Sunday, June 28, 2015

The United Kingdom: The Tower, Churchill, and Carla

After a full night of sleep, I still woke up wishing I could just relax and stay in bed! But we had another full day in London ahead of us and it began at the Tower of London. If you only have 2 days in London, you HAVE to go to the Tower! It has so many awesome stuff to see, not least of which is the crown jewel vault!

While the first day was warm and sunny and bright, this day was hazy and cool and rained a little bit too and it truly felt like a perfect London day!

waiting for the Crown Jewels

Tower Bridge

trying on some armor

a dragon made of armor
The Tower was so fun and so busy! We didn't get a chance to take the Yeoman Warder tour, but that is definitely a must if you have never been. We just didn't have enough time after seeing everything else. The Crown Jewel display was definitely a favorite! So many huge glittering pieces. The wealth was overwhelming.

After the tower, we headed across the street to a pub for lunch. It was sunday afternoon and we were definitely catching the after church crowd. One of the best things I saw was a couple of ministers taking in a pint together. Truly a typical British Sunday afternoon.

Following lunch we headed back down to Westminster to check out the Churchill War Rooms. The War Rooms are literally right around the corner from Westminster Abbey and Big Ben, so we quick shot a photo op we had skipped the day before... the obligatory photobooth shot!

This was at the top of Aaron's list for what he wanted to see in London and I was excited because it was the first place we went that I had not been before! This was another place that we could have use so much more time because there were too many things to read and take in about the rooms. The displays were so fun to see and to get an idea of what it was like in World War II and how Churchill essentially ran the country from below ground. So crazy to see it all and read all about his incredible life. 

We had been planning on meeting up with Carla for dinner than evening, but because we didn't have cell phone service we had to rely on wifi in order to get messages throughout the day with updates of when and where we would meet. Luckily the Churchill War Rooms had wifi, because surprising to us, Carla came into London early and met us right outside the museum!

One of the things I was most looking forward to in England was getting to start telling people that I was pregnant! We still hadn't told our families yet, because we thought it would be fun to tell them when we got back and gave them each their souvenirs from our trip, but I could tell anyone I wanted in England. Carla was one of the first people who I got to tell!! We left the War Rooms and headed into St James Park to walk over to Buckingham Palace. We were chatting and discussing how excited we were about being back in London and Carla mentioned how she was DYING to come back for a visit to Phoenix and I told her that February would be a good time to come because that is when our baby would be due!! She was in complete shock and squealed in delight and just couldn't get over it! I loved that she knew and was able to celebrate for us and be excited with us!

After the excitement of our news, it was back to being tourists!

Can I just say that I decided that St James Park is one of my top spots in London. It is so lush and shady and just overflowing with flowers and pathways that you could get lost in. It was such a lovely stroll and then we ended up at Buckingham Palace.

Sadly the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace were closed for touring, but someday I will see inside this gorgeous palace!

We finished up taking pictures and continued catching up with Carla as we walked down to Trafalgar Square and then dinner in Covent Garden at the Lamb & Flag.

one of my favorite pictures of the trip! (photo cred: Carla)

Dinner at the Lamb & Flag
Love this amazing friend!
 This was one of my favorite meals of the trip! Such delicious traditional British food! We had planned on trying the traditional Sunday Roast, but they ran out before we got there. No worries though because my steak and ale pie was incredible!
Steak & Ale pie!

Aaron's Bangers & Mash
Aaron and I had already gotten use to the awesomeness of the pub payment system where you order and pay right away and then they bring the food to your table and you can leave whenever. However, I didn't realize that this pub worked differently. Aaron had not paid yet and he popped into the loo as we were getting ready to leave, and Carla and I headed out the door. We stepped over the threshold and the server rushed out after us demanding that we pay. I was so confused and embarrassed and Aaron came out of the restroom and had forgotten he hadn't paid either and it was all a big misunderstanding that we laughed about and the server didn't find very funny. Hahaha.

It was time for Carla to head back home and while I knew we would see her again at the end of the week, I just hated saying goodbye! It is so encouraging and honoring and sweet and fun and hilarious and honest and real to get to be with her and catch up on life and talk about all sorts of things from family and friends, to God's truth, to the future and all in between.

After Carla left us, Aaron and I finished out the night walking through Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus!
Aaron wasn't very impressed with Piccadilly

Such a fun and full day in London!

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