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Trip Report Trip report- London

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Many thanks to everyone who chimed in as i was getting ready to leave after very little planning. I was sooooo sick the week before I left but decided to go for it and am glad I did.

The trip was almost flawless and truly memorable but started off baaaaaad. My nonstop LAX-LHR was canceled and I was re-routed via SFO. But we sat on the plane at LAX for 3 excrutiating hours waiting for a crew and of course I missed the connection to London. Finaly got there via IAD and it was a grueling 24 hours of airports and flight time that I had been hoping to avoid by booking a nonstop.

But after that snafu, everything was perfect. The weather ap on my iPhone kept warning of rain rain rain and I had about 20 minutes of light showers the whole time! The hotel--Base2Stay Kensington was perfect for me (though I think it was in Earl's Court.) The room was tiny but immaculate, bathroom roomy and newly renovated. Free wifi. Friendly staff. Loved the 'hood with beautiful buildings, many grocery stores, laundromat, PO, and just a block from the Tube that had three lines. Plus lots of buses nearby.

Here are some highlights:

Holy Saturday services at Westminster Cathedral with full choir. Lovely.

I pretty much stumbled into a side door at Westminster Abbey on Easter Sunday for the 3PM choir and organ service. Majestic. Spent a few hours there earlier in the week, just awesome.

Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London--Got the ticket via mail a few months ago. Starts at 9:30PM. Very cold, damp, dark, kinda spooky inside the Tower walls. The ceremony was full of British pomp with Beefeaters and palace guards marching about with a lantern and rifles while shouting orders to Lock It Up!

Oxford: Enjoyed the train ride. Stepped into St Michaels and sat alone in the church while the choir practiced for Easter, just glorious. Visited Trinity, Christchurch, and the Oxford covered market.

Churchill War Rooms- Fascinating

British Museum- met some friends there, it was jam packed. We pushed way to Rosetta Stone and then I bailed out. Waaaay too crowded.

National Gallery- wonderful that the impressionists are so close to the main entrance

Courtlandt gallery- a gem! Loved this place!

V and A Museum - open til 10PM on Friday night, not crowded, jazz in the lobby under that gorgeous chandelier

Portobello Road on market day- what a circus!

Harrods and Harvey Nichols, of course!

Nighttime walk along the Thames--It was dreamlike walking up out of the Tube and seeing Big Ben glowing golden in the night. (Also saw Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster from the plane as we approached at midnight---like being Peter Pan!)

Loved all the craziness of Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar, Leister Square, Covent Garden (and the giant Easter egg exhibition.) Did not get pickpocketed -yay!

Camden Market on Sunday--Good lord, this was a mob scene. So crazy the Tube station is closed on Sundays to market-goers who are leaving to avoid a crush on the platform.

Beatles Walk with London walks--Loved it! Grand finale was Abbey Road crosswalk, of course. Lots of people performing hijinks in the street, drivers getting cross LOL.

Boat ride to Greenwich. Loved the Painted Hall and Chapel. Hoofed it up to the Observatory thru the lovely park.

I discovered the buses on the second day. Sometimes I would just jump on a random bus, go upstairs to the front seats, and rest...not knowing where I was going. I loved the buses.
And the Underground was so efficient, so many attendants to help, I was very impressed. Bought the Oyster Card with 7 day Travel Card loaded on it. Used it about 40 times!
Wish I had not spent the 26 pounds on the Hop on Hop Off tour...I fell asleep (jet lagged.) I felt I saw just as much stuff on the city buses.

I love big cities, have been to all major cities in Europe and US and I think London is my new favorite.


Didn't do any fine dining (ate in sandwich shops) or shopping.

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