Monday, May 10, 2010

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner.

Briana and I made it to London on Wednesday without much trouble. At least without much trouble until we got to customs where we had to wait for over an hour just to get to the front of the line. We passed the time by looking at Sue Sylvester quotes from Glee, our favorite television program, and reliving our hilarious experiences in Spain. When we finally made it through customs, Briana went to meet her mom and I got on the underground to go meet my dad. I got off at the Holborn stop and found my dad, then went to the hotel to put down my bags and get ready for dinner. We stayed at the Marriot Chancery Court Hotel, and I loved every second of it. Everyone was incredibly helpful and our rooms were so comfortable. For our first dinner in London, my dad and I went to About Thyme, which was recommended by my dad's favorite website: It was so nice to see my dad again and tell him all about Spain over some fabulous food. I had delicious french onion soup for an appetizer followed by chicken stuffed with ricotta and spinach for my main course. We spent a long time at dinner just looking through my pictures from my travels and catching up. By the time we were finished, we were both really tired and decided to go back to the hotel to pass out early in preparation for a big day of touring on Thursday.

Me and my dad at About Thyme

In the morning, my dad and I woke up fairly early to meet our tour guide, Glen. We met right outside of Big Ben to begin our tour. We spent the day listening to Glen talk about Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, 10 Downing Street, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and even saw the changing of the guards. Surprisingly, we saw all of this before lunch time, so we went to the National Portrait Gallery Portrait Restaurant at the top of the museum, where we ate lunch with amazing views of Trafalgar Square. After lunch, we looked around the museum for a while to see Paul McCartney's and Princess Diana's portraits. By the time we had done that, we were both exhausted and decided to take a little afternoon nap. When we had rested up, we got ready for dinner and then went to the London Eye. Although it was my second time on the London Eye, it was still incredible. It is so cool to see the city of London from the Eye because you get a 360 degree view. After the London Eye, my dad and I got in a cab to go to Central Fish for dinner. It was another TripAdvisor recommendation and it did not let us down. I had mussels to start and then had halibut as my main dish. My dad had the fish and chips, which he loved. After a long day, we headed back to the hotel for the night.

Me and my dad playing around in London

At Buckingham Palace

Goofing off with the guards

Westminster Abbey

My dad and me in the London Eye

On Friday, we woke up, had breakfast at our hotel and then made our way to Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms, which were left exactly the way they were when WWII was over. We could have spent days in that museum, there was so much interesting information about the war and about Churchill. I would definitely recommend it to anyone and plan on going back in the future. After the war rooms, we headed towards St. Paul's Cathedral. Before we went into the cathedral, we got lunch at Pod, a fast food thai restaurant with excellent curry. When we were done with that, we went into St. Paul's, where we climbed up to the Whispering Gallery to look over the entire church. It is called the Whispering Gallery because if you whisper into the wall, anyone at any point around the gallery can hear it. There were tons of parents and children whispering things to one another, seeing if they really could hear each other from across the dome. My dad wanted to try it to, but, having the maturity level of a 15 year old boy, he kept whispering "whispering eye." If you don't understand this reference, you should really watch Role Models with Paul Rudd, Sean William Scott and Jane Lynch.

At the Churchill Cabinet War Rooms

After St. Paul's Cathedral, we walked across the Thames to the Design Museum. We saw a very cool exhibit that included a BMW that was made from materials that can change shapes according to the owner's preferences. We had a long day of walking, and my feet were killing me, so we didn't spend much time at the Design Museum. We did stop by the gift shop on the way out, where my dad found a really cool poster of the museum. When we left, we walked along the the Thames for a little bit, but then decided to get a cab back to the hotel because I had blisters on practically all of my toes. That night, we went to a play, Dirty Dancing, which I absolutely loved. It was very close to the movie and the last scene had incredible dancing. Since we hadn't gone to dinner before the play, we went to Fire and Stone after the play was over. My dad and I ordered unusual pizzas, but they were amazing. Mine had a ton of veggies on it, and I absolutely inhaled it. After dinner, we just went back to the hotel and fell asleep around midnight.

We woke up around 8 on Saturday to go find a Foot Locker so that I could get tennis shoes that wouldn't make my feet feel like they were falling off. We walked around for a little bit and had to wait for Foot Locker to open, but when it did, it was totally worth it. I got some cute new tennis shoes that made me feel like I was walking on air. After that, we went to the Portobello Market, which is a street just filled with booths upon booths of antiques. It was insanely crowded, so my dad and I walked around for a little bit and then got out of there as fast as possible. We tried to go to Pod for lunch again, since we had enjoyed it so much the day before, but were disappointed to find that it is closed on weekends. We ended up just fine because we found a place called Paul, where we enjoyed sandwiches and the best blueberry torte we've ever eaten.

After lunch, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the football game we were going to. I put on my new tennis shoes and a warm sweatshirt and we made our way to the West Ham football stadium. Thanks to the concierge at our hotel, we had great seats and got to see an amazing game. West Ham won, 1 - 0. When the game was over, we went to the gift shop to look around and found some souvenirs for my brother. Then we tried to walk back to the underground to get back to our hotel. However, the line to get back on the train wound around the corner and would have taken almost an hour to wait in, so we decided to go look for a drink. Unfortunately, we were completely unsuccessful and ended up just walking back to the underground station, where they had opened up another door, making it really easy for us to get back on the train. The train was obnoxiously crowded, but we made it back just fine and got ready for a nice dinner at CÔTE, a restaurant that I went to with my mom and sister when we were in London in March. Here we enjoyed a long dinner of mussels and coq au vin, then went back to the hotel to rest up for our next day of touring with Glen.

Me and my dad at the West Ham football game

Me and dad outside CÔTE

On Sunday, we woke up early again to meet Glen for our second tour with him. We started this tour outside St. Paul's Cathedral, but since my dad and I had already gone inside, we didn't go in this time. Then we went to the Millennium Bridge and the Tower of London. We did a lot of the same stuff that I had done at the Tower of London when I went with my mom and sister, but this time we also got to see the armory. It was really interesting to see all the different suits of armor from the royal family throughout the years. After this, we went to The Monument, where Glen told us about the fire of London in 1666. Then Glen walked us over to the South Bank, where we saw the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which I loved since I am a Harry Potter fanatic.

The Leaky Cauldron

Nugget Armor at the Tower of London

Me and my dad in front of Tower Bridge

We had lunch at The Anchor, and enjoyed a huge order of traditional fish and chips, as well as mushy peas. Then we walked over to the Tate Modern and spent some time looking at works by Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. We were both pretty exhausted from a long day and a very busy trip, so we went back to the hotel to rest before dinner. We had dinner at Matsuri Sushi and then headed to the hotel early to pack our bags for our next leg of the trip: Paris!

In the morning, we woke up early and made our way to the train station to catch the Chunnel, the train that goes from London to Paris under the English Channel. It is the longest undersea tunnel in the world. It only took about two hours to reach Paris, and in that time we were served a delicious breakfast and planned what sights we wanted to see in Paris, where we would meet up with my friend, Laura, for a few days.