London was about an hour away on the train from where I was staying, but that didn't stop me from going into the city about half a dozen times on this trip.
From running around doing the on foot sightseeing to celebrating the Queens Birthday, to enjoying afternoon tea, to the many walks in the parks, to watching a play at Shakespeare's globe, getting treated to the musical Hamilton and to the many picnics in parks thorught the journey. London was defintley the place to be.
It went from spending time with my 2 friends to gaining 4 more new friends in the process. It was so fun getting to know these people as I did, as individuals and within the circle. We all did experience a lot of firsts together, like going to Stonehenge, to the Romans Baths, explorations of museums and to seeing a play at Shakespeare's Globe and the famous musical Hamilton seen specifically in London. We also stumbled upon so many great restaurants. (the best 3 are below).
I was happy to be surrounded by these 3 couples. Being the 3rd wheel x3 gave me more perspectives on life and love. I was surrounded by love, and the intention of loving someone. It gave me much joy at times.
There was a personal milestones like a birthday and an anniversary that were to be celebrated within this group. There were many days we adventured and lived off of coffee and curiosity. There were also days that we were still rubbing our eyes from lack of sleep, but we still were off to the next destination.
Trooping of the Colours / The Queens Birthday
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest She is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (to put it shortly!) Her real biological birthday is April 21st, but the official monarchs birthday actually is celebrated around May or June. This is mostly due to cooperative weather for outdoor ceremonies. This is a selected day in which some Commonwealth realms and countries celebrate its head of state and reigning constitutional monarch.
Queen Elizabeth turned 92, and still is doing her royal duties. Her people absolutely love her. The crowd was't screaming for her to look at them when she passed by in her carriage. Instead most of the crowd pulls out their phones, throw it up in the air, while others start to clap gracefully and awwwhhh'ed and gleed as she rode past in her horse carriage.
I couldn't help but think about how many of these celebrations The Queen has done in her lifetime. How did she first see the world without all these recording devices in anyone's hands. When the journalists were all placed in gated fenced off areas just for media coverage. I felt as I was seeing the crowd through her eyes as she waving at the crowd, she must see so many peoples phones go up in the air. It's like when you see a stadium of people do the wave. That is what I see people doing with their phones as she comes a little closer them.
Buckingham Palace is around 300 years old has 775 rooms. That's exceptionally larger than any house I have even been in. Ever.
It's also the first place people usually think of when they think of the Queen and London all together. The first thing I noticed when walking up was that the Queen's guards were not permitted anymore allowed to stand directly outside the gate. In 2015 The Queen had ordered for the guards to be placed inside the gates to many palaces, and not just Buckingham. The guards have been moved from their traditional posts and given extra protection themselves to prevent any targeted terror attacks. In face in WW2 a German bomb hit and destroyed one of the wings, and it had to be repaired.
And some people have proven to have made it into Buckingham Palace before, unauthorized. This guy, Michael Fagan got away with sneaking his drunkenly way into the palace, TWICE! The first time he found himself in the throne room, and then he got bored and left after 10 minutes, completely unaware by anyone. The second time was a month later when he found the Queen's bedroom while she was sleeping! Nobody was coming to help her and she had to course him into a room that filled with booze and cigars to hold him off for 7 minutes before help arrived.
Also in 1981, three German started setting up camp at what they thought was Hyde Park, a public park located near the Buckingham Palace. Even though they had to climb a stonewall with metal pricking fence posts at the top, they had thought they were hopping over a barrier to get into Hyde Park. They pitched a tent, got up early and ate breakfast and wondered what the building was in the background. They packed up and realized they were not where they thought they were, and they talked to a few gardeners who were there and asked. Once the gardners told them where they were the Germans apologized realizing their mistake. They were escorted off the property, but all in good humor and no trespassing charges were filed.
