August 16, 2011

Hanging in the UK

We have had the best time since we arrived in the United Kindgom on Sunday morning.  We took the train into London from Heathrow and immediately hit the town.  One of our "jet lag" fighting techniques is to see the sun set before we allow ourselves to sleep the first night.  There is something about your mind seeing the sunset that allows you to function like a semi normal person the next day -- or at least that's what we think!

We checked into the Hilton Park Lane Sunday and immediately headed out to see some sights.  I can't believe how warm it was last weekend.  I was certainly too warm walking around in jeans and a tank.  I know that everyone says to stay away from the Oxford Circus for shopping, but we wanted to check it out.  The area is incredibly congested.  I tried to peruse a Top Shop and it was basically a nightmare!

Anyway, we kept going until we ran into the British Museum.  We did a little bit of walking through the museum, which is free to the public.  It's so interesting to me that all of the precious artifacts are just on display with nothing but a sign to discourage people from running their grubby paws across an ancient marble statue or an Egyptian casket.  The Rosetta Stone was incredible!  The bathrooms, not so much.  We took the "underground" back to our hotel to change clothes and have tea.
British Museum

The British Museum is known for its Egyptian collection.
Tea at our hotel.
After tea, we headed over to Kensington/Knightsbridge area to check out Harrods.  Love Love LOVE Harrods!  It was so incredible inside.  I mean, I live in a large city that has tons of shopping, but this department store was all that had expected!  I loved walking in the door to the purse department.  Then, we headed straight for the food hall.  We walked around, then decided to grab some chocolate ganache macaroons.  We then took the "Egyptian Escalators" all the way to the top, stopping in random departments along the way.  Love Harrods!!
Eric playing model riding the escalators down for a photo op!
We hit a Top Shop across the street from Harrods and then found our way to Amaya for dinner.  Amaya is one of just a few restaurants featuring Indian Cuisine to receive a prestigious Michelin Star.  More on that in the next post!  On the walk back, we hit my first genuine British Pubs for some "bitters".  It was a great first day!!
The Nags Head

The Grenadier pub
Before we headed out to Reading on Monday, we made sure to see some sights -- duh!  We took the underground to St. Paul's Cathedral and did the audio tour there.  Then, on the way back to the hotel, we stopped by Parliment and Big Ben.  It was really cool and I snapped some good pics.  Lastly, we swung past Westminster Abbey and by Buckingham Palace (our reservation isn't until the 26th, so we didn't go inside) for a quick look. We finished our trek by cutting through St. James Park and Green Park.  Whew!  We don't believe in easy vacations, even if they are work vacations!!
St. Paul's Cathedral

"Look kids, there's Big Ben, there's Parliment...."
- European Vacation

The parks are so beautiful!

View of the edge of St. James Park.  This park will be used for rowing events in the 2012 Olympic Games.

What should we see when we head back into London in two weeks??

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