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London

10 Mar
One of my Italian friends cannot understand why Ric and I repeatedly return to places we’ve been before. We go back over-and-over to Venezia (trip #8 coming up!) and the Val Gardena. Having familiarity with a location makes it easier to navigate and observe more of the culture, the history, the idiosyncrasies of a place. You don’t need a map every second of the time on repeat visits. Seeing a place in different seasons allows new perspectives. 
We’ve been in Paris twice in less than a year, and since our recent trip, we’ve spent a total of two weeks in London in less than three months and we still have a long list of sights to see and things to do. Repeats are worthwhile. 
We repeated a couple of sights–Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London–since Derek had not seen them. The abbey was almost deserted and we were able to experience so much more the second time. At the Tower while Derek took the Beefeater Tour (we’d taken it in December), we explored the White Tower as we had not seen it prior. One could easily spend 4 hours seeing everything at the Tower of London. 
Westminster close-up. No pics allowed inside. We found the self-guide audio fabulous, in fact better than the London Walks guided tour we took in December.

Westminster close-up. No pics allowed inside. We found the self-guide audio fabulous, in fact better than the London Walks guided tour we took in December.

London was colder overall during the first week of March than it was at Christmastime. Still we had some sunny days and sights were remarkably uncrowded. Westminster Abbey was deserted the afternoon we chose to go. The hearty pub food hit the spot in the cold weather, and we were traveling with our son, who is Mr. Go-Go-Go, so we were very busy. The usual pausa we take in the afternoons when traveling was almost non-existent. Our pedometers said we’d done as much walking as we do on most of our hiking trips!
A few tips for those planning a trip to London:
  1. London Walks does a great job of outdoor tours. We all enjoyed “The Old Palace Quarter” walk. Only £10.00 per person. 
  2. Westminster Abbey’s audio guide is fabulous; better than the guided tour we had in a too-crowded abbey with London Walks in December. On the other hand, LW allowed us to skip-the-line (a rather significant line at Christmas time).
  3. The London Pass is a great deal if you pack your days. We managed to buy the 3-day pass during one of their 20% off promotions and saved £32.00 each on admissions over those 3 days. 
  4. You can negotiate your rent on a longer stay in a flat. By asking, I was able to get a discount on the posted rate for our two-bedroom flat this trip, and I found the rents soft for a return trip we are making in April. It never hurts to ask.
  5. We kept our daily budget for eating to our target of €100.00 by eating 5 breakfasts and 3 dinners in the flat and frequenting pubs and a reasonably priced Indian restaurant. In a city as expensive as London, we did not think it possible to meet our target, but we did.  
  6. Waitrose delivers groceries. I placed an order before we left town and had it delivered an hour after we checked in. Just like home for us. No schlepping of heavy bottles of water and wine. 
  7. The boat trip from Westminster to Greenwich on a sunny day is delightful. Great chance to see the architecture, including bridges, and the narration is pretty good. Included in the London Pass.
I’ll leave you with some photos from our trip, along with what I hope are insightful captions. As they say in London, cheers!
Tower Bridge view from the HMS Belfast. Walking across was quite fun.

Tower Bridge view from the HMS Belfast. Walking across was quite fun.

Tower Bridge glass walkway. Worth the climb.

Tower Bridge glass walkway. Worth the climb.

It is rather eerie standing on the walkway and seeing traffic far below. Would love to be up there for a bridge lift.

It is rather eerie standing on the walkway and seeing traffic far below. Would love to be up there for a bridge lift.

It was cold that day we visited the Tower of London and Tower Bridge!

It was cold that day we visited the Tower of London and Tower Bridge!

Planter in front of Brook's Gentlemen's Club, St. James. Our guide said the "1776" embossed on the planters (there are two) reflects the Whigs supporting the American Revolution. The club of the Tory opposition is immediately across the street.

Planter in front of Brook’s Gentlemen’s Club, St. James. Our guide said the “1776” embossed on the planters (there are two) reflects the Whigs supporting the American Revolution. The club of the Tory opposition is immediately across the street.

Who knew? Texas had a legation in London during its brief period as a country.

Who knew? Texas had a legation in London during its brief period as a country.

The Big Ben Breakfast at the Red Lion Pub was a treat on Derek's birthday.

The Big Ben Breakfast at the Red Lion Pub was a treat on Derek’s birthday.

Spring has sprung! Green Park and St. James Park were awash in daffodils despite the chill.

Spring has sprung! Green Park and St. James Park were awash in daffodils despite the chill.

Who knew there were herons in St. james Park? This guy was perched in a tree by the path and Ric managed to get a good shot.

Who knew there were herons in St. james Park? This guy was perched in a tree by the path and Ric managed to get a good shot.

I cannot see these uniforms and the men marching without chanting "O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!"

