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Blog #722

London - 5/7/2016

Jenny, Sarah and I boarded the buses around 6:00am with the other band members and family that had opted for todayís additional day trip to London.  The ride to the Eurostar station near central Paris took about an half an hour.  We went through customs and waited to board the train.  Eventually, we walked down the platform and climbed aboard the sleek train cars for our high speed trip to London.  Our route took us north from Paris to Calais where we journeyed under the English Channel to reemerge at Dover for the final sprint into London at St Pancras railway station.  During the two and a half hour trip we enjoyed a light lunch and relaxed.  The seats were large and very comfortable.  They were larger and offered more legroom than on any airplane I had ever been on.  The trained moved along at a blistering 300 kilometers per hour or 187 miles per hour.  It was a very smooth ride and I was able to walk around with no difficulty.  This is truly the best way to travel.  Watching the countryside whiz past the windows was like nothing I had seen before.


Eurostar

Once we arrived in England, the three of us transferred to the London Underground to begin our day exploring.  As we emerged from the underground at Westminster Station I we surprisingly greeted with the sight of Big Ben.


Big Ben

A walk of just a couple blocks and we were at Westminster Abbey.


Westminster Abbey

Next, we walked the quaint streets about a half mile to arrive at Buckingham Palace.  We pressed our way through the large crowd to witness the changing of the guards.


Buckingham Palace

Guards

We walked along a street called Birdcage Walk which runs along the south edge of St. Jamesí Park.  We browsed several shops and admired the gardens along the street.


St. James' Park

We crossed the River Thames on Westminster Bridge where we rode aloft on the London Eye.  At itís highest point the wheel is 443 feet tall.  We were able to get a bird's-eye view of the city's landmarks.


View from Loundon Eye

Next, we took a river cruise from the London Eye to the Tower of Loudon about two miles away.  We passed under the Golden Jubilee Bridges, Waterloo Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Millennium Bridge, Southwark Bridge and London Bridge.  Upon arriving at the Tower of London we were able to see the famous Tower Bridge nearby.


Me and Sarah

We explored the Tower of London for over an hour.  We saw the ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London, popularly known as the Beefeaters.  There was a portrayal of a peasant revolt and we saw a glimpse of a well connected couple getting married within the tower grounds, complete with royal guards.


Tower of London

Is was getting late in the afternoon and we hadnít eaten since before we arrive in England.  Right between the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, we found Perkin Reveller.  This contemporary, casual brasserie with river vista, outdoor tables and a menu of British classics turned out to be the surprising bonus of the day.  Being here on the banks of the River Thames I felt compelled to order the fish and chips.


Me

After a little shopping we made our way back to the London Underground for the ride from Tower Hill to King's Cross St. Pancras.  There, we would board the Eurostar for the return trip to Paris.  We were all very tired after hopping from sight to sight in London and two long international train rides.  Once we finally returned to the hotel we were right in bed.


Tomorrow we will visit Sacre-Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees.


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