When we visited London it was July and we were blessed with long endless summer days with blue skies. Only one day it rained, but rain gives even more charm to the city.
My first memory of London is waking from our hotel on Piccadilly Street through Green Park to Buckingham Palace - one of England's most iconic landmarks. The palace covers over 77,000 square meters and is the official residence to Queen Elizabeth the second. A royal standard is flown above the Buckingham Palace when the queen is at the residence and is raised and the British flag is lowered when she departs. On the day we been there it was a raised.
Our next stop was to get up close to the Big Ben, it was a real welcome to London. It looked even "bigger "up close. The clock was completed in 1858 and is the stands 16 stories high. Unfortunately you must be a resident to go inside the tower. We took photos and went to the most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK, visited by over 3 million people a year, The London Eye. It is the largest Ferris Wheel in Europe at 135-metres high. Situated on the banks of the River Thames from here you can spot all of London's main attractions and get a unique bird’s eye view of the city. Each capsule holds up to 25 people and is air conditioned. Your ride includes a full 360 degree rotation of the wheel which takes 30 minutes. I had a chance to ride it during daylight and at sunset, if I would have a chance to do it again and only once I would prefer the sunset (we were in the last capsule and it is stopped moving right after we left).
The next morning we went to The Tower of London - London's top visited attraction. Luckily the historic castle was spared from the great fire of 1666 and dates back to the 11th Century. It is famous for it's Medieval history as well as housing the Crown Jewels. The audio guide is great there and the history of the black crows without wings - is fascinating. The tour guide told me about one of the kings who cut the wings off of the crows because the fortune teller said that when all the crows will fly away England will lose power. We even saw a crow that had trouble flying. And for the moment it felt as if I went to the past. Right by there is the Tower Bridge, the first picture of which I posted in my review.
Westminster Abbey is a beautiful gothic Church that has is the traditional Wedding venue for many Royal Weddings including Queen Elizabeth II and the wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton. Many famous people are buried there and I was really surprised to learn that two enemies, two sisters Bloody Mary and Elizabeth 1 are lying in the same coffin.
We also walked up to St Paul's Cathedral, one of London's most recognizable sight. The original St Paul's Cathedral was burned down during the Great Fire of London in 1666. The new Cathedral
was completed in 1708 and features a large dome- shaped roof. I did not get a chance to go all the way up (Katia did) but it is on my list for the next time I visit London.
I was in London for only 4 days, but I can continue on and on with what really impressed me. The British Museum holds an unbelievable collection of artifacts from Egypt and the famous Rosetta Stone because of which it became possible to read all Egyptian hieroglyphs, National Gallery which has one of my favorite painting “Arnolfini Portrait” by Jan Van Eck, Trafalgar square, Piccadilly circle, Kensington Palace and many more.