Sunday, July 4, 2010

London Blogging

London, England-- Sorry to have been a bit neglectful of the blog, but this past week has been one of our busiest (and most expensive) yet. As you probably know, our ferry made it to Portsmouth, England just fine. We didn't get to see too much of the city itself, aside from the 2.5 mile walk from the port to the hotel. By the time we had checked in it was already getting late, but we did manage to find some delicious, enormous helpings of fish and chips.

The next morning we took a bus to Salisbury (of Peter Gabriel fame). The small, pretty town became our home base for three days, which was great. We found a nice Indian restaurant and went to a surprisingly quiet pub to watch the Spain/Portugal World Cup match. Staying in Salisbury also allowed us to take two day trips. The first was to Stonehenge, or StoneHENGE, as our audio guide pronounced it, and it was incredible. I was really excited to see one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and also impressed with how well preserved, cared for, and respected it is.

The next day we trained to Bath, a beautifully planned city in the middle of the English countryside (which, by the way, looks a lot like Normandy's...). Situated on natural hot springs, Bath was home to a Roman bath house and has been a fashionable spa retreat for hundreds of years. Ben forced me to try some of the "all-healing" hot spring water (they sell it in the spa restaurant). Even the guidebook described it as "horrible," but I actually kind of liked it and had no trouble finishing my glass!

It was great to relax a little in Salisbury because we knew when we got to London we'd go into supertourist mode again. After arriving on Friday and suffering through a hot, crowded Underground ride, we hit the streets, first for a tour of architect John Soane's house (who Ben says is "completely nutters!") and then for a sight-studded walk down the River Thames. First it was the Tower Bridge, the Tate Modern, St. Paul's Cathedral, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, before we turned north for our hotel past Trafalgar Square and the British Museum. I was thrilled.

We've continued to walk a ton the past couple days, partly because it's free and partly because the weather has been uncharacteristically gorgeous. After the Changing of the Guard, we had a picnic in Hyde Park, before walking to Regent's Park via the raucous gay pride parade on Regent's street. Today we explored the street markets at Covent Garden, Spitalfield, and Brick Lane before Ben completed his 49th drawing(!). We can only hope the weather holds for tomorrow, our last day abroad.

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