About a year ago on June 3rd, 2017 at 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, there was sad news that unfolded. Three attackers went to the London Bridge with their van and bulldozed many pedestrians down that were walking across the bridge. Once the vehicle got across to the Southside of the bridge it had crashed. Then the attackers exited on foot with knives in hand and fake explosives attached to their chests. They started their way to the popular tourist and local attraction, the Borough Market, which sits just around the corner from London Bridge. The assailants went through to store shops and alley ways and started slashing and stabbing people by random. There was mass panic. Store managers were closing and locking their doors but were trying to let who they could in. One attacker almost made it into a business, but the manager was able to shut and lock him out in the seonds. Police arrived on the scene minutes later and just shortly thereafter the police had started to use gunfire. They were able to kill all three of them. In this attack there were 8 people that died and 48 that were injured, including an officer.
The one year mark had been announced on the loudspeaker I was in the Victoria Train Station in the downtown London. This was an announcement that was made for everyone, which asked to give a minute of silence and remembrance of all those who lost their lives that day.
There are now sidewalk barriers that protect pedestrians, not just on the London Bridge, but in a few parts of the city that I had noticed.
(The UK is a gun free country)
The market closed up for 11 days following the terror attack. Prince Harry even visited Borough Market the day it did a re-opening. It was his first time strolling through.
Borough Market is a very well known food market. So you should go hungry if you want to eat as much as you possibly can. Make this the place of exception. There are choices upon choices of foods from pastries, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables, even to ostrich eggs. This market is filled with not just British foods, but loads of international cuisine.
There is so much musical heritage ingrained in and in the 60's and 70's. Apperently this place was a rager.
Today I would describe Carnaby to be the place where the Spice Girls would go hang in. It was flashy and had a colorful flare to it. I say it felt like a mix of being quaint, artsy, and boutiquey. It also seemed like it had more of the younger generation exploring the scene. With it being June and Pride month the neighborhood was pretty friendly and open about it with signs of being supportive of gay rights.
Broad Street Pump
Although London has many historical landmarks to see, there were many things that were also under construction. This time in Carnaby we were so close to witnessing the one and only, the John Snow pump handle. Or officially as it was called, the Broad Street Pump.
We were so excited to see it. I wanted to walk around the corner and I wanted to feel dangerous. (in all the nerdy history ways) Some of us talked about touching the handle to that famous pump that took the lives of 84 people back in the mid 1800's.
As we got the area we just couldn't find it for a few moments. We then realized all the construction that was going on was actually the place the pump HAD been. It had been removed. It was funny enough that this was the photo opportunity and funny story I got out of it.
Now who is John Snow and what did he discover? I honestly had no clue about any of the histories on John Snow until about 5 minutes before we got there. I even did more research on him because he seemed like such a fascinating guy! There could be a musical written about him. (Hamilton reference, but with British humor. You see what I did there? ;)
He was the one person who became a doctor and discovered that this pump handle in Carnaby, which this pump handle is responsible for killing 84 people due to the spread of cholera. If you played the Oregon trail, you know what I am talking about. Its job is to provide the body with a protein (and not the good kind) called choleragen. This upsets the dietary track and attacks in the gut, cause watery diarrhea and enormous abdominal pain. This will then lead to dehydration, which leads to hypovolemic shock, which is a fancy word for extreme loss of the body's fluids. After losing all those fluids, the blood begins to thicken, which at that point prevents it to flow into the organs.
So when cholera returned to London in 1854, John Snow did some investigating on why he thought that cholera was transferred between water, and not through the air. The lungs were not damaged or affected when it came to the victims. They had mostly stomach issues. At this time the rest of the town had already been convinced it was through the air. This point random neighborhoods were being attacked and there was no rhyme or reason to why this was happening. It even fought its way over the class divide, and there were so many wooden caskets stacked on top of each other that is was recognized as the worse catastrophe since the plague.
Most people who died got their drinking water from the Broad Street Pump because that is where they collected cholera as well. This was the epicenter of the disease. The people who lived closer, in walking distance of the well seemed to be the area that got hit the hardest, and it the deaths was thinning out from that location verses from the other pumps around the city. After putting all the evidence together he had a meeting with the local health commission on a Friday morning. After showing up and showing his proof they finally sided with John Snow and the pump handle was removed. Almost immediately the fatalities started to drop. By the end of the weekend it had fully passed.
