Our next stop was cheery London.
Minneapolis, I love you, but I kinda wish we were still in London.
We immediately felt at home and comfortable in London. We walked at least five miles each day and it felt fantastic. We relied entirely on public transportation. We drank interesting and beer and ale every night. In short, it was AWESOME.
I know every place is better when you're on vacation... but boy, we sure could be okay with living in London. Or at least, having another few months of vacation there to see everything we weren't able to see on this trip - until we ran out of money or things to do, whichever comes first. (Probably the former.)
We kept our London schedule packed, and still weren't able to see everything we would have liked to see.
I did take one especially touristy photo just for you, blog readers! Here you go:
I actually waited for a double decker bus to go by, just to capture the moment. You're welcome.
Nick researched a bunch of London's oldest pubs, and we also received several recommendations from friends and locals. Every night we went on a little scavenger hunt to find the coolest and/or oldest pub spots. Some of them were just incredible, like Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese above, where there has been a pub since 1538. You know... way before I would have even been allowed in a pub.
Sometimes we found more than beer.
A situation I was perfectly okay with.
During the day, we tried to visit museums and places of historical significance. I was pretty sad when The Cartoon Museum was closed... but we managed to return the next day for a quick visit, so all was well.
We walked to Denmark street, chock full of great music stores.
This made me really happy...
London says HI!
There was a constant beauty in the patterns and structure of London I found quite captivating.
The Tower of London (very touristy, but well worth the hype) had many such patterns.
St. Paul's Cathedral - also worth the 'hype.' We climbed the many, many stairs (almost 600) all the way to the top of the Cathedral - and both wondered if the metal next to my hand was the remnant of a shell? One does not have to be religious to feel spiritually moved in a place like this.
Probably our favorite historical destination was the Cabinet War Rooms. (Thank you Stephen for the recommendation!) Perfectly restored and, in some parts, amazingly preserved. Not only was the documentation of Churchill's experience incredible, but the exhibition referenced what was going on in other parts of the world both before and during the war, which was striking as well. Thinking about my own grandparents and what they went through more concretely... it was a very grounding experience.
I went to London once before, when I was much younger. This is the type of history I didn't fully understand or appreciate at that age. In London it surrounds you. A part of your everyday existence, it continually forces you to view your world in a global context.
On a much lighter note, another highlight was seeing family I haven't seen in a very long time. This is why Facebook and other 'evil' Social Media tools are fantastic - keeping in touch is easy (and free.)
On one sunny day we took a boat ride on the river Thames. With the record-setting heat, it was a perfectly lovely way to spend the afternoon.
Ah... London in love. We know the feeling. :)