Day 2 was the day of walking. London has a great subway system, no doubt about it. But if you want to see the city, taking the Tube doesn’t let you see more than walls and halls that all look the same. So we set out from our hotel, backpacks in tow, by foot. We had a few snacks with us, but we found a TescoExpress on our way to Westminster Cathedral and bought sandwiches, bananas, crackers, and Prawn Cocktail crisps.
Westminster Cathedral (Roman Catholic) is beautiful! From the outside, it is different from other stereotypical Gothic cathedrals because, well, it isn’t a Gothic cathedral. It is built with red brick and white stone, which makes remarkable stripes.
The inside is just as striking. Also unlike most cathedrals, the ceiling is not decorated; It’s painted black. And it reminds me of Hogwarts: When you are looking at the alter, it feels like there is no ceiling, just the dark sky above you. Very cool.
We headed up Victoria Street, found a bench, and ate our brunch. Then, we headed to Westminster Abbey (Church of England) and Big Ben. Next, we began our trek down the Thames. We crossed Blackfriars Bridge, hit Tate Modern, and then walked through a less touristy part of town, towards Tower Bridge. We took a lot of great pictures of Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the modern London City Hall building, and my favorite building, the Gherkin. Then we rested our feet for a while at the Tower of London and watched the people pass.
Next, we headed to Baker Street to see where Sherlock Holmes lived. And we had our picture taken in partial Sherlock Holmes regalia. Very fun! Then we were off to Abbey Road to see that famous crosswalk and the studio where so many Beatles albums were recorded. We decided not to stop traffic to make our own reproduction, but we sure enjoyed watching other people do it. :)
By this time, we needed to head to Victoria Coach Station, where we would catch our 5-hour bus ride to Liverpool. Once we arrived in Liverpool, we asked 6 girls done up for going out how to get to the “city centre,” checked into our hotel, and passed out, tired and happy, and dreamt about Anfield.
Even though it was recently voted the dirtiest city in London, and even though 1 out of every 10 injured Londoners hurt themselves while using a “mobile” (as cell phones are called in Britain), we really liked London. We noticed street cleaning crews working around the clock. Compared to Germany, though, there was not a trash can on every corner. It did seem a little posh to us, and I felt a little out of place among the trendy name brandy, high fashion clothes everyone was wearing, especially since our wardrobe for the trip consisted of “comfy travel clothes.”
But we liked the face pace, the very easy-to-use Underground system, and we liked, again unlike in Germany, that no pedestrians waited for the signal to cross the street. In Germany, if you have your driver’s license and get caught crossing on a red crosswalk signal, whether you are on foot or riding a bike, you can get a ticket.
However… we much prefer Liverpool to London, so stayed tuned over the next few days to find out why!