty and other tributes to important Britains.

Since the London Eye was so close, we decided to purchase tickets in advance. 15 pounds... SO EXPENSIVE. The dollar is SO WEAK.
Waterloo station to take us to Picadilly Circus aka the Time Square of London.
English term of the day: Hole in the wall = ATM/cash machine. This hole in the wall was most likely a bar...

Lights were awesome but I like Time Square better...
The one thing I noticed while walking around Europe is that the buildings are so much more beautiful than those here in America. Just by looking at it, you can see that there is so much history in all the buildings. Every street was just a sight to see.

Wonder if Lis knows Henry...
Got some great pub food at the Porcupine.
Had to try the fish and chips...
One of our professors told us that he goes to England and stocks up on ketchup because his daughter is allergic to fructose. Every American product is full of that stuff. But in England, they use sugar instead... And it's true! Not as tangy as the Heinz here but smoother and sweeter...
The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.
Sadly no pigeons.

I'm too old. I couldn't climb up the lion... Mari took a great shot of me of my attempt.
Walking around, we found this palace like building. Apparently, it's a huge stable called Horses Guard. I wanna be a British horse.

We got a glimpse of Buckingham Palace at night.
By this time, I had been on about 2 hours of sleep and had been awake for at least 18 hours. I was a zombie walking to the nearest tube stop. SO TIRED.


NeoPeo said...

OMG dennis i'm on awesome picture sensory overload! looks like so much fun! we started med skoo already. poo. :-).

tb said...

omg i luv all ur pics!!! the ketchup was hilarious. n ur hostel looked sooo cool.

Dan said...

ooh. looks like a lot of fun. i went to london several years back and it was good times.