Monday, January 21, 2013

London Vacation Part 2

You can catch Part 1 of our London trip here.

After purchasing a small supply of Cadbury cream eggs we headed for our next stop - the London Zoo!

Not many people would think about going to the zoo when they visit another city. However, there was limited things open on Dec. 24 and Jason and I personally love walking around zoos. Especially when we get a chance to see our favorite animal - the okapi! :-)

Jason got some great pictures of the different animals as we spent the afternoon enjoying the zoo.

Wait, what?! Is that... Zoey??? How did she meerkitten in the London Zoo?! ;-)

Look at the lion!! He kept circling around and entertaining everyone.

This was the scariest lion of all though!

That night we headed to Hyde Park for their Winter Wonderland celebration. It was Christmas markets selling all sorts of items along with carnival rides and games. We enjoyed playing a couple shooting games and eating some delicious french fries! (Jason was a little possessive, but it's understandable since they are one of his favorite foods. Unless you put ketchup on them. That's blasphemous.)

We found this precious ornament as well to remember and celebrate our last Christmas with just the two of us.

We slept in Christmas morning before enjoying breakfast at our hotel. Afterwards we walked through Green Park and over to Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately we never got to see the guard or the changing of the guard (the next scheduled change was the following day after our flight to Ireland).

Then we decided to try a jumping picture in front of the palace. Epic fail. Jason stood too close to me and I jumped too soon... my arm slammed into the bottom of his jaw and neither of us was very happy with the other. Here's the after math of the incident -

We also wanted to see Kensington Palace, but the walk over was going to be at least an hour each way. We weren't sure if our feet were up for that and instead we decided to rent bicycles and ride over. It was a fun way to see the rest of Hyde Park and save time (and our feet) from the walk.

And this time we got a successful jumping picture. Please notice the amount of distance we put between ourselves (We were both still hurting and a bit bitter from the incident. ;-) )

We also enjoyed the extra time we'd saved by taking some fun shots with the traditional red phone booths. We also found some that change you into another person when you go in and come out!!

The only restaurants open on Christmas were Middle Eastern ones so we enjoyed trying Turkish food for the first time. It was delicious and we went to bed early after giving our families a call to wish them Merry Christmas.

The following day we headed to the airport. Since it was Boxing Day we had to take a private car as there was no public transportation available. We liked London so much that when we were almost to the airport we decided we would go back and say good-bye one more time. Oh and pick up the camera that we'd left in the hotel so we would have it in Ireland. Yeah... that already expensive ride to the airport just went from ridiculous to outrageous. But we had left in plenty of time to make the trip back and get the camera and still be fine to make our flight to Ireland fortunately!

The next few days we spent in Ireland, which you can read about here (coming soon!).

We flew back to London on Dec. 31 to celebrate New Year's Eve there before flying back to Stavanger on Jan. 1. We arrived and opted to take the express train into the city rather than the tube so we would make sure we could visit Westminster Abbey before it closed.

We got to see Big Ben before taking our place in the long line of tourists waiting to go inside. Here's our sad faces not because of the rain, but because we are headed home tomorrow which means that vacation is over. :-/

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Abbey, but it was packed inside! We wandered through slowly enjoying the audio tour giving us the background on the famous crypts and rooms throughout the church.

Next we headed over to The Wolseley for our 4:00 pm tea time. It was the first traditional British tea that either of us had ever experienced and we loved it! We passed the time talking about what an incredible and blessed 2012 we've had and all the things we are looking forward to in 2013. We loved the little finger sandwiches and biscuits and cakes! I could get used to afternoon tea. :-)

Jason and I had made reservations for a late dinner on New Year's Eve. However, out hotel was located incredibly close to the fireworks and it was impossible for us to make it through the crowd trying to get close to the show hours before it started. We gave up on the idea of getting to dinner because we knew it was only going to get worse if we tried to come back closer to midnight.

Instead we opted to take some fun pictures around the hotel and order room service and spend the night in. When it got close to midnight our hotel opened up the balcony where we had a slight obstructed view of the fireworks through the trees, but still got to see the fantastic fireworks show and not deal with the massive crowds just in front of the hotel.

It was a perfect end to our vacation and to 2012!

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