Saturday, August 23, 2014

Movie scene day and lots of other cool things.

McKenzie is a HUGE movie buff. Her dream was to see Harry Potter sights. So, we hopped on the metro and went to the station where they caught the train to Hogwartz. She loved Platform 9 3/4 and the Harry Potter store as well as the terminals where the trains pull in. We also walked the Millenium Bridge that day. It was so great to see how excited she got. 

Dang, she missed.

Around the corner from the station was the British Library. Seriously. SO. Cool. They had the original Magna Carta, the original Beowulf manuscript (which she has read),  a Gutenberg Bible, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (which she has read), Captain Hook's journal, Jane Eyre (which she had just read) and tons of other amazing works of literature. We spent so much time there just loving it! This book case is the center of the library. It is so cool. 

Kenzie and I took her picture in front of every metro station we were in. This is just one of the many, many pictures we have. It is going to make a great scrapbook page.

This is the British Museum. I was excited about this and Kenzie ended up loving it. Pieces of the Parthenon, in Greece, are housed here as well as the Rosetta Stone. We were short on time so we just followed the highlight map. It was a lot of fun. We also had lunch here.

While walking to our next adventure we saw a mailbox. Kens thought it was cool. What was even cooler was the Cadbury Chocolate shop we found right by the mail box. We bought one or two of every candy in the store! We knew the boys back home would love it. 

When we were in one of the undergrounds, I saw this and remembered I have my picture by this wall when I was 20. That was in 1989.....when the wall was only 5 years old. Now, it didn't look so good, but it was fun for me to see it again and have my picture by it when I am 40 plus. 

Fun picture. Taken in a large reflective ball used as decoration in front of an office building. 

The mellenium bridge. Man, the wind kicked up while we were here. It was wild. Kens was excited because the Death Eaters from Harry Potter destroyed this bridge in the movie. 

Hold on to the hat!

You can see St. Paul's in the background. 

Shakespeare's Globe

You see these types of markers all over in London. I think it is great how they mark history. 

This building was so skinny I had to get a picture. It doesn't look as small as it was in real life.  That entrance was narrow.

 Cool architecture.

We were seeing the Lion King that night. Once we located the theater, we went to Covent Gardens to shop and grab a bite to eat.

We found this cool building called the Charles Dickens Coffee House, but the blue marker above said the apartments above is where Charles Dickens actually lived.

Covent Gardens. There were so many great bands, shows etc that people were randomly performing here. There was a mime that was amazing. 

This group was really good too. We had fun shopping for a bit. We laughed so hard trying on all the little fascinators (hat pieces with feathers, etc) that are the craze in London.

The show! It was so good.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Westminster Abby and lunch in a Crypt

We started off the day early by taking the Metro to Westminster Abby. I loved the tour I took years ago and knew Kenzie would love it. She enjoyed everything about it. The whose who that is buried there is fantastic and the history is remarkable. It was raining pretty hard when we finished and the cathedral gift store had a great London umbrella and the cutest Christmas ornaments that we just had to buy!

After that, we walked to The National Gallery. Walking there was a treat as we saw the Queen's Horse Gate and posed with some of her guards. We loved the National Gallery too. Trafalgar Square was awesome. It was much more crowded that it was 25 plus years ago, but still the new blue chicken statue was a nice addition. We took lots of pictures in the square as Alex did his school report on Lord Nelson, who is the center of the square.

We also toured the National Portrait Gallery which is connected to the National Gallery. For lunch we went across the street to St. Martin's in the Field Chapel for lunch in their cafeteria crypt! It was good and cool eating on headstones and in a crypt. We loved the crumble with clotted cream! We went back a few days later for another helping.

Later, McKenzie road the London and my claustrophobia stayed below and watched. The bridge at night was great. We loved watching Big Ben light up. We did see a thief run right past this lady and take all her shopping bags. It was terrible. 

We also walked around Piccadilly Circus, which looked the same, but busier and shopped and then walked to Leicester Court. This had changed a lot. There was an awesome Swiss chocolate place there, but now it is a souvenir shop and very run down. I did recognize a few things.I was surprised to see casinos there. Kens was nervous in these two places. Really loud and busy. A drunk guy flirted with her which made her nervous, but on the return trip we saw him passed out on the sidewalk......karma, I guess. 

It was a great day! We saw so much and learned so much. Most of all we enjoyed each other's company!

Official looking guys out front of where the Queen's Horse Gate is.....they were happy to pose!

The horses were awesome. We planned to come back the next day and watch the dismounting ceremony.

Trafalgar Square with Lord Nelson on top.

It was quite difficult to get up on this lion. It took several attempts.

The National Gallery.

A statue of George Washington. He said he would never put his foot on English soil again, so this statue is set on soil brought in from Virginia!

The Portrait Gallery

Outside the Gallery

St. Martin's in the Field....after lunch we went inside and caught an orchestra practicing for an upcoming concert! It was beautiful. We had perfect timing. 

Lunch in the crypt below.

Our favorite dessert in London!

 The orchestra we heard......

 Piccadilly Circus!
Even though most of the things around had changed, this armor/shield thing remained the same. I was happy to see it right in the middle of the walkway.

I remember this building. It looks funny now being between a modern building and a casino.


Off she goes with my camera.

 We had fun watching Big Ben light up.

Got to have our traditional selfies with the famous landmarks. Selfies are hard to take!

That night for dinner we wanted fish and chips. I found a restaurant near the theater we were at for Wicked, but when we got there it was really late and I could not find the place. I was getting nervous as a lot of homeless and street people were out so we ran across this pub that had fish and chips. They had to check Kens' ID to see if she was 18. She thought that was cool. We ordered and then hopped on the metro and ate back at the hotel. The fish was great and Kens thought it was cool to be carded. I told the bartender I couldn't believe he didn't card me. He should have just to be polite.

What was left.....for a moment. It ended up being totally devoured.

This character thought it would be fun to be in my picture. He made it into 6 pictures total. Each one he is making a different face.