Tim took a business trip to London and I was lucky enough to tag along! Not only was it a break from the Tokyo heat, but we got to experience a bit of the Brexit controversy live (yikes).
We touched down, took the tube into Picadilly Circus, and when we popped up we were hit in the face with... LONDON!
On the first of Tim's few free days we jumped on "The Original Tour" double-decker sightseeing bus. In this way we were able to squeeze in all of the big sights around town while getting a pretty hilarious running commentary from our tour guide. I've decided I really like this cheesy bus touring thing.
St. James Park was a peaceful yet lively walk located very close to Buckingham Palace. Tourists were out in droves and the atmosphere was very cheerful and chatty.
I toured the British Museum while Tim was at work. What a giant, all-encompassing museum chock-full of the world's wonders. It is interesting to see how much the English have conquered and taken...
I took a full day to tour Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and Kensington Palace (from the outside). If people-watching, outdoor sculpture viewing, and long walks are your thing, you must come here (bonus if you can come in June during baby swan season!).
I had the pleasure of meeting up with Janice (who relocated to London with Toan at the same time that we relocated to Tokyo). Being in England of course I HAD to have high tea. She suggested Muriel's Kitchen in Soho and it was just perfect. Look at our spread! Tea cakes, scones, brownies, meringue, banana pudding, carrot cupcake and my favorite tea - chamomile. And yes, it was served on a mini picnic bench!
The next day I took a walk to Primrose Hill to see the city skyline. I made it to the top just as raindrops began to fall.
Janice recommended the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons. It's full of human and animal anatomical specimens assembled in the 1700's by John Hunter. The collection includes the skeleton of a 7'7" giant, pickled body parts riddled with various diseases, and Winston Churchill's dentures. Definitely a bit creepy but worth a visit!
Highgate Cemetery was a beautiful walk through the woods. Karl Marx is buried there and seemed to be the biggest attraction, as the grounds were quiet and tourist-free except for the area surrounding his grave. I'll remember for future reference that the West Side requires a reservation and a private tour. It was very unreal to step off of the busy city streets and into such a deeply peaceful and beautiful forest.
And what timing - last June we experienced the Gay Pride in NYC. This year we celebrated with London in Soho!
We packed in three museums in one day - hello Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and Victoria and Albert Museum. The big museums are clustered next to each other and, amazingly, all London museums are absolutely free!
Our favorite part of the trip was definitely seeing our friends Toan, Janice, and Tam. Tam happened to be working from the Palantir office during our stay. What a happy coincidence! Seeing as how Toan and Janice will be in London for another year, it's hard to tell when all of our paths will cross again.
What a trip. We had a jolly good time, London! Thank you!