Eventually, it was discovered that indeed cholera was proven to be transferred by water when it was linked together with some evidence. After the outbreak, the handle had been put back on the pump and nobody was getting sick. It was beginning to be a mystery to how it came about, and John Snow didn't want it to happen again, so he set off to try to study his way into a getting a Ph.D. and collecting more evidence so he could get the city to see it wasn't being spread through air, but by water.
John Snow partnered up with a local pastor named Henry Whitehead who was close to many people affected in the community. After mapping out where the outbreaks were he still had some people left to talk to that were affected by this. There was a woman who had lived close to the well that the Broad Street Pump was being used. She was a mom who had lost her newborn baby from cholera. She had mentioned that she had been throwing the baby's diapers down into the cesspit. A cesspit is when the sewage water from a residence home goes down into a into a porta-potty like hole below the ground. It then sits and slowly drains. This gave John Snow and local pastor named Henry Whitehead a lead to examine the cesspit to link it to cholera. They did a government investigation and found out that the cesspool was badly built, and the sewage was seeping out into the soil around it. Just 2 feet over was where the well was, where it transferred into the Broad Street Pump.
The Monument was built to commemorate the rebuilding of London in 1666 from what was The Great Fire.
We all walked in front it initially and took a look into the sky to see the top, admiring it like it was an art piece. We walked around and discovered that you can go inside and go in and up the spiral staricase! With 311 stairs and a 5 minute climb, you get to the top and have a 360 view (on a small balcony) It stands at 61 1/2 meters, or 202 ft tall. It took 6 years to build, mainly because Portland stone was hard to come by, and they were determined to build it with that.
The Great Fire of London
If you thought the Great Plague was bad, there the Great Fire of London struck out in 1666.
The fire was started in a bakery on Pudding St. The small fire in the shop led to the whole city being burnt down in 4 days time. Everyone was ordered to just get out how they could, some on foot, some on boats some on horses. Around 13,000 houses, 90 churches, many companies, the Royal Exchange and St Pauls Cathedral had been destroyed. They were able to see the other side of the city, border to border.
Not many died, in fact there were only 6 recorded deaths. However, it could be a higher number, but some bodies may have hit the heat of the fire that led them to be cremated during destruction.
When it was time to start rebuilding the people wanted to make change in their society. This led to laws being passed, and became a common practice to start building with stones instead of the old ways of wooden structures that would easily catch on fire.
The Great Plague
With no explanation on what it was or where it was coming from the Great Plague ended up killing 100,000 people, which was one in three of the city's residents. The symptoms would include fever, coughing up blood, numerous bloody blisters and bruises, and skin turning black. (gangrene). These victims were gone in a matter of days or leading up to a week.
At first, the people living in the pooer neighborhoods, just outside of London were the ones being affected the most. It was due to insufficient sanitation, overcrowding, and a large population of rodents. This was the disease that was thought to be spread by fleas that lived off of cats and dogs. It's estimated that around 40,000 street dogs, mutts, and poor families house dogs were killed off, along with twice as many cats. This, however, wasn't the problem. The rats were holding the diseased fleas and they were killing off the animals that needed to kill the rats.
The plague had been coming back around every 20 years or so, and it was taught to the community just as an earthquake drill or school shooting drill is taught.
The, this really scary thing that we don't know why it kills people most likley will come back again. Here is how you need to prepare yourself.
In June of that year it had came back stronger than before. As things began to get hot, it got worse.. This time the King had hired watchmen and people of the poor to approach houses and inspect the household and the families. If any family members had been infected in the home the watchmen were ordered to lock the them all up inside of their own home. Then they were to paint a big red cross on the door and to keep guard over for a few days.
The rich noticed more red crosses showing up in their areas. At that point most of the wealthy started to get leave town to get as far as possible. For the people who hadn't left, they were in trouble and left for dead. The King locked up his castle, and seldom people were able to live there, and they had to pass a rigorous inspection, and stay in quarantine. Others were not so lucky. Without the means to leave the city, or to be caught up with other people who might be sick, some families stayed behind in their homes. The King hired watchmen to enforce a quarantine around the city now, and 100,000 people died from this, suffering like their own family had.
