We’re back from our honeymoon! It was a wonderful, whirlwind trip full of all kinds of excitement (both good and bad). I took about 2,000 photos while we were there (48 GB of Raw+Jpeg shots with my new camera), some of which I’m going to add to my Etsy shop.
To make our adventures a bit easier to read (and to write), I’m going to divide the post into three shorter (though still rather long) posts by location since we went to London, Edinburgh, and Dublin.
Our flight to London left at 3:10 in the afternoon and there was a layover in Toronto, so we arrived at 6:25 am London time. Neither John nor I can sleep in moving vehicles, so we weren’t expecting to get any sleep on the way over. It was probably a good thing that wasn’t part of the plan, because I don’t know how anyone could have slept on that plane. I have never been on a flight with that many screaming children. I understand that planes can be scary for very small children and that the air pressure makes their ears hurt, but there were children who seemed too old for that who were raising hell the entire flight. Thankfully, Air Canada still gives out complementary booze even in economy.
We arrived quite tired, but we made our way to the hotel so we could drop off our suitcase and start our day. The hotel was in Earl’s Court – an area of London that Rick Steve’s completely left out of the London guidebook we brought with us. The hotel wasn’t too far from the station though, so we found it pretty easily. We set out to find breakfast and caffeinated beverages somewhere. Most of the nearby restaurants were closed, so we ended up in a somewhat overpriced (especially when you factored in the exchange rate) place with pretty good food, but terrible coffee, which nonetheless perked us up a bit.
Our first stop on the first day was Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, you aren’t allowed to take photographs inside the main part of the abbey, but, believe me, it was breathtaking.
We wandered around Westminster Abbey for quite a while, but we were fading fast. We wandered around that area for a while, but we felt pretty useless and weren’t really able to appreciate everything we were seeing. We ended up going back to the hotel a bit after 2:00, so that we could take a nap. We woke up a few hours later feeling much better and set off to find some dinner. We ended up walking around West London for about three hours before settling on a place that was 10 minutes from the hotel, but wandering in the city was an experience of it’s own. We ended up at a Fuller’s pub where John ordered the fish and chips, and I had a duck pie. His fish and chips were good, but my duck pie was wonderful.
I generally don’t eat much at meals (I tend to graze throughout the day if left to my own devices), so I asked the waitress for a box. It turns out that the British don’t really do leftovers, at least not from restaurants. I still had half of the pie left, but I was quite full, so I picked at it a bit and John had some too. It seemed like a shame to waste such food like that, and I can’t imagine how much food at restaurants in the UK must go to waste every year.
Despite our nap, we were still quite tired, so we went back to the hotel and went to bed fairly early so we could get an early start the next day. The hotel seemed more like a hostel (I think it may have actually been a converted hostel) and breakfast wasn’t exactly spectacular. We had toast and tea since the only other options were two kinds of cereal and freeze-dried coffee. The we set off for the Tower of London.
Upon exiting Tower Hill Station, I saw a vantage point for the tower. In my eagerness to take photos, I hit the wet, polished stone on the overlook in my Converse shoes (not known for their traction) and hit the ground hard. My left knee and the back on my right hand took most of the impact. In fact, John really thought I had broken my hand, though it never bruised all that much. It’s still giving me a bit of trouble, but I think it’s mostly just the swelling from where I took off chunks of skin.
Despite the mishap, we still got to the Tower a few minutes before it opened. Rick Steve’s said that the Tower should take about two hours – maybe if you just run through it and don’t have much of an interest in history. John and I spent closer to five hours exploring. Of course, once the crowds of tour groups and school children started showing up, it became much less enjoyable. The unfortunate thing about the Tower of London (other than the hordes of people who show up around noon) is that so much of it was demolished centuries ago and rebuilt in the 19th century. It was still a really cool experience and I wish we had had more crowd-free time there.
After the Tower, we grabbed some lunch at a nearby pub and headed to the British Museum. The British Museum was awesome and we could have spent an entire day there. Unfortunately, it was also very crowded, not to mention hot. I think that it’s another place where it would behoove you to get there early in the day before tour groups and school children start arriving in droves. However, it’s free and has an absolutely amazing collection of art and artifacts from all over the world.
John and I were starting to feel the lack of sleep from the previous day, so we decided to go through the Egyptian sections and see how we felt afterward. It was very impressive, but the crowds and our fatigue made it difficult to really appreciate everything, so we decided to head back to the hotel afterward. It was almost 4:00, so we wouldn’t have been able to spend that much more time there anyway.
We had originally planned on going to the Museum of Natural History as well, but since we spent so much longer at the Tower than we expected we wouldn’t have had time anyway. When we got back to the hotel, we decided to go to Tesco (a grocery store chain) and get some rolls and deli meat for dinner to save money (and because we didn’t feel like walking around forever trying to figure out where to eat). We also wanted to get some beer, but we discovered that they didn’t have any refrigerated beer in the store. Instead we ended up with a 2 litre bottle of cider that was ridiculously cheap, since cider is okay even if it’s not very cold.
It wasn’t bad and it gave us something to sip on while we watched some British tv. Best of all, it was cheap enough that we didn’t feel bad pouring the leftover cider down the drain the next morning. We made it an early night since we had to get up at 4:00 am the next morning to catch our rather early flight to Edinburgh.
To be continued….