Wednesday, August 8, 2012

London Part Two

As I said previously, London is among the best European cities to visit with children. It is difficult to find a good cultural experience that can be enjoyed by all ages. Everything down to the people in the street makes it a family friendly adventure.
 One stereotype about the weather in London is that it rains all the time. It certainly rained nearly everyday during our time there, but it was not all of the time. It seemed that every morning we awoke to a bright and shiny day, but by late afternoon there were storm clouds, and by dinnertime we were ducking inside and wringing out our coats. This I believe attributes to the general upbeat attitudes of the population. They awaken everyday to sunshine, and so have a great start to their day. Then when the rain comes in the afternoon, they are still happy from the morning and go about their day with smiles. This is different from where I am from, the US North West, where when it rains it pours, and does so all day and all night, with a few breaks when the wind blows just right.

 We toured the royal carriages one afternoon. There are about a dozen different coaches, mostly wooden or metal, that are meant to be horse drawn. This golden coach, which requires a dozen horses to draw it, is used in coronations and other important events in the royal family.
 We attended a theater production of the play "Wicked," which was a wonderful sight to see. It is a good idea to choose a couple shows to see at the end of your days in the city. Buy the tickets ahead of time, by about a week, to get good seats, or you can wait in line early in the day for unsold tickets on the day of the show. Either way, it is a nice break from walking and museums to sit down and watch a three hour show and be amazed by costumes and elated by song.
 The White Tower of London is a wonderful place to visit. If you've only got one day in the city, this is what you should see. There is a bit of everything for a single entrance (although it is one of the most expensive places to visit in the city). There is a small chapel, towers with historical relevance (such as having been prisons for famous figures), history lessons in every tower, and beautiful structures. In the central tower you can view a collection of armor and weaponry, centuries old and from all over the world. You can browse through the crown jewels and enjoy a small military museum. And there are generally tours available, included in your ticket price, given by royal guards with vast knowledge of the towers.

The second religious monument we visited was St. Paul's Cathedral. It is a beautiful and unique representation of community togetherness and faith. The grand structure is filled with sculptures and artwork that celebrate the Christian faith, while avoiding directly citing Catholisism. It is a difficult balancing act, and is fascinating to view. Below is a gorgeous set of stones in dedication to deceased persons and groups. Inside the dome are beautiful fresco style paintings of Jesus' disciples. 

On the second to last day, we spent our morning in Kew Gardens, a beautiful and robust acreage filled with greenhouses and covered in exotic and domestic plants. After which we enjoyed English Tea for lunch, and then spent the afternoon shopping. The next morning, as we had an early afternoon flight, we enjoyed a traditional English breakfast before heading to the airport. 

In summary, it is hard to go wrong on a visit to Yon London Town. Think about what interests you, and make time to do those things. If you're a history buff, you've got endless choices. If you're into fashion or shopping, you've got avenues of options. If you're into nature, there are museums, parks, and gardens awaiting your visit. It would take a year of touristing every single day to run out of things to see in London and the surrounding boroughs. The biggest thing is that you have a plan, buy your tickets ahead of time, and eat as many scones as your belly will hold.

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