Cheers London!

In April and May, the husband ditched me for Wales. He was on a work trip for a couple of weeks, which was much too long for us to be apart, so I decided to visit him.

Via my miles collecting ways, I had around 50k American Airlines miles, and the dates I was looking at going to visit him fell right before the off-season cut off. You see, during the off season you can fly to Europe roundtrip for 40k AA miles. That’s a ridiculous deal. I found an easy flight from Seattle to NYC, then from there to London Heathrow. My Heathrow flight was a red eye, naturally, but it was on an empty plane – one of AA’s newer remodeled ones. So I got a whole row (my choice of whole rows really) to myself to stretch out and nap. 40k miles! So cheap.

After I landed (at 6am no less), I took a 1.5 hour tube ride (the tube is so darn easy to navigate, about 10x better than the NYC subway) from the airport to my hotel waaaaaaaay across the city. But the hotel was free via my points-gathering ways. Mwahahahaha. And a free hotel in London is worth a lot, let me tell you. That is one spendy city.

Of course my room wasn’t ready when I got to the hotel at 9am, so I dropped my bags at the front desk and then spun myself around to head off to Westminster in my red-eyed daze. I hadn’t really done much planning for this trip. I mean, I bought my flight less than two weeks prior. So Westminster was about the only place on the map I could think of to go to in my bleary state.

Coming out of the tube at Westminster you’re greeted by Big Ben. It’s just right there. 

Oh hi Big Ben!

Oh hi Big Ben!

After recovering from the overwhelming British-ness of it all (including taxis, red telephone boxes and double decker buses), I meandered across the street to Westminster Abbey.

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It’s so grand. 

Now, I don’t remember much else of this day. I know I saw those two things since I have pictures, but that’s about all I know. Oh, and I passed out when I got back to the hotel. I was absolutely exhausted.

BUT WAIT. THAT’S NOT ALL.

I just remembered (rather, found the photos) that I didn’t go back to the hotel yet. Oh no. I went to the Tower of London. Of course I did. I think it was only noon at this point and I couldn’t check in until 2.

So I paid the rather expensive entry/tour ticket ($30) and wandered right into a tour group hosted by a Yeoman Warder (A.K.A. “Beefeaters”, no one knows why…). I thoroughly enjoyed the tour as the Beefeaters are quite amusing. I’m not much of a tour girl, but this one is worth doing. I learned so very much about the Tower. It’s been kept in very good condition and apparently the Beefeaters and their families live inside the fortress. How. Cool. After the tour I wandered about and saw the crown jewels, of course. So shiny.

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The next day I went to the Edelman London office for work, which was fairly close to Westminster. I believe I got off at the stop after it. The London office is quite large, and they have a bar in the office which is pretty cool. I spent the day frantically working on a project that I really wanted to finish and then afterwards I met up with Caleb back at the hotel. He trained (it’s a verb now) from Wales that evening for the weekend.

That weekend we went back to Westminster and a few other neighborhoods so Caleb could do the touristy things too.

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We also visited this most wonderful wine bar that Saturday afternoon, the oldest wine bar in London. It was called Gordon’s Wine Bar and it was basically in a cave in the middle of the city. You can see pictures here. It was dark, very dark and rather dank. Also crowded. Apparently it’s always crowded and it’s near impossible to get a seat inside during peak times but somehow our fancy selves snagged a table and some wine. It was magical.

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Sunday afternoon we left Paddington Station to go to Wales, but that’s a story for another day.

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