kissams in london- day 3- 1

i had been feeling a bit disappointed with day 2.  winchester i mean westminster took so much longer than i thought, and while the sherlock gift shop was fun, it wasn't the museum.  but day 3 will make up for it a bit.  big day.  shakespeare's globe, tower of london, tower bridge, then meeting up with friends for dinner and new year's fireworks!  on our stroll to the globe we all stopped to look at the thames beach.

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here we are- first stop of the day.  shakespeare's globe.

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shakespeare in korean!

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there's something to be said about a good docent/ guide.  they can really bring a tour to life.  we didn't have a bad docent the entire trip and here is another good one at the globe.  easy to develop a crush on someone with such authority of knowledge, passion, and charisma.  heard a couple of girls gigglishly declaring their love and thought, 'yeah, i can see that.'  then i heard a woman next to me explain that when they would go off to college (in the near future i'm guessing) they would meet people from the drama department.  these people would be like this guy- kinda bizarre, energetic, but completely wonderful.  (having been a part of those drama departments, i didn't find this guy that out there. . . but i secretly smiled at her words of wisdom.)

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i remember hearing about this being built while in college.  some of my friends got to see it before opening.  i was pretty jealous of them.  would've loved to see a show or two here.  maybe next time?

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while walking away from the globe and looking for some transportation we stumbled upon this.  probably wouldn't have found it if we had looked for it!  the original spot of the globe.

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off to tower of london.  dan and i separated from mom and dad but we both got a little bit of the tower of london in.
dan and i got audio guides but thought we'd also try to follow a yeoman tour (which was shortened due to weather- blerg.)  however, to meet up with the yeoman we had to pass through a gate which set off our audio guides as if they were being stolen.  i was wondering what that annoying bleeping sound was!  got them reset and had the yeoman chat in the st. peter and vincula chapel (of course you can't take pictures!) where anne boleyn and catherine howard were buried after being beheaded.  but here's a trebuchet outside the tower gate.

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next stop- white tower.

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thought this was fake at first, then i smelled the grill and got hungry.

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ravens are kept at the tower as part of a superstition.  we learned from the yeoman in the chapel that the tower must always have six on site, which is why they keep thirteen.  one of them is over forty years old. 

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there was a large display of armor in the white tower.  this was one of henry viii's. 

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armor array.

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a 'toilet' off the main dining area.  everything just poured out a hole in the side of the building.  a good reason to not walk directly near buildings in the day.  dan and i only got through the first and second floors of the white tower before a fire alarm went off and had to leave.  interesting to see all the tourists, yeomen, and costumed revelers react though. 

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living quarters.

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yeoman performing duties.  they get to live there!

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crown jewels would've been cool to see, but it wasn't a priority for me.  thank goodness, otherwise i would've missed about three hours of the rest of london tower while waiting.

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just as we are set for the selfie, countdown is counting down- someone asks to help us. dan is distracted and i'm trying to say no thanks while upholding my smile.

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thought he was going for a grotesque, but not sure what we ended up with here.

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dusk at london tower.

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cool because it's iconic, or iconic because it's so cool looking?

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next stop, the top of the tower bridge.  sites include pretty views of the city as well as cute illustrations of different historical aspects of london.

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super cool mechanical rooms that run the draw bridge for tower bridge.

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it just happened that three fantastic friends that i moved with to san francisco were all living in london.  i was so happy to get the chance to spend the evening with them.  val and joe hosted an amazing meal, then we all took a stroll to the thames before the festivities began.  

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after a conversation about haven't not seen the draw bridge go up, and how many times a year it does. . . the draw bridge lifted.

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so terrific that we got a chance to all hang out for new year's.  hadn't seen james, neill, or val in about 13 years.  and lovely meeting val's husband. (though it may seem that val and i are standing on a lower stair, in fact, we aren't.  apparently, we are just that much shorter than most of our friends.)

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hard to beat the view from my friend's flat, and a great evening with friends.


kissams in london- day 2- 1

day 2- Westminster Abbey.  i had no idea how immense this place was going to be.  i nearly overloaded on chapels/ churches/ cathedrals/ abbey and whatnot on this one day.  it surprised me how they've almost become a hoarder's paradise for tombs. (we did find and possibly walk over darwin, faraday, kelvin, and newton- and then other greats like ben jonson, handel, kipling, and olivier. not to mention all the royals.)  we waited in the rain on a long line- thankfully it moved swiftly.  while waiting someone started whistling 'winchester cathedral.'  so for the rest of the week when i wanted to speak of westminster, i said, 'winchester.'  grrr.  

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"hey look kids, it's big ben."  (it just doesn't get old.)

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our view across the street as we waited in line.

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a true, and dribbling, gargoyle.

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hallway. not much you can photograph inside. :p

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nice view coming from westminster and getting to trains.

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we were on a bus looking for the Beatles store.  i knew the Sherlock Holmes Museum was close, but i figured that it was too late to get in.  it was 5 and they closed at 5:30.  the line was immense, so dan and i headed into the gift shop.  lots of fun trinkets!  i asked about the museum and how it seemed that the line outside for it was a lot longer than the 5:30 stop time.  the staff told me they would continue to sell tickets to the museum until 5:30, then they would close after the last people went through.  class act- but the line was longer than i was willing to wait at the time. awesome shop though!

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yeah yeah, the place didn't exist in reality. . . but isn't it kinda cool that they made a place based on the popularity of the book?

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like many places we went (being touristy spots and all) the place was filled with foreigners.  in the store i asked if it was always like this.  the clerk said he'd never seen anything like it, but we figured it was due to the release of the upcoming 3rd season.

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from the bus i thought the line was for the Beatles store- nope, that's all for the Sherlock Holmes Museum. 


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what else for breakfast but crumpets and tea!  there were two great grocery stores right across from our hotel which made for easy and delicious breakfasts in our rooms.

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dan and dad enjoying their breakfast.

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we spent our first full day getting a feel for the city from one of the double decker bus tours.  when you can get a live tour guide, they can really add a spark to all the history that you are flooded with.

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yay, gorgeous architecture!

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yay, cool architecture and fun pubs!

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i didn't realize how excited i'd be to see a place done up properly for the holidays.

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having only korean burgers for the past five years. . . i'd be looking forward to byron's proper burgers.  (ps- AMAZING.)

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hrmmm, a sculpture of a big blue cock. . . me thinks there is a joke in here somewhere.

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i like this sculpture in memory of the women of WWII.

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obligatory picture of Big Ben looking up at Big Ben.

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we were told that the london library would be a great place to stop, and a place that not most people think of.  they have an unbelievable special collection exhibit.  couldn't take photos outside, so i took one of the courtyard outsideon the left you can see the statue of sir isaac newton attempting to measure the world. . . and perhaps the universe.