Wednesday, September 7, 2011

London Part 3

Welcome to the much belated third installation of stories, photos, and recollections from the London trip I went on with my best friend Dawn. Get caught up by reading part 1 here and part 2 here.

Once Dawn and I fueled up with lunch on our first day, we walked the short distance to Tower Bridge, commonly mistaken for London Bridge. At this time it was about 2:45 pm and the attendant advised us to wait until 3 to enter because we could see the bridge rise and lower and then go in. So, being the tourists that we are, we waited, watched the bridge split (not very exciting, nor a good photo opportunity on the bridge) and then went into the exhibition. This attraction did not have a guided tour but rather posted signs and short videos throughout explaining the history and construction of the bridge. We weren't in the mood to make an effort and zipped through the exhibit without learning much. The best part about this stop was that we got to go up to the cross bridge at the top that had excellent-but-limited views of the River Thames and surrounding area.

After the Tower Bridge exhibit, we meandered down the river walkway, west-southwest towards our next destination, the London Bridge Experience. This is when you can call me crazy because this was not your typical tourist attraction. The London Bridge Experience is basically a haunted house in the London Bridge, which by the way did have several disastrous fires and led to its ruin multiple times. We chose to visit it because it was one of the attractions fully covered by our London Pass (a discount card for tourist activities). If we had done this without the pass it would have been something like 21 pounds per person. And, it wasn't that bad. It was scary but they had a really nice 30-minute intro skit that set you up for the rest of the house. We also were instructed to follow the person ahead of you by keeping your hands on their shoulders the entire time, which made it much easier for me to close my eyes and continue walking through the place—ha!

After the London Bridge Experience, we didn't have any other plans, so we walked a bit more to Millennium Bridge (also known as the weebly-wobbly bridge), which crossed the River Thames and delivered you right in front of St. Paul's Cathedral. From there we hopped on the tube and rode it to the London Eye to see if we had enough time to squeeze in one more tourist thing before heading to dinner. Unfortunately, the line was horrendous and we both were hungry so we continued our walk along the Thames further west spying a magnificent view of Big Ben and Parliament.

Prior to going on our trip, we both had been told that the Indian food is phenomenal in London (go figure!). Therefore, when we saw that our London Pass also included some restaurant discounts, we found an Indian place called Mela that not only had good reviews but was a close tube ride to our hotel. I wanted to have Panang Curry, because that is what Justin normally gets and the only brush with Indian food I've ever had, but everything was written in Indian and after hearing this was our first Indian food experience, our waiter said "don't worry, I'll send you some stuff and if you don't like it, you don't pay." This made us extremely nervous because the dinners started at 12 pounds per entre plus extra for rice and bread. Fortunately we used our 20% London Pass discount totaling the bill at 40 pounds. It was still more than we wanted to spend but the food was delicious and a great first Indian food experience to end a great first full-day in London.

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