Insight Vacation Select Choices Tour – London – July 18th 2011

Europe July 18th

July 18th 2011

This morning was another early 6am morning wake up for my mom and I. We used the hop on – hop off tour bus to visit Trafalger Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and Tower of London.

During our walk around of Trafalger Square we saw Nelson’s Ship in a bottle, The countdown to the 2012 Olympics and the National Gallery.

Trafalgar Square Plaque

Trafalgar Square

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle

Countdown to the Olympics

The National Gallery

St Paul’s Cathedral was beautiful. My mom and I didn’t go into it because I wasn’t feeling the line up, or the walk up all the stairs. Plus we still had other sights to see and I wanted to spent more time there.

St Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral

The original Cathedral burned down in 1666 and in 1706 it was replaced with the neo-classical design that stands today. It’s amazing how they look nothing alike. This photo comes from one of the the walk ways at Tower bridge.

old to new

Tower Bridge and the Tower of London were amazing. We used the hop on – hop off tour bus again. The bus drives you over Tower Bridge and stops at the Tower of London.

View from the hop on - hop off tour bus

My mom and I decided that it made the most sense to do Tower Bridge first so we walked all the way back to the Bridge. Basically how it works is that you go up one side of the Bridge using the elevator, then you walk along the enclosed walkways at the top and you then come down the other side using the stairs and then you can use your ticket to see the engine rooms.

Tower Bridge

Once the Bridge was done we made our way over to the Tower of London. We purchased the audio tour which tells you about the building as you walk through at your own pace. You pretty much just walk around within the castle walls and have the options to go inside the other buildings that are there. My mom and I decided that it would be best to see the crown jewels first since it was the only building with a line up.

Tower Of London

My mom had visited London several years ago and had already seen inside the building but she agreed to wait in line with me again. It’s a good thing she did, because they changed it all from when she saw it. When she was there, you walked into the building and turned to the right which led you to the vault which is where the jewels are kept, however when we first walked in we were instructed to turn to the left and walk through several rooms each with different videos playing explaining and showing you the crown jewels. My mom and I were listening along to the audio so everything was explained. Eventually we came to the vault that had the jewels. It was all so amazing to see and hear. I wasn’t able to take any photos due to security reasons.

Once we finished at the Tower of London we caught the hop on – hop off tour bus and made our way back to the hotel. We arrived around 3pm and dinner was Pret A Manger again. I must say I love the wraps there. Around 5:30pm my mom and I caught a cab and made our way to Her Majesty’s Theater for the 6:30pm showing of Phantom of the Opera. We had front row, center seats and the orchestra was directly in front of us. Since you arn’t allowed to take photos while the show is on, I secretly snapped one during intermission. That’s my mom’s hand in the photo. The orchestra was directly in front of us.

Phantom of the Opera

Once the show was over, which was amazing I might add, we tried to catch a cab. We ended up having to walk up to Piccadilly circus where we were eventually able to get one. Once back at the hotel we double checked the routes we needed to take tomorrow for the underground/tube, made a 7am wake up call and hoped into bed for tomorrow was sure to be an exciting day.

After talking to Damien for 11 years online, tomorrow was the day that I would finally get to meet him.