So it’s taking me forever to finish posting about our trip to London. I will continue to put some pictures of the rest of our London vacation on the blog. It’s been three months since that trip. In the last three months we have gone back to the US for training, finished training, visited families in the northwest and Iowa, come back to Central Asia, and this past weekend, moved into our own apartment! Woo-hoo!!! After moving 6 times and living out of suitcases this year, it sure is nice to have our own place again!
We have started our life here in CA at full speed. We are both busy with our jobs, and soon we hope to get back to language learning. In the midst of all that we will unpack, set up our apartment, and try to establish some kind of routine. It’s good to be home!
Day 5 in London began with a tour of the Westminster Palace, or the Houses of Parliament. We had to pay to get tickets online, but it was worth every pence! A couple of months before we left for London I had been following UK’s general election on television. Since I learned more about UK’s politics it was especially interesting for me to visit the House of Lords and House of Commons. The whole place was so regal. But, you guessed it right, no photography was allowed inside. The only place we could take pictures of was Westminster Hall, the oldest surviving part of the Palace of Westminster, built between 1097-1099.
After lunch we headed to Tower of London. For some reason, it seemed to me more like an enchanted castle from a Disney movie. All the mysteries and stories we read about on our tour there made it seem even more unreal. But it’s a real castle!
We went inside this building to see the spectacular Crown Jewels. For a moment (maybe longer than a moment) I wished I were the Queen of England!
Part of the White Tower, the oldest part of the castle (circa 1080)
The largest and smallest armours in the royal armour collection
On this day, we took the train out to Cambridge. The train ride was a good way to start the day. The countryside was so beautiful and peaceful. We walked from the train station to town. On the way I got me a cup of latte that was probably one of the best I’ve had in my life. Yum! We visited King’s College Chapel first. Ate lunch at a cozy English pub, where Francis Crick and James Watson first made the announcement of their discovery of DNA on February 28, 1953. Then we walked through St. John’s College, down the Backs, up to Clare College. Went into the Cambridge University Press bookshop. But we did not feel very intellectual that day, so we did not buy any books. After browsing through the market place, we made our way down to the River Cam to go punting. We opted to have a chauffeured tour, so that we could enjoy the view and have a relaxing time without having to worry about keeping the punt from flipping over or running into the river bank. It turned out to be a very enjoyable time. That was our day in Cambridge.
We came in at the right time. Someone was practicing on the organ, and the acoustics were amazing!
St. John’s College
Punting on River Cam (traffic was a bit heavy)
View of King’s College from the river
First thing in the morning on Day 3 was touring the Westminster Abbey, which took all morning, and we had to go back for a little bit in the afternoon before they closed. It was definitely one of the highlights of the whole trip. Many important people were buried in the Abbey, like kings and queens of England, Handel and other composers, David Livingstone and William Wilberforce, etc. Unfortunately, like most fascinating places we’ve been to, photography was not allowed inside.
After the tour we grabbed some lunch in the area. Then we walked through St. James’s Park to Buckingham Palace.
Then we walked back towards the Parliament building and took a walk on the south bank of the Thames River.
We went to Chinatown by Leicester Square for dinner. After dinner as we were heading to the tube we heard a lot of commotion and saw huge crowds on the square. We decided to be good tourists and check it out. Turns out it was the premiere of “The Karate Kid”. Guess who we saw?