Tower of London

Today started with a trip to Westminster Abby.  It was fun to think about all the amazing historical moments that have occurred here.  My favorite part was seeing the Coronation Chair where all the Kings and Queens of England have been crowned for hundreds of years.  A guide told us that for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation they built chairs up all the way to the rafters of the Abby, making room for 8000 people when the normal capacity is around 2000.  I am also a big Will and Kate fan and eagerly watched Kate walk down the aisle of Westminster to become a princess, so it was neat to see exactly where that happened. No pictures were allowed inside 😦
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In keeping with our royal theme, Kensington Palace was our next stop.  We got to learn all about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  They had quite the love story!  Kensington didn’t make our list of favorite things, but Rusty did look quite smashing in his Royal attire. We did love the chance to walk through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park on our way to HARRODS!!  That place is just insane.  It makes the big department stores in NYC look like shoe boxes.  We were specifically coming to visit the Food Hall and we weren’t disappointed.  All kinds of exotic and expensive foods lined a space the size of a giant Walmart.  Every kind of food you can imagine was available for purchase.  Unfortunately, our wallets were no match for Harrods, but we did end up with some very tasty sandwiches and sparkling gold “million dollar” doughnuts.  
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Up next was the Tower of London.  This was one of the places I was most excited to visit in London.  We took the Tube to get there and I put my ticket in the turnstile before Rusty had fully exited.  There are little doors on the other side of the turnstile which close after each person.  I thought I’d just be able to go through since it was already open for Rusty.  No such luck.  The door slammed shut in my face and I was wedged in the teeny tiny space between the turnstile and the door.  After pushing and pulling to no avail, I had to very agilely hoist myself over the turnstile and try the whole thing again 🙂

DSC_0836 IMG_0713    At the Tower we took a tour with a Yeoman, who entertained us with crazy Tower stories, especially from the Henry VIII era.  We went past Traitor’s Gate, visited the White Tower, and ended at the Crown Jewels which our tour guide described as “a little bit of all right” 😉  Yowza!  Those are some pretty impressive jewels! (no pics allowed)  The diamond in the royal scepter is about 530 karats.  It was so fun to see all the royal crowns used through the years and to see other swords, tableware, and ceremonial elements used by the royal family.  We saw a punch bowl that would probably hold enough liquid for 1000 people. 

After we had soaked up all the history in the Tower we walked across beautiful London Bridge.  (I was glad it didn’t fall down).  I love that the River Themes runs right through the city.  It brings such beauty, and such great views of the city from all the bridges.  
IMG_0722Now it was time to make our way to the heart of downtown, the West End.  We had tickets to Matilda.  Everyone knows I love going to the theater!  Matilda was cute.  It was one of my favorite books growing up.  I just love Matilda–her practicality and wit just make me laugh.  This cute little Matilda actress didn’t disappoint–she was absolutely adorable!  I didn’t completely love the musical adaptation, but it was certainly a great way to spend an evening in London.
DSC_0854  Close to the theater was a hip Belgian restaurant in the basement of an old building.  We had mussels and frites.  Yelp reviews said the frites were beyond delicious but Rusty and I both agree they tasted like plain old French fries to us! While the frites were a little bit of a disappointment, the Belgian waffles were not. Rusty literally licked the plate clean 🙂 Completely exhausted yet again, we fell into bed dreaming of what we’d do tomorrow! 

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