Sunday, August 30, 2015

London Travel Diary - Day Two

The day started out with a visit to the London Tower, which I learned was actually a place to hold prisoners, far away from Westminster Abbey. Once we arrived there, with a beefeater as the guide (why they're called beefeaters, I don't even know). Our guide was full of energy and spoke loudly and very animatedly. He had some great jokes thrown in there and spoke about the history of the place, including some executions that took place there. The tour was pretty short, so after that we explored more the the tower. 




We decided to visit the Crown Jewels first, since I read online that the line to see them can be pretty long, so it's best to go there in the morning. The building had the crowns and banquet things for the royals, all being rather grand and over the top. Things were solid gold with intricate engravings or lined in expensive jewels. The English spare no cost to prove to the public that they are indeed, royal. We later moved onto the museum, holding all of the armor and some weaponry that the English used. There were some hands on things and armor literally everywhere. 



Following that, we went to the upper level for a view of the tower bridge. After snapping a few pictures in front, it was time for lunch. 



We headed to St. Paul's Cathedral to take a quick look at its architecture and grabbed something to eat. We ended up eating at a Japanese place called, "Yo! Sushi" that had a conveyor belt with the food on it. While you were seated at the table, you could just pick up a plate off the conveyor belt if it looked appetizing and eat up. 


Following lunch, we visited the Victoria and Albert museum, which was on the way back to the hotel. There was an exhibit titled, Shoes: Pleasure & Pain, which we checked out. Photographs were not permitted, explaining the lack of in this post. The exhibit showed different types of shoes from different time periods and cultures. There were some pretty crazy ones there!
After that, we went back to the hotel to relax a little and get ready to go to the West End to see the Phantom of the Opera. We grabbed a quick dinner before heading to the theater. The show was spectacular! The set was incredible, there was a chandelier that moved and the decorations of the stage moved as well. The songs were amazing, I'd say even better than the other songs from musicals that I've seen. Not to say that Wicked doesn't have some great songs, but the songs from the Phantom were different in their own way. The songs really made the show as magnificent as it was. It wasn't just the voices though, the orchestra sounded amazing too. I feel like they don't get as much credit as they deserve, but the actual music without the words still left such a powerful feeling. This may have also been because we had great seats, seated in the center of the stalls, not to close to the stage but not too far back either. When we got back from the show, my sister played a recording of the songs that she downloaded before watching the show and I specifically said to her, "The recording sounds too nice. There's not as much emotion." The live musicals are always the better ones. I think that seeing the Phantom was a perfect way to end off my trip to London. I feel like I had conquered a lot in that city in just two days. 

And with that, we've reached the end of my travel diaries. I'll be going back to my usual posting schedule (Wednesdays and Saturdays at 3pm EST), but this has been fun reflecting on my journey. There will, of course, be more travel diaries in the future, but that's all for this installment. I had an incredible time on this trip and hope that you enjoyed living vicariously through the diaries. 

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