Today we were fortunate to be able to join the students on a walking tour of London.
Highlights of the three hour tour included Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, the Horse Guards Parade, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Millennium Bridge.
But even better than seeing these iconic landmarks were the stories the tour guide told along the way. Lots of facts, lots of history, and lots of fascinating tidbits (e.g., David Livingstone’s heart is buried in Africa, but his body is buried at Westminster; George Washington never wanted to touch English soil again, so when a statue of him was sent to London, so was some Virginia dirt that the statue could be placed on; why Shakespeare’s Theater was on the other side of the Thames, away from London).
The tour ended with lunch at a pub, complete with fish and chips, and pints of beer.
After lunch my wife, son, and I decided to then check out two of London’s biggest bookstores, Foyle’s and Waterstone’s. Getting to those stores included walking through London’s West End, home of many of its theaters.
By the time we had finished the second bookstore, we were ready to hop on the tube and head back to our flat. As soon as I walked in our front door, I checked my phone – we had walked about 16,000 steps, or about 7 miles. (I then went for a short stroll after dinner, got lost, and added almost 6,000 more steps.)
It was a great day, and we realized how useful having a tour guide can be for learning a lot about a city in a relatively short time period. Left to our own devices, if we had tried to visit all of the sites we covered today it would have likely taken us several days.
We’ve only been here a week, and we’ve loved every day. And there’s still so much to explore.
London is calling!