10/19/2011

London Day 6

This was our last full day in London.  :(  We started out at Harrods.  It was so big, I had no idea where to turn!  But it was so beautiful.  I don't know how many pictures I took of the area around the escalators!
I had read somewhere that Harrods is the place to get souvenirs.  That would be a big fat NO.  As we were looking for the gift shop, we had to cross the art gallery.  We stopped and talked to the lady that was working, to see if we could take a picture.  She said that if there was a piece that we found interesting, we could take one.  So, this is the piece I chose:

The artist is Lorenzo Quinn, son of actor Anthony Quinn.  We also saw one of his pieces in Mayfair  as we were looking for a bus.  All of the pieces were absolutely gorgeous.  And, if we had £87,000 to spare, we might have considered buying it!
We made our way to the Christmas Shop:
All I bought there was a Christmas Ornament.  Even the cash registers were beautiful:
As we were leaving that department, I stopped one of the workers and asked her what we needed to make sure we saw before we left the store.  She suggested the restaurant on the ground floor (which we had seen when we came in):
She also recommended the pet shop and the Georgian Restaurant.  We went by the Chocolate Bar, but it was CLOSED.  I couldn't believe it.  I really wanted to go in there.  We had to go through the "French Laundry" on the way to the Georgian.
The Georgian:  Oh my goodness was it beautiful!
We saw a show on the television that night that was kind of a nicer version of "Hell's Kitchen.  It looked like it had been filmed at that restaurant.
After we left  Harrods, we made our way to Lambeth to the Imperial War Museum.  We saw a place to eat that was actually in a church.  As in, we ate sandwiches where they have services.
The Imperial War Museum was a bit out of the way, but it was in a quieter part of London.  We saw a cool door in the sidewalk (I'm sure there was a story there), a good view of the London Eye, and a pub called "The Horse", which just happens to be the Small Town's Fight Song.

CH was in heaven.  He saw a tank that he had never seen before.  There was a wonderful Holocaust Exhibit, but I only made it around half-way through before I started tearing up.  The Museum was really awesome with the exhibits they had.  You could walk through a foxhole and sit through an air raid.  There were a few school groups visiting that day, so it was pretty noisy, but definitely a must-see.
After the museum we went to Twinings Tea Shop on the Strand.  If you don't know, the shop has been owned by the same family for 250 years.  Seriously, y'all...that's longer than the USA has been a country.  It smelled wonderful in that shop!  I bought a couple of boxes of tea for a couple of coworkers that I eat lunch with, and then I bought a big box and a smaller box for us.
 We hurried out of there so we could see the Horse Guard Inspection.  Queen Victoria came through the gate to find none of the guards at their post; they were all drunk on ale.  So, she ordered that for the next 100 years, there would be an inspection every day at 4:00.  The 100 years ended about 30 years ago, but the tradition continues.  It was a lot less crowded than seeing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham (which we didn't go to), and probably a lot less stuffy.  Before the horses went in, they were standing at their place.  There's a sign that warned that the horses may bite, but there was a woman who had her picture taken right next to the horse.  He turned his head and almost got a chunk out of her.  After she moved, a young woman went up to have her picture taken, and almost had her foot stomped on.  Of course I had to go up there, but I didn't get too close.  CH got there just as the horse was going in for inspection:
 The horses were beautiful.  Check out one of the horse's tongue:
It stayed like that the whole time!  And, the one closest to us had just about had enough:
Here are a couple more pictures from the inspection:

