Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mahan's Visit: War Rooms, M&M's and Mexican

Actual date of this event: 30-31 May

Luke and I are so thankful to have such great friends! Our friends Jill and Ryan came to visit us over the weekend from Aberdeen. Ryan and Luke get along really well because... they both have... similar personalities. And Jill and I are angels living with these personailities. hehe

Jill and I went back and forth about what to do for the weekend. We wanted to have a relaxing time, but also make it interesting. It was Ryan's first time in London, so we wanted to show him some highlights. After a terrible knee break while skiing in the Alps in March, he is still unable to walk for long distances, so we planned to make use of the tubes, buses and pubs.

They arrived late Thursday night, and Luke and I drove to Gatwick Airport to pick them up. The airport is pretty far south of London, but there was work being done on the train tracks, so it made easier to pick them up. It was dark outside, but apparently the countryside is very pretty around there. We ended up chatting until around 12:30 before heading to bed.

On Friday morning, Jill and I got up early to go for a jog. It was the last day of May, and she had worked out every single day of the month so far, so there was no stopping her from completing the full 31 days! Way to go Jill! (Remember, this is the lady who ran 26.2 miles just two months ago!) After our jog, we all got ready and were out the door by 10:30am to have a fun day.

We headed to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guards. I knew the "show" was daily (except for a few days throughout the year) at 11:30am at Buckingham Palace, but I didn't know too much else. When we arrived at the Palace around 11:15, there were crowds of people, which I expected. I had no idea what the event consisted of, which really was a mistake. We stood just outside of the gates to Green Park, so we were across the street from the Palace and the Queen Victoria Memorial Statue. We heard the band and saw the guards marching into the gates of the Palace, but that was all. After looking online for a bit, it seemed that if you don't arrive to the palace at least an hour before, you wont get a front row spot at the Palace gates and won't see whats going on (the two videos below include the only thing we saw while standing). So, our location was pointless. We all decided to move on to the next thing.

From Buckingham Palace, we walked through St. James' Park. The parks in London are so pretty! The city really does a great job of making them nice to walk and lay around in.
One of Ryan's requests for the weekend was to attend the Churchill War Rooms. The cabinet war rooms is the underground shelter where the British government stayed during The Blitz. As we walked through, we saw bunkers, meeting rooms, offices and other rooms. Many rooms were set up as they were during WWII with original items as well. We also learned about Winston Churchill's history.

This looks like a doorbell but it is actually a cigarette lighter.

After standing for a few hours in the museum, it was time for a break. We walked toward Westminster Abbey for a few pics, and then found a pub for a beer before eating our sammiches I had made for lunch.
We knew where we were going for dinner, but we still had a few hours before we needed to get there, so we hopped on the tube to Blackfriars to go to the Tipperary (a very old Irish pub - claims to be the oldest in London). Luke and I had been before on a Saturday and had a great time, and we were hoping for the same experience. Total. Failure. (Will have to try again some other time.) We had a beer, but the sun was shining and we needed to get outside asap. We caught a bus to Leicester Square where we hoped to enjoy the sunshine. Instead, we found M&M World and went a little overboard. We each dumped our preferred M&M's into baggies - the boys got their university's colors, Jill and I got dark chocolate peanut. After weighing the M&M's, we figure out that we had 45GBP worth! That's over $70 worth of candy!!! YOWZA!! It  made for a funny memory :-)

photo bombing M&M World employee :-/
With 5lbs of M&M's in a bag carried by Jill, we headed toward Wahaca in Soho for dinner. Vicki, a fellow expat in Aberdeen, raved about it, so we had to try it out! A delicious Mexican restaurant with a tequila bar downstairs... sounds great to me! We got there early to avoid having to wait which was a brilliant plan because there was a wait when we finished. Jill and I ordered yummy Passion Fruit margaritas as the boys stuck with Mexican beer. The food was more authentic Mexican rather than Tex-Mex, but it was still good!
Pork burrito - the staff recommends the pork
After dinner, we made our way downstairs to the Tequila bar for a few more rounds of Passion Fruit margaritas and beers. And then we started winding down, so we decided to go back to Wimbledon for a drink around there and be closer to home.
We had a fun day, but did a little more walking than we wanted, so we decided that we would take it a bit easier on Saturday. Read about it next...

After the surrender of Japan in August of 1945, the cabinet war rooms were abandoned, and the Churchill Cabinet War Rooms museum was opened to the public in 1984.

1 comment:

  1. I'm getting jealous of all this mexican food you're eating!!!!!


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