We got to London around 8 am Friday morning. Our first order of business was to eat. We were all incredibly starving. The bus station had a little cafe in it so we all bought coffee and ate the stores of baguettes and nutella we’d brought with us. I don’t think nutella has ever tasted so good in my life.

After we had eaten and felt human again, we set off in search of our hostel. It was only about a 15 minute walk from the station so that was really nice. We couldn’t actually check-in until after 10 but we were able to confirm our booking and put our luggage in a locked room so we didn’t have to drag it all around London.

The first thing we decided to do was buy tickets for a bus tour. They were a little expensive but they were worth it. For the price we got unlimited rides for 24 hours and an included river tour. We hopped on and listened to the tour. With that we saw Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, The National Gallery, London Bridge, the Tower of London and a ton of other things.

Westminster Abbey from the bus

Westminster Abbey from the bus

The building on Fleet Street that is believed to have been Sweeny Todd's barber shop.

The building on Fleet Street that is believed to have been Sweeny Todd's barber shop.

The accurate, working replication of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

The accurate, working replication of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Katie really wanted to see the Tower of London so we got off there and got our tickets to go inside. That was really cool. We waited for about 10 minutes and got in on a tour with on of the professional guides. That was a good decision. She made the history really come alive and stay really interesting. The only down side to the experience was the weather. It was freezing!!! We’d checked London weather before we came and had read that there would be a high in the 70s. They lied, either that or London always has a -20 wind chill. We huddled for warmth a couple times.

At the Tower we got some great history lessons on old torture methods used by the English. The rack is of course one of the most famous, but it wasn’t alone. There was another called the shepard’s daughter, and it was basically the opposite of the rack. It put the prisoner in iron shackles and basically folded them into a tiny little ball. No fun. Sometimes the creativity of the people who came up with those tortures amazes me. It was an interesting part of the day and one filled with a lot of cringing.

Part of the Tower Fortress

Part of the Tower Fortress

Traitor's Gate, where prisoners, including Elizabeth I at one point, were brought into the Tower to await trial and usually execution.

Traitor's Gate, where prisoners, including Elizabeth I at one point, were brought into the Tower to await trial and usually execution.

After the Tower we looked for somewhere to get an authentic London lunch: fish and chips. We found a place that was decently priced and had indoor seating: score!! Harrison, Andres and Jaclyn got the fish and chips while Katie, Meaghan and I got chicken. I tried the fish and it wasn’t too bad, I guess in London it would be pretty good. My sandwich was a spicy chicken sandwich and it was amazing! I’d really been missing my spicy food and boy did that live up to my expectations!

With lunch out of the way we decided to take our river tour. The pier was right there so we got on our boat and away we went. That was pretty rockin’ too, I always enjoy river/water tours on trips. The view is just so much clearer and unobstructed. This gave us a much better view of the bridges over the Thames, the London Eye, Big Ben and the houses of Parliament.

Not London Bridge, but Queen Victoria's Bridge

Not London Bridge, but Queen Victoria's Bridge

The point along the Thames where London changes to Westminster. I never realized that actual London is only about 1 square mile in size, everything else is actually Westminster. London is the smallest capital city in the world.

The point along the Thames where London changes to Westminster. I never realized that actual London is only about 1 square mile in size, everything else is actually Westminster. London is the smallest capital city in the world.

The London Eye. Last year over 1 milion people went up on the 30 minute ride to see the city from above.

The London Eye. Last year over 1 milion people went up on the 30 minute ride to see the city from above.

Big Ben

Big Ben

Thanks to the wind we were about frozen when we got off the boat but I’d do it again in a heart beat. From there we decided to hop back on a bus and head back to the hostel so we could officially check-in.

Despite what one hears about hostels, ours was really pretty nice. All 6 of us were in one room together with bunk beds. It was a little cozy but we didn’t have to deal with strangers and that was fabulous. I was impressed we didn’t even have any fights over the top bunks. We were very mature about everything.

We got settled in and then decided it was time for dinner. Our guide books said everything in London closed around 11, which is much earlier than Paris. In Paris things are just getting started around 11 so we set off in a hurry. The others really wanted to experience a real English pub so we looked and looked. Eventually we settled on The Marquis, which was right by the hostel.

For dinner I had shepard’s pie and was really happy with it. It was very delicious and filling and warm! The meal was great and so was the atmosphere of the place. The others got some beers and I got a coffee (not as good as in Paris but that’s no surprise) and just hung out for several hours again. It was a lot of fun and we were all a little bummed when they told us they were closing.

We just walked back to the hostel and went to our room. We intended on going to bed early so we could get up early and do things but that didn’t really happen. We all started talking and didn’t get to bed as early as we wanted. Oops. Andres and Jaclyn fell asleep in the middle of our conversation and Meaghan didn’t even make it to the conversation. That’s when Katie, Harrison and I decided it was bedtime too.

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