I'm sitting on the train to Paris, excited for the couple of days ahead. We had a great time in London and really grateful to family who went out of their way to spend time with us, give us a place to sleep, and let us do our laundry.
Even though we've been in England for a week, we only spent one day in London proper. Most of my family lives in the countryside, but I have one cousin and his wife in Clapham, which is a southwest neighborhood of London. They have an amazing Victorian house, built in 1863, that they have renovated beautifully.
From their place it's a quick walk to Clapham South, and we took the tube all the way into Victoria, where we walked up to Westminster to take a tour inside.
The history in this place is insane. Not only did we walk the same walk that Kate Middleton did for her wedding (squeeeeeeee!) but witnessed King Henry VII's famous tomb and side chapel and Queen Elizabeth I's grand burial with her sister and Oliver Cromwell's temporary space (he was later dug up, hanged again, and his dead body tortured further to make a point). We stood where kings and queens of England were crowned and also buried. Famous writers and poets like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens are also laid to rest at Westminster. There is just so much history here I'm in (happy) overdrive.
After we toured the famous church, we navigated the tube towards Oxford Circus and the London SoHo area for lunch with a co-worker that works out of our UK office. It was great to see her and catch up!
We then wandered down Oxford to Regent Street and made our way down to Piccadilly Circus. After grabbing a few pictures, we quickly hurried into the tube as it started to rain.
We took the tube west to Harrod's - a department store in Knightsbridge. And by department store, I mean spectacle. If you come to London, you have to just walk around this place. It has a 20 million dollar escalator in the middle of the store, and a live opera singer on one of the balconies. It has a food hall where a box of chocolates can run you £165. They have every single designer that you can think of - Prada, Gucci, Louis, Chanel, Marc, Vivienne. They are all there. And they have a pet kingdom with puppies for sale. They had two chihuahuas to buy for £2,500 (they were really cute). I tried to find something for Louie, but I wasn't about to spend £250 on a puffy jacket for my dog. It is just an interesting experience to go.
We headed east to Tower of London, where Henry VIII beheaded many people (including Anne Boleyn). It was a fortress and entrance to the city since being built in the 1050s.
|Under the grand doors at Tower of London...is a Starbucks.|
We were too late to take the tour, so instead headed over to Tower Bridge. In all my years in England, I'd never been up the Tower Bridge, so we decided to take a peek. It was a good decision.
|West view of London|
The crazy part about London to me is the contrast in architecture (and the number of cranes in the skyline). I guess it's not a surprise since London is so old and has so much history, but on one side of the river, you have Tower of London and Tower Bridge and then on the other side, you have City Hall which looks like a glass egg and the Sphere, a new glass pointy building that will be the tallest in Europe when it's finished. It just doesn't look cohesive, but the Londoners makes it work.
Our time in England has finished, and we've now passed through the Channel and are on French soil. We're hoping to get our long run in this weekend in Paris, but I'm still fighting a cold/allergies/whatever this is. We only ran one day in England, and then fell off the bandwagon. Note to self: don't sign up for a marathon right after a vacation.