Do you remember the phrase "Bring out your dead!". That is history of which it comes from. As you can imagine, cleaning out the city of all the dead was an actual job. They needed to dispose of the bodies, and they had many people wheeling around long wooden carts for body collection.
When Summer past and winter came the spread of the disease was nearly gone. They also think the remaing rats that carried the plague bacillus died in The Great Fire of London, which wiped it out completely.
Hyde Park is the essence to London, how Central Park is to New York.
I had a love for Hyde Park. From a beautiful picnic, to catching some food and drinks on the lakeside, conversation with a French couple, playing the ukulele and singing with a stranger on a bench, to those warm sunny days, to sitting down and letting my toes hit the water at the Princess Diana memorial fountain. There were so many great times at Hyde Park, so much so that I put it at the top of the list of things I recommend people do while in town.
On the plane ride over to London, there were two movies that stuck out to me. 1. The adventures of Christopher Robin, which was based on the iconic character Winnie the Pooh, which is based in The Ashdown Forest, which is better known as the Thousand Acre Woods. The second movie was Night At the Museum that had been filmed in both the Natural history museum and the British Museum, both are in London. Both museums had a completely different feeling of atmospheres to each other.
The Natural History Museum
I would describe this museum to be geared more towards the field tripping crowds, or even to small children and families. There had been a big open space where the art and deco made it feel like a mix between Harry Potter and a classic ballroom. In the middle was a huge whale skeleton hanging down like a chandelier.
If you want to be interactive and have a good time with the family, this is a good option. There is plenty of knobs to touch, and mummified animals to look at. However, as we the group of 7 who are in our 20's and 30's, we had not been super impressed with most of the rooms and categories. It didn't feel like I was in England, rather than any museum anywhere that had dead animals, birds, insects, dinosaurs, human evolution, volcanoes and a few more things. We all agreed that the best part was walking into that opened up big grand room and the architecture.
British History Museum
The premise upon building the British History Museum was to show more than just British History of England, but actually to explore the whole world inside these walls. This place felt like it was more for couples, first dates, or a place to walk around in by yourself, not so much of a huge family vibe. This place you were usually not allowed to be hands-on, or touch any of the artifacts. This museum has The Rosetta Stone and mummies in it, this is why I feel like it is not so well suited with kids. It is also more of a quieter kind of atmosphere, with people holding up their audio guides to hear about the ancient mysteries.
I almost don't want to spoil any part of anything in the musical Hamilton. I have not just heard how great it is, but I have heard it's next to impossible to get tickets and if you end up getting a selection of 2, you are nearly paying an average of a months rent in Seattle, a couple grand, but that is on Broadway, and nothing beats New York. The second best place for a Hamilton show was in London. Especially because it has some heavy British history intertwined in the musical. " The West End production of Hamilton opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London in December 2017, winning seven Olivier Awards in 2018"
Hamilton took 6 years to write, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who stars as Hamilton. Lin actually started writing the Hamilton songs for a concept rap album. The White House called him to see if he was interested in performing for a spoken poetry jam, at the White House for the Obamas and the rest of the party. He had written one song, (which is the opening song for Hamilton) which took a year and then performed it at the event. That is when he started to take off. He incorporated references to popular rap songs and musical show tunes.
In London the ticket to the show was not only a gift and a wonderful surprise to the trip, but the cost of seeing the show was a steal deal at 30 pounds for a ticket, and it was the best musical I had ever seen. I get so emotional every time I listen go back and listen to the show songs. It's soo so good!
Drake & Morgan
"Drake & Morgan was founded in South London in 2008. We wanted to create a unique space where locals and visitors alike could enjoy thoughtful, inspired menus and innovative, crafted cocktails in the most welcoming environment"
A very pleasant place we as a group just walked right into for lunch. No reservations, and no fus to sit. It made me feel very classy and elegant, yet not too fancy where it feels uncomfortable. (However, there was fur fabric hanging off some of the chairs) It seemed like it was aiming for a posh crowd and for people around 20's - 30's, which worked for us! We all ordered different cocktails and then we passed them around to take a sips of each one. I enjoyed every single one.
