From London Bridge to Parliament, Big Ben, the Tower of London and more, the capitol city of England houses some of the most iconic and traditional architecture in the Western world.
London also has a particular draw for Americans, as it gives us a glimpse into our pre-USA history…even if the King’s English is WAY different from American English.
Needless to say, when my wife Carrie and I learned that we could start our backpacking adventure across the world with either an hour-long layover in London or a week-long one for the same price, we opted for the former.
Staying with locals in London
Coming off of a whirlwind of goodbye activities in my hometown of New York City, we were beyond exhausted when we finally arrived at the London flat of a wonderful couple that we met backpacking in Guatemala a few years earlier.
Instead of spending our days exploring the city, we instead holed up, slept in and watched movies.
The Tower of London Key Ceremony
One of the few times we did get out, we attended the Tower of London Key Ceremony, which we had ordered tickets for months earlier before leaving home. What follows is an excerpt from my travel journal from visiting London, England.
Before going to London we had heard about The Ceremony of the Key at the Tower of London: a 700 year old mysterious event where we hold candles and walk through the tower as they lock up the Crowned Jewels…or so we thought.
In reality, we stood outside for 35 minutes as the tower guards performed a ceremony involving the closing of the tower’s gates, the transfer of the key from the guard to the night watchman and a lot of army talk.
Still, it was a very cool ceremony and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting London.
This and That
- When I’m traveling, I like to keep a journal of random thoughts and musings which I call “This and That.” This, is my London edition.
- We got upgraded to first class on our London to New Delhi flight for some reason that we do not know, but I never want to go back to coach again. I actually wrote this blog entry from 35,000 miles above the ground.
- I still love Big Ben and double decker buses as much as I did when I first visited London at age 4
While it was Christmas season and there were lights and displays in the more touristy areas, it just didn’t feel like it does in the USA where it beyond commercialized.
- The biggest benefit of the economic crisis is that the dollar was quite good in conversion rates. Gone are the days of 2 to 1 Pound to Dollar.
- We met a very nice couple searching for cheap flights to Dalaman Turkey for their honeymoon. They said many people flew to Dalaman from London.
- After just under 2 weeks in London, Carrie and I have already picked up some of their ways of speaking. (Flat, quite, dodgy, mobile, thanks love, quaint, cheers, etc)
- It pretty much rained or was cloudy the entire time we were in Europe
- Being a huge fan of James Bond, most-every structure also has a 007 connection as well.
- We are now members of the couchsurfing community, which is an online networking site where people offer up their couch for a night or two for free. There are members worldwide and we hope to use this as a great way to see the local’s way of live as we travel. To learn more, check out Couchsurfing.com
- While in London we saw a graffiti filled cement park where people were doing all sorts of freestyle jumping acrobatics, flips and more.
- Andrew and Lucie were the best hosts ever! Thanks so much guys…it was great to see you and now you have to come visit us Stateside so we can return the favor :)
- Piccadilly Circus is like London’s Times Square…filled with lots of neon and too many people!
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Where is your favorite place in London?