We were on a quest to find a church that was very different looking from the other churches.  I could have sworn that the church was on the Strand, it sat back from the other buildings, and it was red brick with white "stripes" on it.  As it turns out, we were in the right area, but not the right street.  We never did find the church I was looking for (which is Westminster Cathedral), but we did happen upon St. James's Church.  It was a nice surprise.  There was a market going on outside of the church:
Inside, the church was gorgeous:
As you can see in the first picture, there was a pianist practicing when we walked in.  It was so nice to just sit and enjoy the music, and get away from the noise and the hustle and bustle from outside.  Several people (including a couple of homeless people) were taking advantage of the solitude.  While we were in there, I noticed that my bag from Twinings was torn.  I took a quick inventory, and didn't think anything was missing.  When we got home and I was unpacking, I realized that I had lost the small box of tea that I had bought for us.  At least it was the least expensive thing!  
From there, we headed to Chinatown.  I had only seen a Chinatown (in DC) from the car, so I wanted to walk through it and experience it.  We were going to meet our friends (the ones who took us around Surrey), but they weren't able to make it.  So, we wandered around for a bit.  I think I was expecting more; I was expecting it to be bigger. CH found a buffet for £4.90.  The buffet was small, definitely not what we're used to.  There was just a few things on a round table, but it was good.  The manager/owner/maitre d' (whatever this man was!) was exceptionally nice to us.
 From there, we headed to the tube to ride out to King's Cross.  On the way, we saw Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, M&M's World London, and the theater where James Earl Jones & Vanessa Redgrave are acting in "Driving Miss Daisy".
 The reason for our quest to King's Cross was to see the Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter.  It took us a few minutes and a bit of wandering around to find it, since it's actually outside and not in the actual station.
 I also wanted to see St. Pancras Station.  I wish we had gone during the day, because the building just looked amazing.  We got there around 7:00 on Friday, so there were a lot of crowds and policemen.  This was the only place I didn't feel real safe.  We saw more policemen in that area than we had the rest of the week put together.  My pictures of St. Pancras didn't turn out because of the darkness.  :(
As we were leaving, CH saw this plaque in the tube station:
There were a couple of girls from the big city next to us who were on that train when the bomb went off.  CH just happened to see it as we were waiting for the train.
When we were checking the map to make sure we knew where we were going, a lady asked us if we were from London.  We said no, and the lady asked us how to get to a certain station.  CH explained how to read the map to her, and then a young man asked how to get to another station.  It just happened to be the same station we were going to, so he followed us to the train.   
We got back to the area of our hotel, got some souvenirs for the boys, and then called it a night.  Here are a few pictures from the day:






8 comments:

  1. I have enjoyed reading about your trip and seeing all the photos. What a great vacation - so much to see and do. I am so disappointed that you didn't buy me anything at Harrods! ;-)

    I saw the photo of you & Karen on her blog.
    Guurl, you sure get around!

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  2. London has to be my next vakay! I love that you ate at a place that was a church! And you know you had me with all the old church photos! Boo about the chocolate bar.

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  3. Mary!!! You have seen so much I can't believe it. What a trip!

    Oh...and I LOVE LOVE LOVE twinings tea...especially Lady Gray. Yum.

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  4. Mary, I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed reading about your trip! It's brought back so many memories.

    One of my favorite things about the Imperial War Museum was the history of the building - the Bedlam Mental Hospital. I was fascinated by the fact that the upper crust used to pay to go in to see the patients there and could poke them and throw things at them as though they were animals. And I also love knowing where all those old saying come from...."This place is Bedlam!" lol

    I also love walking through Harrods - but I never buy anything there! It's so expensive!!

    I loved all your photos. It looks like you had wonderful weather and a great visit.

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  5. I have been incredibly swamped--no time for comments, but I have been oh-soooo-jealous! Thanks for making me feel like I was there, and for giving me time away from the reality here. Beautiful!

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  6. My oh my you did a lot that day! The pictures are wonderful. I enjoyed my day at Harrods. I bought a bunch of gifts in their gift shop. Of course everything says Harrods on it! So glad you were able to make this trip of a lifetime.

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  7. You guys packed a lot in...I just read back a bit. I thought the war museum was kinda interesting. Hubs loved it!

    I love everything about Wimbledon. The girls and I went with a big group of friends one year and we sat on the lawn and had Pimms and strawberries and cream. They got Serena Williams autograph (she's a machine!) and Tim Henmens too...it was one of my favorite days ever in all our years there.

    Glad you had a good week!

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  8. I can't believe all of the stuff that you did while you were there. I bet you just scratched the surface too of things to do and see. I would have come back completely happy...but completely exhausted. I'm loving reading about your trip and seeing the photos. Thank you so much for sharing it all with us, Mary. I'm so happy that you got to experience all of that.

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