Tuesday, September 30, 2014

48 Hours in London

On our way back from Kenya in June, we budgeted some time to spend a couple of days in London. I had never been to the UK, and as an Anglican, this was obviously a situation that needed to be rectified. We arrived at Heathrow early in the morning, picked up our luggage, and paid to have our large bags held so we only had to take our carry-ons on the Underground. After making our way to our hotel near the Earl’s Court stop (along with a large Argentinean teenage football/soccer team), we took a moment to sit and charge our phones. We decided on Westminster Abbey as our first stop.

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Look, kids! Big Ben!

I had my moments in Westminster Abbey, fawning over the graves of some of my favorite composers and bringing Joe up to speed on the English Reformation. We also participated in a brief prayer service at the shrine of St. Edward the Confessor.

Joe’s dad used to live in London, not far from where we were staying, so we headed back to that area, had lunch in a pub, and walked around. Then we checked into our room and took a much-needed nap and shower.

I figured that after several weeks of Kenyan food, we’d be longing for an upscale dining experience, so I’d made reservations at Launceston Place in Kensington. It was amazingly lovely. We were particularly fond of the sommelier who talked to us about the wine and his studies to become a master sommelier. I only managed one blurry picture of our cheese course with matching wines.

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A copy of the full tasting menu along with the wines we enjoyed was presented to us as we left. It had started raining, so we splurged on a taxi back to the hotel.

The next morning, we hopped out of bed to go for a run! The elevation and geography at Kijabe was not conducive to longer runs, so I was looking forward to running to and around Hyde Park. We managed just over 6 miles, and despite the jet lag and giant meal the night before, we felt amazing. Must be that altitude training!

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Do people still build gardens as a sign of love? If not, they should.

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Harrod’s! We didn’t go in, but Joe really wanted me to at least see the outside.

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We even stumbled upon Cardinal Newman.

After a quick shower and breakfast, we journeyed to St. Paul’s Cathedral. When we got off the tube, we headed the wrong way trying to find it. After turning around and seeing the large dome (thanks Christopher Wren!) right behind us, we had to laugh.

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We did climb all the way to the top public access for simply stunning views of London. Even besides the gorgeous church and art work and history, the admission fee is worth it for the climb to the top alone.

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We found a nearby pub for lunch, but unfortunately, our schedule did not allow for us to tour the Tower of London. We still took some pictures with the Tower Bridge and watched the many tourists.

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Our next engagement was pretty touristy but also really fun: an afternoon tea on a river cruise!

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We spent a couple hours eating and drinking up and down the Thames.

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I’m lucky to be married to a husband who enjoys live theatre and music as much as I do, and he suggested we see a show while we were there. I really wanted to see Matilda: The Musical because Matilda, the book, was my favorite as a kid.

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The show did not disappoint, even though it was quite warm in the theatre. It was amazing to see how professional and talented the children were. On our way back to the hotel, we took a detour to Piccadilly Circus to see the sights and sounds of Piccadilly Circus on a Friday night, but I was ready for bed by then.

The next morning we woke up and caught the very first train to Heathrow to travel back to the United States. Everything else in London will have to wait until next time!