"London used to be the world's largest metropolis and although it has ceded that title to the sprawling cities of the southern hemisphere, it's still a huge bewildering place if it's your first visit."
This was exactly my experience. I absolutely loved the city. We left NY on Tuesday evening, May 2nd, and arrived in London 6:30 AM on May 3rd. Our ride from the airport was over an hour due to very heavy traffic. That is exactly what our taxi driver wrote on our receipt "very heavy traffic" along with 86L of course. The very first thing that I made a mental note of (other than these people drive on the wrong side of the street) is that unlike NYC taxi I actually enjoyed this one. What's not to like? It smelled nice, was super clean and had plenty of leg room for me, my husband and our suitcases. Yes, suitcases have legs too. :) The fact that we did not hit anybody helped as well. One thing I did not enjoy is the driver pretending his car is a lime sqeezing into a corona bottle when driving on narrow streets. And, it is not a small car.
We checked into the hotel (Apex City), found out that the internet is down, changed and were on our way. Considering that we've had no sleep, Michael still went to work and I went on to sight seeing. Since our hotel is less than a mile away from Tower Bridge, I thought it was a good place to start. I walked out of the hotel, lit up a cigarette and started walking.
En route to the Bridge I came across the Tower of London.
Of course I couldn't pass it by so I decided to take a tour. I was greeted, well sort of, by the Yeoman Warder who looked like he was about to pass out.
I continued my trip which was a very nice experience with lots of things to photograph.
The Tower of London has been home to the world famous British Crown Jewels (Crowns and Diamonds) since the beginning of the 14th century. Unfortunately, even though I visited the museum, photography was not allowed there. Consequently, the pictures did not come out very well. :)
The Tower of London was a residence for the kings and queens of England as well as being a fortress. The rooms in the Towers are shown as they may have appeared in the reign of Edward I (1271-1307)
The Tower of London is surrounded by a series of massive defensive walls.
The White Tower begun in the reign of William the Conqueror (1066-1087), and marks the start of the Tower of London's history. Some of the Tower's most famous prisoners were held around Tower Green including Sir Walter Ralegh, kept in the Bloody Tower for 13 years. At the scaffold site two of Henry VIII's wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, were beheaded (all because they would not give birth to boys).
After the tour I walked the Tower Bridge
which was supposed to be my first destination and then took a look of the Towers of the Tower Bridge. I also bought a tour of the Tower Bridge Engine Rooms but somhow by the time I got down from the Towers of the Bridge I forgot that I was supposed to go down to the Engines. The fact that I could not and still can't understand what these mad English men are saying, I could not tell where I have to go and what I forgot there. So, no Engine rooms for me. After the Bridge, I ended up at St. Katherine's docks. I met two young Polish woman. We chatted, had more coffee and went our separate ways. Then... a long walk back home. Back at the hotel I met my husband. Michael took a nap, well he did not think it was a nap, but I did so I woke him up. I was hungry. :) We got dressed and went out to eat to a nice Indian restaurant called Malla. The food was delicious, but the beer a bit weak. After all, we took a very nice LONG walk over the Tower Bridge to the side opposite from our hotel. We walked along the Thames River and then over the London Bridge. Finally we made it back to the hotel around 1:15 AM. 36 hours later we were finally asleep. Few things that really caught my eye: the architecture
; large gatherings of people drinking beer and wine all over the streets outside restaurants and bars in the city during lunch and after work; signs guiding you to your destination on every corner; small weird looking cars; and McDonalds with internet connection terminals, large flat screen TV and neon lights (and it was spotless clean). Oh and I will never again say that NY has a large amount of Starbucks locations. In London they are as common as Russians on Brighton. They are everywhere.