11.29.2014 51 °F
We had a great day in London! I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to begin the day around 9:45 this morning. Since Justin was up so late writing the post last night, I let him sleep in longer while I had some cereal and read my book. He needs his beauty sleep too! I woke him up about an hour later because we had a lot planned for the day and he still needed to eat some breakfast before we left. We left the apartment at 11:30 and we were thrilled to be in the crisp air outside. We couldn’t figure out how to open our windows last night, so we ended up baking in our apartment all night because we also couldn’t figure out how to turn off the heat! It seems like the whole building has a single heating system that is controlled by someone else. I started our walk off by just wearing my tank top! Justin only wore a long-sleeved shirt and was just happy to be cold again for once.
Luckily, we cooled off as we continued walking. The first thing on our list for today was to walk through Hyde Park on our way to the center. Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London and it’s just a few blocks away from our apartment. It was massive! We walked through the entire park and got to pass by the two small lakes located in the green space. There was a scary amount of birds at each lake and Justin found that to be a fun time to bring up Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” movie. We didn’t spend much time admiring the waterfowl and soon we were on our way to our next destination. We saw the massive Christmas fair at the end of Hyde Park, but we figured we’d stop by another time since we still had plenty to do today.
The streets were insanely crowded as we approached the Winter Wonderland Christmas Fair. We fought through the people and finally found some open space on our way to Buckingham Palace. The roundabout located in between the Winter Wonderland and Buckingham Palace was even more packed than the sidewalks! The entire roundabout was congested with double decker busses and there was absolutely no movement. They looked like they’d be trapped for quite a while. We weaved in and out of the traffic while crossing the street before we finally made it to Buckingham Palace. Both of us were surprisingly underwhelmed with the palace. I think it’s tough to surprise us with palaces after seeing all of the French chateaux in the Loire. It all just looked so plain here! We still took some pictures and spent some time watching the guards located on the inside of the gates. We were also expecting there to be guards on the outside of the gates, but there were only tourists there.
We left Buckingham Palace feeling slightly unsatisfied and continued our journey through the equally crowded St James’s Park. This particular park is the oldest of London’s eight Royal Parks. We walked all the way through the park until we reached Horse Guards Road, where there are literally guards on horses standing watch. I hesitantly took a picture with one of the stern looking guards before moving on to check out Westminster. The streets continued to thicken with tourists trying to catch a glimpse of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster. The sidewalks definitely are not equipped for so many people! People were starting to spill into the streets trying to take pictures. Justin and I patiently waited for an opening in the sidewalk so we could take a Kuku selfie with Big Ben! The light was pretty incredible at this point and Big Ben was beautifully reflecting the sun light. The entire palace had some pretty impressive architecture and for those of you who don’t know, the Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, which are the two houses of Parliament in the UK. Justin and I definitely weren’t up to date on our British history! We were starting to get claustrophobic so we walked across the street and headed over to Westminster Abbey next.
Westminster Abbey had more incredible architecture and we got to admire the church from the outside. We would have gone inside if the entrance fee hadn’t been a whopping 18£! We took a mini break here and game planned the rest of our afternoon. It was still early at this point and we knew we had a few more hours of daylight that we wanted to take advantage of. Even though we were more than a few kilometers away from the apartment, we decided to walk back instead of take the tube because we wanted to check out the Christmas market at Hyde Park. It didn’t take us very long at all to get back to the crowded Christmas market. It did, however, take a while to walk through the Christmas market itself because it was so overcrowded. We were sandwiched like sardines and were forced to follow the flow of traffic from one stand to another. We only stayed for a brief amount of time because there were way too many people for us to handle.
We continued our walk through Hyde Park and made it back to the main street by our house. We were eager to get back and rest and have a snack since we had been gone all afternoon! Luckily, we still had some delicious curry leftover last night. We feasted and enjoyed some episodes of Chopped! Justin was full and sleepy after having his lunch and decided to take a nap right as the sun went down around 16:00. He’s still resting as I’m writing this post and both of us our waiting for our friend La’akea to arrive! He’s coming for the night from Oxford before we all head off to Wales together tomorrow morning It’s always fun to reunite with familiar faces and we’re excited to continue the adventure with him!
This is Justin picking up where Kaela left off. La’akea is with us know and we have had a great time hanging out tonight. We picked up supplies for pasta at the store and La’akea picked up some wine for us to split. We enjoyed our delicious dinner, that Kaela prepared, at home while watching the Real Madrid game. We spent the evening sipping wine, enjoying each other’s company, and sharing stories. Kaela is currently asleep and La’akea and I are up late watching the Hawaii football game! We have a train to Cardiff, Wales in the morning. We are excited to see another country and even more excited to be traveling with a good friend of us!
Kaela and Justin
P.S. La'akea came up with the fantastic title for this blog post.
Our gorgeous street!
Walking through Hyde Park!
Buckingham Palace and the surrounding gardens
Kaela was so nervous and shy around the horse! So cute
Me: "Kaela, why would you go inside the phone booth to use your cell phone?"
Kaela: "That's what makes it funny!"
The Princess in her natural habitat
Walking through the egregiously crowded Winter Wonderland
Pretty fountain of Queen Elizabeth II
Yes, time sure does fly
One Last scenic shot from our walk back through Hyde Park!
The streets of London!