05.04.2015 - 07.04.2015 54 °F
While in the UK, Andrea and I have decided to take on the persona of outrageous UK characters we've seen on American TV as children. I've even started to talk like an old, pompous Brit as we introduce this 3-part series based on us, Lord and Lady Cavendish. (Keeping it cheeky you know)
When did we arrive in the UK? Well on Easter no less my good fellow. While we searched for eggs apparently some blokes were stealing jewelry
not far from us. The Dickens you say?
Clearly traveling through England has been the most costly part of our travels thus far. EVERYTHING has a price tag here and I can't say the convenience or service is any greater because of it. I'll get to the cost part and money-saving tips later. Let's talk more about the U.K. shall we?
First, we arrive under unusually warm weather conditions with the highs in the upper 50's. It's also clear and sunny which destroyed the normal dreary aspects of London weather. But there is a looming dark side to this weather as we would later find out.
We took the bus from Luton Airport to a stop near Regent Park in London. Regent is a big, beautiful green space and it was fun walking with our backpacks on Easter Sunday. We walked and watched as the locals and tourists alike take advantage of the nice weather.
Regent Park is close to Abbey Road Studios and, of course, Abbey Road. Inside Regent park, we stop for our first U.K. meal consisting of hotdogs and cider. We head out again and slowly weave our way through the city and eventually make it to our St. Giles Hotel just a stones throw from the British Museum. One of the reasons I wanted us to stay there was to take advantage of the YMCA downstairs. This was the first YMCA ever and is
certainly one of the best all-around gyms we've been to. The St. Giles hotel is also centrally located to many fun destinations.
Because of the nice weather, we were able to resume our intense walking-tour approach in discovering a new place. Our first full day consisted of walking through the heart of Soho then down to Trafalgar Square and eventually through St. James Park and Buckingham Palace. London is an exceptionally beautiful place with green spaces and exquisite architecture everywhere you walk. It was also exceptionally crowded and we weren't quite sure if this was due to the Easter holiday or it's always crowded.
Our next full day consisted of visiting the free British Museum, a walk along the Thames and then a proper fish and chips luncheon. The food portions here are pretty good so we decided to buy just one meal and divide it between us. That worked out very well as even a simple, single meal is an easy $14 USD. There are plenty of grocery stores too so we were able to grab water and fruit to take with us.
We then walked over Westminster Bridge an walked towards Westminster Abbey. This part of London is loaded with history and statues and we take the time to read about the important figures in history. Again, it is exceptionally crowded and we begin to think that this just may be the norm. A walk back through some parks and then into the National Gallery which was our favorite. A nice mixture of paintings and sculptures set in
large, luminous rooms and comfy seats so you can ponder the art or make a Tweet (btw, we don't Tweet).
In the evening we stroll through Piccadilly Circus and then Soho to see the action and the characters the night brings. The city is very walkable but it takes a bit of time to know where to look when walking across the street. Fortunately, we were only honked at once.
The next day was dedicated to the glory of Hyde Park. Hyde Park makes Regent Park look like Soho Square. In other words, Hyde Park is huge! The weather was beautiful and you really need a day to explore all of what the park has to offer. From my perspective, it is the green spaces that really make this an interesting city to live in. The cost of living is monumental and it is easy to see why everything is for sale and costs much. The free museums are supported by the taxes and Londoners make it paramount that that is available to people particularly the young. If I were
a young child, I would come to the museums everyday and just marvel at the work and let my imagination drift.
If you plan on hiking around Hyde Park, be sure to wear good shoes and bring your own food. Even an empty cup costs $2 USD! We brought our own bottle of wine and sandwiches and would stop here and there to listen to the birds and to the people walking along the paths.
During this time, blokes were stealing jewelry and 'Blood Rain' or nasty pollution was approaching the area. Time for Lord and Lady Cavendish to hop on the Underground to catch a train to Bath, England.