Monday, April 15, 2013

First Weekend in London!

Hey! Remember me?? So sorry for my absence the past few days. For various reasons, I was unable to blog but mostly because Luke was giving me a hard time and saying that I was jinxing our home stuff just by me mentioning the home on the blog. Anyway, I'm still not mentioning it, but possibly tomorrow. We'll see...

But today, I am going to tell you about our first weekend in London!!! OMG so exciting!!!!

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you may have noticed a post I made to a blogger called The Londoner last Friday. I found her blog a few months ago, after finding out we would be moving. I also found a few other contacts within London around the same time. So I was trying to put some feelers out there on Friday asking for help with our first weekend. This city is extremely overwhelming! Maybe as a visitor/tourist it isn't too bad because the attitude is "do the big stuff since we have limited time" and then plan accordingly. But as a resident, the attitude is "where in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks do we begin". I needed some guidance, and we sure got some!!

On Saturday morning, Luke and I hopped on the Waterloo train from Wimbledon. This train makes 4 stops before arriving to Waterloo and takes 17 minutes. It sounds like a good amount of time, but it goes by pretty quick! After that, we got on the Jubilee line and went 2 stops to London Bridge. We could have taken the Northern line right into London Bridge, but we are trying to feel out this CityMapper app which told us the route we took was cheaper. We have yet to check our Oyster account and see if that is correct.

We decided to begin by checking out the Borough Market which is right next to the London Bridge station. We grabbed a few smoked sausages and a pretzel stick (which by far beats all of the pretzels in Bavaria by far) for lunch and walked around while checking out the different booths. It is a great little market, although very packed! Luke and I really need to make use of these kinds of things more often, but his irritation with crowds kicks in and we never stay for too long.
If it were me, from there we would have headed toward St Pauls Cathedral, but instead we checked out some skyscrapers. Yes. Skyscrapers. Guess whose idea this was? We saw The Shard which gets its name because it looks like a shard of glass.

We headed across the River Thames by way of the London Bridge which gave us views of the Tower Bridge. Remember, the London Bridge and the Tower Bridge are two different bridges and the Tower Bridge is the pretty and famous one!
ABOVE: London Bridge, exciting eh?
BELOW: Tower Bridge in the background

On the London Bridge with The Shard in the background
Luke, with the pea-sized bladder, was demanding to stop in a pub. We came across O'Neills on Cannon Street, and stopped for a Doom Bar, one of England's delicious ales brewed by Sharp's.
Apparently we weren't done looking at skyscrapers, so next we found The Gherkin (actually named 30 St Mary Axe) which gets its name because it looks like a pickle. I think it looks like a torpedo or.....
We also passed a building that looked like a factory. It was strange, but pretty neat. Okay, maybe I like skyscrapers, too. Anyway, I discovered just now that this is the Lloyd's building.
Right Center building is the Lloyd's building. Looks like a factory, huh?
A girl named Lauren, who has lived in London for a few years, but from England, told me to go to the Heron Tower, go up to the 38th floor and get a drink at Sushi Samba. This was probably the best advice! Drinks were expensive, but you're paying for the view! Thanks, Lauren!

Luke was getting antsy, so we made our way to Shoreditch to go to BrewDog. We love BrewDog! Along the way, we passed a row of shops on Bethnal Green (off the Shoreditch High Street) that looked really unique.
While in BrewDog, Luke began communicating with Geoff, whom we met a few months ago through Falene who also went skiing with us, and he is Canadian... if that means anything to you. JK :-) He lives in London, so we made plans to meet up with him. Luke and I took the bus to the Blackfriars Station since it was almost 2.5 miles from where we were. This is where things begin to get a little hazy... at 4pm... but hey, it's Saturday and we NEEDED a fun day! The rest of the afternoon and evening was raining pretty good, but it went a little something like this
-drink at The Blackfriar on Queen Victoria Street
-drink at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street
-drink at Tipperary on Fleet Street - HIGHLY recommend this place as it is really really fun with a really crazy couple of bartenders
-drink and food at Ye Olde Cock Tavern on Fleet Street where we had a marching band pound in our ears... seriously, we sat down for food and then they swarmed us, not cool, not cool (see video below)
Seriously about to play in my ears. Come on! I had to move to another seat at the table.
-attempted to go into a bar that is located in an old underground toilet station but couldn't get in for we may have been too "normal"... something I will tell you about if you ask, but I can't get myself to say it on the internet
-drink at Nell Gwynne Tavern on Bull Inn Court off Strand

By that point, it was 9pm, and I was fading fast. Luke and I hiked from the Charing Cross Station over the Waterloo Bridge to Waterloo Station which trained us back home. Super fun day! I can't wait to have more days of exploring in the future!! But it would be much more fun if our friends joined us - hint hint, come visit!!!

The Gherkin was built in 2001, and The Shard was built in 2009. The Shard is the tallest building in London standing at 310 meters tall.



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