When we woke up the last day of the trip, my sickness was gone, and we were focused! We knew we wanted to see the Tower of London and the British Museum. We knew the rest of the group was going to watch the Changing of the Guard. Armed with our handy dandy tube guide and a map, we decided to leave the group and meet up with them for dinner near St. Paul’s.
So off we went. We stood in line at the Tower and decided to go on the guided tour first then walk around on our own. I’m glad we did. We learned about the Warders. They’re all retired military and they live at the Tower. They tell fabulous stories and point out all the attractions you want to see if you have time. While we were there, a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary was there. They were married at the church in the Tower of London property, and this was their first time back. It’s NOT just one tower. Most people probably know that, but I didn’t. After our guided tour, we stood in line to see the Crown Jewels. If you ever go to the Tower of London, STAND IN THE LINE for the Jewels. It’s a fast moving line, and even though it looks like you’ll be there forever, you won’t. It’s so worth it. HOLY COW. AMAZING.
(This weekend I saw a PBS special on the queen’s coronation, and as I watched I kept telling DH, “this doesn’t capture the majesty of that robe, that dress, that crown.” I think he might’ve gotten a little tired of hearing it, but I was serious.)
After the Jewels I headed to the dungeon aka, the torture display. All I can say to that is OUCH!
We saw the ravens. It’s said if the ravens go, the kingdom will fall. I didn’t realize how BIG ravens are. There were signs not to feed them, and all I could think was WHO WOULD FEED THEM, they might bite your finger off!?!
We ran into some of the other group as we were leaving. They said they didn’t have time to stand in the line for the jewels. I don’t know if they did or not. If not, they’ve got to go back to London.
From the Tower, we hopped on the tube (mind the gap!) to the British Museum. Armed with another map, we went in search of the Rosetta Stone. But I ran into this guy instead. I’m a romance writer. When I find statues of Cupid and Venus, I take photos.
I didn’t take photos of the Rosetta Stone. Or the Assyrian statues. Or anything else in the museum other than Cupid and Venus. I think maybe my brain was fuzzy from cold meds.
I gave everyone 90 minutes to look through the museum, but after 45 my feet
were killing me, so I drank an orange pellegrino and took a picture of the museum’s ceiling.
I should definitely NOT be in charge of what pictures get taken at the end of a trip. I almost took pictures of my feet.
After 90 minutes we found the rest of my group and discovered they too had been done looking at the museum for 45 minutes because their feet hurt! I should’ve take a group foot picture.
By this time it was close to dinner time, so we headed back to the tube station for a two stop ride to St. Paul’s. All I had here was the tube stop. No map. I forgot to look up and took us AROUND the cathedral. (Cold meds, hurt feet…I had an excuse!) We ran into the church AND a Starbucks. The group wanted to sit since we had a little time. I’m always ready for coffee, so off to Starbucks and their free wifi.
After I finished my coffee I wanted to look inside St. Paul’s. I lucked out. A choir from Norway was performing. It was BEAUTIFUL! I sat in that amazing space and took part in the first thirty minutes of the service before leaving to make sure I didn’t get us lost looking for the restaurant which my iMap said was within feet of St. Pauls. I trusted iMaps once. It took me to an OU/ Kansas football game. OMG. SOOOOOOOOO much read! That stadium is crazy big and it was packed and all we wanted to do was go play poker, but we were stuck in OK Hell of tailgate parties and Kansas fans leaving because they were getting stomped and rednecks driving around in trucks and screaming like wild banshees. As much as I like the app, I don’t trust it. But this time it was spot on. Our last London dinner was fish and chips and it was delicious.
Half the big group went back to the hotel after that, but it was our last day and I wanted the full experience, so I stayed with the other half of the group for a short walk and our final tour.
I’ve walked by the Globe every time I’ve been to London, but this time it was actually open and they were showing Macbeth! I can’t believe I never thought to look and see if tickets were available. I know our super awesome amazing guide Paul would have at least given me feedback on the option had I even thought of it!
At least I got a picture in front of a poster. 🙂
As the sun started setting our final guide of the trip met us on Embankment. Jack the Ripper. He was so funny. In the past our main guides have told us not to bother with the Ripper tour because it’s just walking around the East End through alleys looking at places the most notorios British killer left bodies behind. Paul promised us the tour would be awesome and he was right. Our Ripper tour guide was funny and insightful and full of information. Not only did he tell us the Jack the Ripper story, he showed us how the East End is changing and how diverse it is. We LOVED it!
At the end though, my feet were wishing I was back at Macbeth.
And then…we went back to the nice town of Greenwich for one last night of London sleep.
I love EF Tours and the opportunities it’s given me and my students. When I was a kid my bucket list had two overseas places on it: London and Paris. I’ve been to both, and I feel like I could make my way around London no problem now. My students feel like they can do study abroad and experience the world no problem. They want to learn other languages. They’re fascinated by different cultures. EF helps you see the world as global. Since 2008, I’ve taken students and teachers to England, France, Italy, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. I’ve written on the banks of the Seine River and sung along with Parisiennes on Music Night. I’ve gotten lost and found my way on busy London streets. I’ve seen the place fairy tales were born. I’ve seen the white cliffs of Dover from Calais, France, and wondered what soldiers thought during World War 2 when they were so close to home they could taste it, but they couldn’t get there. I’ve experienced history in a way no classroom could ever truly teach. When I was that kid making the London and Paris bucket list, I could never have imagined. As a teacher now, EF helps me open the world to my students. I can’t wait for my next trip (Germany, Prague and Paris). THANKS EF!! #
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I think my Elizabeth Lee guardian angel mystery series (Dead Girl Walking and soon to release, An Angel Gets Her Wings) might make a London stop soon. Or a Paris stop. Or and Ireland stop…