We began our second day in London by grabbing breakfast twice.
Let me start off by saying that I am pretty open when it comes to trying new food and different flavors, but we definitely overestimated the tastes of chili jam with cheddar and Vegemite with cheddar. Starbucks had blown me away without how superior they are compared to those in the US for a majority of my trip, but these breakfast sandwiches were not doing it for us.
Breakfast numero deux, consisted of coffee and pastries from Paul. That was a winner because you honestly can never go wrong with Paul especially when it comes to staying caffeinated for a jam-packed day in a new city.
As mind-blowing as it to finally see Big Ben right in front of you for the first time in your life, it’s even more captivating when you’re seeing it at early morning before hoards of people swarm Parliament Square. Of course, this seclusion didn’t last too long.
I guess I should say, Elizabeth Tower is mind-blowing to see. Little fact, for those as clueless as I was until about a year ago: Big Ben actually refers to the Great Bell of the clock and not the clock or tower itself. I know, I know. When I first found out, it felt like every movie I had ever watched based in Great Britain had lied to me.
*Geography Tip: If you’re like me and have a hard time differentiating the United Kingdom, Great Britain, etc. just think of it in terms of The Palace of Westminster. The Palace of Westminster is the entire United Kingdom. Great Britain is Elizabeth Tower, a part of the United Kingdom. And then England would be Big Ben, which is in the Elizabeth tower which makes up the Palace of Westminster.
If this metaphor confused you even more than you already were rather than helping, I apologize.
Westminster Abbey was our next stop of the day.
I can describe Westminster Abbey in two words: brilliant and morbid.
I never cease to be amazed by European architecture, and Westminster Abbey doesn’t disappoint. Of course, we wouldn’t have been satisfied simply taking photos from outside, as would’ve missed out on the unique stained glass windows, monuments, and carvings that make up the various memorials of Westminster Abbey.
That’s probably where it gets slightly morbid.
When I was growing up I had a mild obsession with Alice in the Wonderland. And now I was literally walking on the burial location of Lewis Carroll. Actually, I was essentially walking on my entire life’s worth of English class, also known as Poet’s corner.
But while it was mildly morbid, it was no less brilliant.
We had planned to visit Buckingham Palace after Westminster Abbey but as had timed tickets which didn’t allow entry for another two hours, we spent some time roaming St. James Park.
Back home in New York, my absolute favorite place in the city, especially when it comes to clearing my mind, is Central Park. I love the open space, of which we have very little of; the adorable Alice in Wonderland statues, and the fact that it lies right in between my two favorite museums: The Museum of Natural History and The Museum of Metropolitan Art.
Naturally, I had no qualms with spending good portions of our days wandering St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin, and St. James Park in London.
For those who don’t know, Buckingham Palace is only open during the summer months which I would assume has part to do with the fact that the Queen vacations to the Scottish Balmoral Estate all summer. Luckily for us (not as lucky as spending the summer in Scotland, but still pretty great), we were visiting in mid-July. Though it wasn’t necessarily the actual palace I was excited about. Personally, I feel like once you’ve seen one overly gaudy palace, you’ve seen a majority of ’em.
However, we were lucky enough to have been visiting during Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from the Queen’s Wardrobe; I’m a sucker for any fashion related exhibit. Unfortunately, photography inside this exhibit was prohibited but you can get a sneak peak at some of the Queen’s fashion items here.
I had so many questions while roaming this exhibit.
Where does she put all these? Do they have their own room? I mean there are three different living rooms in this place. Maybe she has a storage unit? Do Queens have storage units? You think she ever has worn the same thing twice? Does she wake up to a designer handing her a custom designed outfit each morning?
To answer one of my own questions, which I later found out, the Queen has in fact worn a couple of her outfits more than once.
It seems we had visited every cliche London location we could think of, but our day was still not over.
Hopping the train to Covent Garden, we had made it just in time to peak into some of the shops before our dinner reservation at the Palm Court.
This meal was to everything.
Palm Court leads with the triumphant score of 4.5/5
In case you’re wondering, that is in fact chorizo jam on top of my pork chop.
I can think of no better way to end a full day in London other than chorizo jam.
But the London skyline against a beautiful sunset isn’t too bad either.
Read about the rest of our quick London visit:
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