London, England – Day 2 & 3

[ 2 ] June 21, 2011 |

We decided to spend the next two days being tourists and working our way through all of our must see attractions list.  After our night on the town, we inevitably slept in late and made it into the city a little after lunch.  We started our afternoon with a trip to the London Eye.

View from London Eye

In our long list of things we wanted to see and do in London, a double decker bus tour was near the top – that and those red telephone booths just seemed too London to miss.  So having our fill of city vistas at the London Eye we grabbed some amazing honey roasted peanuts from a local vendor on the bridge and made our way towards the big red double decker buses.   We chose with the most “official looking” bus we could find and went with the Big Bus Tour Company (www.bigbustours.com).  They have a live tour guide on each bus and the sheer randomness of the facts that they knew were just mind-boggling.  Plus the ticket included a river cruise and was good for 2 days – good if your lazy like us and didn’t start the day until late afternoon.

Big Bus Tours

With our double decker bus tour out of our system, we decided to call it a day.  We picked up the next morning with our Big Bus Tours riverboat cruise down the river Thames.  It might just be me but there is something special about seeing a city by boat.  Away from the hustling street side, the city just seems more serene and at ease.

River Boat Cruise

My favorite thing about London is that admission is free at most of the big museums.  A very nice plus indeed and you don’t even feel guilty leaving early if the museum stinks or gets boring.  We took advantage of London’s amazing museum scene and spent the back half of our day visiting the British Museum and the Tate Modern Art Museum.

The British Museum was absolutely incredible.  From the Rosetta Stone to their collection of ancient Sumerian pottery (probably the oldest artifacts of human civilization as we know it), I was in kid in candy store mode.  While 19th century British imperialism certainly had its faults, they did manage to “borrow” an incredible amount of amazingly significant historical artifacts and aggregate them into a single repository for all to enjoy free of charge.  Go Brits.

Outside British Museum

Next up was the Tate Modern.  Getting to the Tate was a treat in and of itself.  The Millennium Footbridge is gorgeous and takes you directly from the North shore of the Thames to the front doorstop of the Tate on the Southbank.  The Tate Modern is housed in a former power plant and was opened in 2000.  While modern art museums can be kind of a wild card from my experience, my favorite part of the Tate was its amazing ability to lend perspective and context to their various installations.  Even if it was your first visit in a modern art museum you would be able to understand the context and importance of each peace – a very digestible museum experience.

Tate Modern

To cap off this already amazing day, we meet up with Keenan and Lily Vyas who I haven’t seen in 12 YEARS!  Keenan and I were roommates at a summer economics camp back when we were sophomores in high school.  A product of a facebook generation, we were thankfully able to reconnect in London randomly of all places.  Keenan and Lily are truly kindred spirits and even have their own travel blog (http://londoncosmopolitan.blogspot.com).   There is truly nothing like meeting up with old friends to quickly realize that while life and circumstance whirls and constantly changes all around you, good friends are never truly forgotten.  Like minds will always attract – thank you Lily and Keenan for reminding me of that and I’m looking forward to meeting up in Sri Lanka this coming Christmas.

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Category: Blog, Destinations, England, Pat's Blog

Comments (2)

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  1. Thanks for the shout out Pat and Al! So wonderful to see you both and catch up on the past decade. My only regret was not getting a photo together! Hope you guys enjoyed Paris and soaking up the sun in Crete! Hope Sri Lanka works out this December!
    Happy travels, Lily & Keenan

  2. Russ Porter says:

    Hey Alison, I hope you’re making lots of good contacts for the Children’s Chorus’ international tour!!!! Those churches are beautiful. I can only imagine how great our kids would sound in those cathedrals. Sure miss our Sunday lunches with you and Pat.

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