Written June 2017
July 25-28: London, England
Sites: I have so many sites marked in my guidebook — a sign that we visited them — and yet really I most clearly remember sitting on a park bench beneath the London Eye just taking it all in. We visited Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden Piazza. We walked outside the Houses of Parliament and saw Big Ben. We attended a free evensong at Westminster Abbey after the throngs of tourists were turned away for the evening. I got my picture taken with a guard who wouldn’t acknowledge my presence. We toured the Tower of London and saw the famous Crown Jewels. Right outside it we took pictures of Tower Bridge. We also spent time in Hyde Park, and got kicked off of lawn chairs that we didn’t realize you had to pay for.
The city didn’t wow me like others, but it drew me in. I told Lance then (and still tell him now) it’s a city I’d like to live in. We only scratched the surface, and I imagine we could spend years getting to know the area, it’s museums, architecture, historic buildings, famous galleries, etc. We attended church in London and were included in a tourist-only Gospel Doctrine class. The branch/ward receives so many visitors a week that we had our own class — and it was huge!
Other notable mentions were us going to Camden Market, where lots of “hippy-dippy” stuff was for sale, and us going on a Harry Potter walking tour. Lance begrudingly went, but his positivity took over quickly. While the rest of us were more comfortable in our Harry Potter fandom, Lance would make jokes about Gandolf and other Lord of the Ring characters. It was SO fun to walk the city and see where parts of the movies were filmed and just explore with a few other like-minded travelers. We don’t usually take tours, so this was a pleasant experience for us.
Lodging: In London we stayed at Simply Rooms and Suites. The address was 21 Avonmore Road, Kensington and Chelsea. It was 324 Pound (about $430) for four nights. I remember that it was a small townhouse-esque hotel in what seemed to be a quiet neighborhood. I remember thinking zoning laws wouldn’t allow for something quite like it in America, but it was quite quaint. London is such a huge city — I was overwhelmed when it came to booking a place to stay there. It’s easy enough to find something close to the attractions; it’s hard to know if it’s a safe area. And it’s hard to find a balance of the two, for an affordable price! I remember a little grocery store within walking distance where we bought (expensive!) shampoo and other sundry items, as well as a baguette and some meats and cheeses to eat and enjoy while sitting on a wall outside.