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Hampton Court, The London Eye, and Thames Cruise

London, United Kingdom

What a day!  I am beat.  The only thing I can think about is how much my feet hurt.  Sightseeing is hard work.The family started out the day by traveling by way of the Underground to Waterloo train station.  There was a seamless transition between the tube and the train, and we were on our way again, heading to Hampton Court, the summer lodgings of English royalty.  Most notably, Henry VIII, Mary Tudor, and Elizabeth I.  There we met up with some cousins, Jill and her two daughters Pip and Lizzy.  Lizzy is Carly's age and Pip is (I think) three years younger.  They were all delightful, and it was great to see Pip and Jill again because since the family reunion a few years back.  We toured Hampton court with them before heading out to eat at a nearby pub.  I got my first sip of cider there.  In London, cider is alcoholic.  If you want American cider that you'd usually see around Autumn, it's called "pressed" cider.At Hampton Court, we walked through the main plaza, called clock court for a very impresive Astrological Clock that graced one of the turrets, then headed to William and Mary's lodgings that were located through some banquet halls.  The open air parks in between buildings were very well-manicured and had a very fitting geometrical grace to them, instead of the hodge podge of additions, refurbishments, and wear that other castles/old buildings I've seen in the area.  Even though it looked refined, we were informed by one of the costumed workers that during the summer months with more than 1,000 only slightly hygenic people living there, it could get a bit foul.  It's better than living in the thick of London though.  Can you imagine the state of the streets and the river?  It would absolutely reek in this heat!We were lucky to stumble upon a portrait of Charles I with a bunch of puppies gamboling around his feet.  We recognized the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel right off because it's only one breed away from our Continental Toy Spaniels back home. 
We always said that my dog, Sparky, was just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Cavalier (while Jazzy favors the Papillons) and this picture proves it!  That's the spitting image of Sparkplug.We all took a walk in the gardens after viewing a game of "real tennis."  Don't ask me to explain it.  Mom geeked out about a few of the flowers, and Carly geeked out about how great it would be to have parks like this back home.  I was just ready for the maze.  It's one of the most popular hedge mazes anywhere, and we were able to solve it in under 20 minutes!After eating with the Soars, we were ready to head back to London.  Just around the corner from the train station was "The London Eye."  It's a very large ferris wheel (stands at a height of 443 ft) on the bank of the Thames with 32 pill-shaped passenger capsules that seat about 20 people at a time.  The wheel does not stop for loading and unloading.  You're just encouraged to move quickly... after the bomb squad has sweeped the compartment for explosives after every group departs that is...  It was a fun trip, including a 4D introduction experience that took you soaring through London, but the best part was Madam Toussaud's wax figure of Daniel Radcliffe standing near the queue.  My stomach did a backflip, but I was hustled away before I could snap a picture.
After looking at them from above, we popped over the Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey (which were all closed), before we hopped on a river cruise of the Thames.  Parliament makes an appearance in the new Sherlock Holmes movie (that I've seen commercials for around). 
You can see Holmes diving into the Thames from one of Parliament's windows :D Westminster Abbey is behind Parliament (which is the buidling attached to Big Ben if you didn't know) and it's kind of yellowish looking. I dunno if the picture picks it up well.  While on the cruise we made a round trip from the Eye to Tower Bridge in about an hour.At that time, we were ready for dinner, so we headed back to Covent Garden (a nice shopping area) for a bit of shopping (I found the Disney store!) and dinner at a Indian Restaurant called Mansala Zone.  The menu had little peppers next to the dishes that were spicy.  Good thing I didn't even try for a one pepper dish because the regular entree they brought out was more than hot for my pampered American taste buds.  It was hot, but it was gooood.  The entire restaurant was decorated in Rajhasthani Puppets assembled in a entourage celebrating a parade day.  It gave the restaurant a fun, festive air.  Two thumbs way, way up.We turned in early tonight and are hopefully going to take it a bit easy tomorrow because we're all exhausted from the continuing effects of jet lag and non-stop schedules.  The food is keeping us going.  The food here is super!  I can't say enough about how much fun I'm having.  EVERYTHING is fun.  Just walking down the street or going into the underground or people watching or playing your team/my team with Carly.  It's all super super fun.  Maybe it's just the novelty.  I'm not sure, but I am having the time of my life over here!  Hope you all are well.  Thanks for reading, I'm putting a lot of effort into this every night and it's nice to see comments when I get back from a busy day.Christina-- They're treating us just fine :)  When we don't talk, look confused, walk out into the street when we're not supposed to, aim a camera at something, or carry around a map wide-open, we blend right in!  So... not very often.  We're obviously tourists, but not obviously American. Lizzy and I fired off questions to each other about the different cultures.  She pretty much wanted to know whether or not Americans act like they do in the movies, since England gets a lot of American cinema, and I wanted to know more about the education system (which is a little dry to go into here).  They said my English accent was a bit "posh" sounding, but almost indestinguishable from a native!  Wohoo!

permalink written by  Kelsey Ingle on August 17, 2009 from London, United Kingdom
from the travel blog: A Rover in the Clover
tagged LondonEye, BigBen, Fun, Indian and HamptonCourt

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Atlanta, United States

London is the capital of England and the United Kingdom and by far the largest city there. They have a historical heritage that I'd love to see for myself. And of course, they have Parliment and Big Ben :)

permalink written by  MeganThompson84 on November 4, 2010 from Atlanta, United States
from the travel blog: Atlanta to London
tagged London, BigBen and UnitedKingdom

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