The service was great, with friendly staff and a manger who told us a bit about the joint. She told us that the CEO is a women who wanted to aim a place like this towards the women who want to feel classy and comfortable.
Finding my way to the bathrooms was an adventure on its own. I'm a fan of fun bathrooms, and the girl's bathroom here is quite gorgeous and worth the adventure trying to find it.
The Resting Room
"A timeless cocktail bar nestled off the hustle & bustle of Portobello Road, serving an eclectic range of spirits created on-site"
We went into this bar after a long day of walking around London. We had more than enough and needed a place to rest. We stumbled upon this bar, conveniently named The Resting Room. A real tasty drink they offered was a coffee and Irish Whiskey called THE ESPRESS O’MARTINI (Distillery Private Barrel Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey, coffee liqueur, cold brew coffee, maple syrup) and good looking gin cocktails.
Sketch is stunning. Far the best bar if your going by the decor and atmosphere, but be ready to spend more then the usual, because the most expensive menu I had seen in anywhere in England. I say you can't blame them when it has a London's most visited 2 Michelin-starred Restaurant in the Lecture Room on the 2nd story.
There are in fact many "rooms" in Sketch. The name came from a meaning as "it's a masterpiece that will never be finished".
All of them consisted of being fully decorated in their own theme by some of the great contemporary artists and designers. When I left I had a feeling that I now I know that have class, and all my friends are going to hold me in high regard, and now all of a sudden I felt like I had standards. Finally, right? :P
I could picture a movie scene being shot in every one of these rooms. There was no dancing or singing or anyone entertaining us, it was the pure magic of the art on these walls which kept our eyes amused. The first room we went into hard neon lights and the next room we went into had a fantasy forest mix, with the carpet different shades of green that mimicking moss and grass floors.
There was "The Gallery" which was a big pink and gold room. There was a mini orchestra playing in the back corner and the decoration fit what it would look like in the 70's, with big pink couch type of long bench seating, with curves in all the right spots.
I heard that Sketch had the best bathroom to see in London, and you know how I feel about awesome bar bathrooms...
Nobody at the table was allowed to even talk about it until everyone went in on their own time. Finally, after everyone had gone in we were giddy to talk about how strange that was, in such a cool way.
Everyone that had to find it has to walk across The Gallery in order to get to it.
When you open the double plain white doors you walk into a spaceship kind of world, with two sets of staircases to choose from that lead up to individual cocoon shaped pods. A very tiny circular bar was enclosed between the middle of these staircases. The ceiling had multi-shaded rainbow tint and the mirrors were made for selfies. The toilets themselves kind of lost it's magic when it was time to get in it. As soon as I closed that cocoon door I felt like I was on an airplane toilet. It was still the best bathroom I had
alyciarock.com + @lishette
There was a birthday to be celebrated and fine dining to be shared. It was a name that hit close to home, Portland. (Seattle to Portland :P ) We sucked down oysters, to sucking out bone marrow to sucking on snails. We did that fine dining experience thing. This was to celebrate a birthday for a chef who is obviously a foodie, and it seemed like a well deserved thing for one turning another age in a different country. big thumbs up for the care package they gifted him after the meal.
alyciarock.com + @lishette
alyciarock.com + @lishette - Happy Birthday Jermey!
There was a hostel I stayed at called The Exmouth Arms. The beer and coffee were great choices, however the room was very stuffy with no ventilation, and that was for an 8 person room. The window opened about 3 inches, something that you could barely crack.
In the morning before I checked out I had made some friends who were also heading out. This was a group of 5 guys who had been in town to see a show a band called Sticky Fingers. The guys were hungry and wanted to hang out a little bit longer before they all had to depart ways so they invited me to go along with them for food.
We picked up our bags and we all headed off to a resteraunt. We ended up at an American Dinner (go figure). Afterward the meal they were meeting up with some more friends at a nearby park, I kept on the ride to the next destination. When we got there we took up a shady spot under a tree, put on some music on the Bluetooth speaker and hard core chilled, we enjoyed the childhood favorite popsicle of England, the Calippo. An orange flavored ice stick, which was perfect in that moment.