I cannot see these uniforms and the men marching without chanting “O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!”

Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace. God it was cold and we had to stand for two hours!

Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace. God it was cold and we had to stand for two hours!

Admiring the daffodils in Green Park. the Queen was given 50,000 bulbs by the Dutch for her Jubilee. Schoolchildren planted them, Liz did not.

Admiring the daffodils in Green Park. the Queen was given 50,000 bulbs by the Dutch for her Jubilee. Schoolchildren planted them, Liz did not.

London skyline featuring the Walkie Talkie, the Cheese Grater, and the Gherkin.

London skyline featuring the Walkie Talkie, the Cheese Grater, and the Gherkin.

Royal Observatory, Greenwich. This is a sundial and the dolphin tails point to the hour.

Royal Observatory, Greenwich. This is a sundial and the dolphin tails point to the hour.

My toes straddling the Prime Meridian.

My toes straddling the Prime Meridian.

We had already eaten when we happened upon the Pie & Mash with eels in Greenwich. Darn!

We had already eaten when we happened upon the Pie & Mash with eels in Greenwich. Darn!

Love the contrasts in London. Here some vintage buildings with the Shard in the background.

Love the contrasts in London. Here some vintage buildings with the Shard in the background.

View from our flat: The Palace Theatre at Cambridge Circus, right in the heart of things.

View from our flat: The Palace Theatre at Cambridge Circus, right in the heart of things.

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18 Responses to “London”

  1. Anita March 13, 2016 at 23:41 #

    Beautiful pic of the heron. There is no way I would have been able to walk on that glass bridge, you are so brave! 🙂

    Like

    • gooddayrome March 14, 2016 at 14:40 #

      It was quite safe if a bit weird. I have a fun picture of my son pretending to push me into the void.

      Like

  2. marilyneb March 12, 2016 at 17:48 #

    Glad you enjoyed your return visit and discovered Pret – it and lots of place like it can make eating here in London quite a reasonable experience, although evening can be a bit harder. Next time you are here you should check out Westminster Cathedral down the road from the Abbey!

    Like

    • gooddayrome March 13, 2016 at 07:11 #

      I was naively unaware there was also a Westminster Cathedral. Weàll check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. apollard March 11, 2016 at 09:24 #

    What a great idea to get the groceries delivered!

    Like

    • gooddayrome March 11, 2016 at 09:43 #

      I have to credit the company we rented from for the idea. We do it all the time in Rome, but I never thought to do it on the road when we rent for a week. You can be sure I’ll be using that trick again!

      Liked by 1 person

      • apollard March 11, 2016 at 09:53 #

        May I please ask what supermarket you use for deliveries in Rome?

        Like

        • gooddayrome March 11, 2016 at 11:14 #

          Yes, it was Waitrose. The link is in the blog. Great service!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. gradsabroad March 10, 2016 at 23:41 #

    I agree about visiting places multiple times! You just can’t experience it properly until you’re a bit less of a tourist.

    Like

    • gooddayrome March 11, 2016 at 06:46 #

      Thank you for stopping by! Looking forward to reading more of your blog, too.

      Like

  5. Anisa March 10, 2016 at 20:49 #

    Agree eating in London can be expensive but there are some really good cheap places too. My fav is la porchetta pollo bar in soho.

    Like

    • gooddayrome March 10, 2016 at 21:34 #

      Don’t know that place, but we “discovered” Pret a Manger this trip. Really decent and interesting food at a very good price.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anisa March 10, 2016 at 21:40 #

        We have pret here in NY. It’s great for breakfast or lunch, but for dinner not really.

        Like

  6. Marcia Kakiuchi March 10, 2016 at 19:41 #

    $100 pounds a day! You amaze me. We couldn’t do it there. So pricey! I love the photo looking down from Ric’s feet. Scary but cool. And West Minster….I could go back there over and over. I so envy your travels!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gooddayrome March 10, 2016 at 21:33 #

      Actually 100 Euros, but close enough on dollars. 100.00 pounds-day would be horrible! Renting apartments and cooking a bit really helps both budget and diet!

      Like

      • John Henderson March 13, 2016 at 22:45 #

        Returning to a place peels away a layer of culture. After a few visits, you get to the core of a people. It’s why I love living in Rome. Every day, I peel away something new.

        Liked by 1 person

        • gooddayrome March 14, 2016 at 14:38 #

          True, there is always something to discover here. Sometimes just walking down the street a different direction, or walking on the other side of the street, gives you a view on something new-to-you.

          Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Even a great trip can have it’s share of problems | gooddayrome - November 6, 2016

    […] on the classic must-sees (see entries about our Christmas trip here and here, and about our March trip).  This time we wandered in diverse and historic neighborhoods, sought out places locals eat […]

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