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Last Morning in London

The Plot Thickens?

View Post-College Eurotrip on atbrady's travel map.

One thing I meant to mention last night was the culture in London where EVERYONE seems to go out for drinks after work EVERY day of the week. Just around the time Hunter and I are getting dinner, pubs are filled with businesspeople and even overflowing with many drinking just outside the pub. While this may be standard fare back at home on a Friday, keep in mind that this has been on a Monday and Tuesday night. Also, as Hunter and I have been busy most of the day, we don’t usually start looking for a place for dinner until as late as 9 or 10 o clock. Much of London is starting to shut down by then. Now again, I realize it’s a weeknight, but even in the most tourist-filled locations, I have yet to find a place that serves dinner past 10, with many closing their kitchen before that.

Well anyways last night we had quite the roommate turnover. Three of the six beds in our room had new occupants, excluding Hunter, myself and you guessed it, the old snorer. In the shower last night I also got to thinking about what a cash cow the hostel business is. At first, I figured there wasn’t much money to be made, but when you think about it, we’re paying the equivalent of $35 a night sleep in a room with six other people. If all the beds are filled, which has been the case in our room, that’s over $200 a night, the equivalent of a pretty decent hotel, except the rooms in a hotel with that cost would have to be larger. Also, they don’t have to provide any of the amenities of such a hotel. So a larger quantity of smaller rooms packed into a hostel with no spending on amenities.

This morning we woke up early to another great breakfast of bran cereal. Just to mix things up, today I skipped the bread. One thing to note is that it is our third day in a row of fantastic weather in London, how lucky! It is sunny and warm, but far from uncomfortably hot. We hopped on the tour bus from yesterday because our tickets were good for 24 hours to get a free ride to the tower of London. The tower was one of the last stops on the loop, so it ended up being a mixed bag. On one hand, it was nice to be able to sit through the entire tour that we had just seen for bits and pieces. On the other, since it was one of the last stops on the loop, it took almost two hours of our last day. In retrospect, we probably would have hopped on the metro to save some time, but being on an open top tour bus on a beautiful day in London isn’t so bad. Plus, we picked up some new facts that we missed on yesterdays tour. For example, we learned that pubs in London have been going through tough times since smoking was outlawed in them. Our guide said that 50 pubs close each week because this law has kept so many Londoners from frequenting the pubs. Apparently their love of smoking trumps their love of beer. Also, after seeing so many pubs that I thought we’re packed, as I mentioned before, I can’t imagine what they would have been like before. If this trend continues, you may no longer see a pub or (5) on every corner in London. We also saw two statues we hadn’t expected, of both Washington and Lincoln. Because Washington had famously sworn that he would never again set foot on British soil, American soil was given to London along with the statue which was a gift from the state of Virginia. Finally we noticed that in Britain, yellow lights are not only used to warn of a red light, but also turn on just before the green light comes back on. A useless fact but one that is nonetheless interesting.

On the way to the tower, Hunter told me about how he tore a muscle in his upper leg a while back and how he had an outpatient procedure a few weeks ago to treat it since such injuries are slow to heal since the muscle never gets rest. With all the walking we’ve been doing the last few days, its been flaring up on him so he’s unfortunately going to have to head to the hospital this afternoon to get it checked out. So, I’ll be on my own for the afternoon. Once we got to the Tower of London, which has been used for such varied purposes as housing prisoners, munitions and even the Crown Jewels. The price tag of 17 pounds was the highest of any attraction we had been to in London. According to our tour guide, this is the most popular attraction in London, so the two are probably related. Maybe I’m growing tired of museums or maybe I expected more from this price tag, but the Tower wasn’t all it was hyped to be. I think part of the reason is that the museum piece that houses armor and ammunition from the last 1000 years of London’s history made up a big part of our visit. While interesting, you can only look at so many suits of armor before they all start to blend together. The other half of the visit was centered on the crown jewels, their origins and meanings. Basically, you sat in line waiting to see the best in the collection but you could at least be entertained by videos and plaques along the way. This was one attraction I know Kristine would have loved. The flawless diamond on the staff used at coronations is a whopping 530.2 karats! It was cut from the largest flawless diamond ever found, the so called “First star of Africa”, which was over 1000 karats. Seeing the various crowns from over the years was also interesting.

Afterward we went to a nearby sandwich shop. On the way, Hunter had to stop at McDonalds to see whether they called their fries chips. They didn’t. We also noticed that runners in London tend to wear backpacks. At first we thought they might be fellow backpackers in a hurry but soon realized that the bast majority of runners were wearing similar packs.

Posted by atbrady 12:32 Archived in England Tagged tourist_sites

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