I learned that from this friend group there was a deep root of love and respect that each one had for one another. One of them almost died only a year ago, and all of his friends in this group got informed that night that they might lose him and that he was in critical condition. But here he was, alive and well. He was not in a hospital bed or 6 feet under. Here he was, here I was, not sick, nothing to complain about, and living in the moment. Here we all were, enjoying the company that surrounded us, the jokes and puns that were being presented and laughter that came right after. In those moments when I get to hear about these life-changing moments that happened to an individual, I feel so utterly grateful for everything. Not just my own life, but by that conversation I was able to have with that person, for that time spent together when we had no idea on who each other was in this world just hours beforehand. How much life can change in just one second. How that every single thing in my life was leading up to these conversations to be had.
I was sad to leave this group of friends because it meant I didn't know when I was going to see them again, and sometimes even in a few hours of meeting someone, or even a group of someones, it's a little heartbreaking to say goodbye once again.
Out and About
Big Ben + Little Ben
I wasn't hugely disappointed when I saw Big Ben under construction, mostly because now I get a very rare photo of it in all its scaffolding. Oh yeah.. and Little Ben too...
This is considered the 4th St. Pauls Cathedral. Can you believe that? Europe is so big and old that they have had many buildings that have been destroyed, but they just keep on building them again and making them better every time. This time it took 40 years to build again, by a guy named Christopher Wren.
The first ever cathedral was built from wood and it was destroyed by a fire in 675 AD, which then was rebuilt ten years later. It happened to be destroyed again by Vikings in 962 AD and rebuilt in stone. This third building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666.
We happened to walk in around the same time some kind of service was going on, so it was free between those hours. No photography allowed inside, but it was the most giant gorgeous cathedral I had ever seen in my life. There is beautifully detailed work carved in around crevices and a big dome in the middle that is one of the largest in the world. If you were one of the 750 million people to watch Prince Charles and Princess Diana get married in 1981, you might know this is was the place.
All 7 of us were walking around about to leave the park that is neighboring the Kensington Palace. Then out of nowhere a helicopter started hovering over us, looking like it was going to land somewhere close to us. We all ceremoniously jumped through some bushes to get back on the path to see if we could see it land.
There it was, a long stretch of grass that was private to Kensington Palace. We and many other people posted up by the fence hoping to get a glace to who was going to get out. It was exciting because we were waiting to see who was going to pop out of it, and maybe give us a royal wave. After waiting a minute or two we saw a black car that came driving down and disappointingly parked on the opposite side of the helicopter, which was out of view from anyone who wanted to steal a peek. We were never sure who it was, nor did we get a wave. It could have been Kate and William or even Harry and Meghan (whom both reside at Kensington), but it's still a Royal mystery to me.
Myserty rider inside. Can anyone figure it out?
Don't get mixed up by the name tower, it was really a castle. When we walked up to the outside of the stone walls we thought it was pretty impressive. The prices to get were pretty spendy. The costs was 30 pounds (around $40) to go on a tour. We did, however, stand outside of it and looked up the history. Some practices they did were very gruesome and raw at times.
Wild animals were kept at the castle because they were being gifted to the Royals. Lions were among one attraction to go see, kind of like a zoo. The price you’d pay was half a pence or your choice of donating a cat or a dog to feed the lion. It needed to eat, and they didn't have any plans for it, the lions eventually died. Not only that, but they sometimes they had to be faced with fighting each other for entertainment purposes during the reign of James I (1567-1625), for his own enjoyment and for the crowds.
An elephant which died in 1258, possibly because it was given red wine, but also perhaps because of the cold climate of England. And a polar bear who went fishing in the Thames while being tied up to the land by a long chain.
In the mid-1830s, after 600 years of animals living in the Tower, the royal menagerie was closed. Most of the animals were given to the Zoological Society of London which had established a zoo at Regent’s Park. (the curious rambler)
Clotted Cream Tea - Charles Dickens Dining Room - The Bleak House
The best bet to get into an afternoon tea is by making a reservation. If you are the fly by the pants kinda gal like me, I didn't do that. There are plenty of hotels and most of them do afternoon tea, and walking into one asking if there has been any cancellations will get you into one. It only took me twice!
Now what that you're inside and at a table, what do you order?
There are a few ways you can order tea, because there can be many options to choose from. The first option I can give is the less expensive type of experience, but you still get the joy of having an official afternoon tea. This one I suggest is a cream tea. When I say cream tea, don't confuse it with tea that has cream with it. Cream tea means you will get a tea of your choosing, AND a scone or baked good of some sort, with a side of strawberry jam and clotted cream.
Now, what is clotted cream? Well, I had the same question before I tried it. I would describe it as having a texture close butter, without the waxiness, but the taste is like a sweet rich creamy flavor. It was rich enough that I didn't go for it again in one sitting. The tea automatically comes with sugar cubes and milk.
"Though often compared to butter, in the United States it would not be classified as butter, as butter is required to have at least 80% butterfat. For comparison, the fat content of single cream is only 18 percent."
Then there is another tea option called "high tea" which is more expensive and on a fancier scale. I have seen prices average around 20-150 pounds, which is $26-$200. Sketch is a place you would have a real fancy high team experience, which includes one of those high stacked trays, filled with little snacky sandwiches savory and sweet, and caviar, desserts like cakes, scones, clotted cream and jam. This also comes with the tea you choose, and on a higher side of things, champagne could be on the list as well.
Tip - Do what you want, but if you want to be considered 'proper' you would spread the clotted cream on the biscuit first, followed by the jam.
Shakespeare used to perform at a place called The Globe. You can catch an outdoor show, like Hamlet or The Two Noble Kinsmen (we saw this one) . Standing room is available and it is right up and directly in the front of the stage and the cost is only 5 pounds, which is a rockin' deal.
IRR Photography - https://www.irrphotography.com/work
The roads are much closer together, so be mindful when crossing streets or turning corners. Also, look out in the opposite direction of traffic. I was used to doing it the way I have always done it. It's best to learn to approach things differently, Fro them little things that could turn into major things. They are all building blocks to being in a different culture. This even means when getting to an intersection.
Fleet Street is real, but Sweeney Todd may or may not have been a real person. There are many urban legends, and also stories of other incidents that were very similar to his.
Instead of raccoons in the street and neighborhoods, it was foxes! I saw 3 of them going for garbage cans one night outside my hostel, and another one with an animal it had just hunted hanging from its jaw.
There are a plenty of Hostels in London, check online to do some research on prices and reviews.
There was a big majestic medieval times building outside of the St Pancras station, called St Pancras Hotel, and my view from my hostel of it was just too good! With the London tour buses going by, and the iconic look of the stones that stay standing in beautiful architectural form, and the sunlight going over the top of it throughout the day. The actual outside has been used for some shots in Harry Potter.
I could imagine a classic romantic love scene taking place on these tracks inside the train station. There was a gigantic timeless clock that was hanging on the far end of the tracks. Hanging down below was a pink neon sign that had a handwritten quote in cursive, which said "I want my time with you". When I saw that I definitely cried. I then realized it was like I was living in my own movie in those moments. Below that was a big bronze statue which is described to be "two lovers" gently embracing one another. I was secretly bawling at this point.
I saw a few pianos in the station, and many people playing them. There was no piano that wasn't being played. I found out that one of them was actually given by Sir Elton Johns. He donated it to the station for people to play, and he did so after his surprise performance there in 2016.
"Sir Elton John surprised and delighted St Pancras visitors with a mesmerizing medley piano performance in February 2016. Following this performance, the legendary Rocket Man himself also left this beautiful Yamaha piano behind as a gift, which he kindly signed before donating. His message reads: “Enjoy this piano. It’s a gift. Love, Elton John.” The piano is available for everyone to enjoy – in the station concourse."
I was now heading off to my next adventure, which was going to be an hour East from London on the train to an area called Kent. Off to another beach town and coast and castle getaway!
Stay tuned for Part 3. South East England - Kent