I blinked and I’m in week 5 of living in London. Whoa. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet figured out how to get all my work done in under 40 hours per week so I’m not able to do much sightseeing on the weekdays. To make up for lost time I’m touring overtime on the weekends. Saturday and Sunday both involved 4+ hours of walking which helps me justify my lack of a gym membership. Here’s the latest:
Saturday I met up with two American coworkers to tour Parliament. I didn’t realize that it was open to the public but for £17 each we acquired tickets on TicketMaster UK and got treated to an hour and a half tour through the same halls and rooms that have been walked by the likes of Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher. Cameras weren’t allowed and we had to turn off our cell phones so I couldn’t even sneak an iPhone selfie, but I just discovered their interactive website that offers virtual tours here if you want a peek.
I was in awe of the House of Lords Chamber and all its grandeur. I learned the color scheme is red because back in the day red and blue (as in “royal blue”) were the most expensive colors to make. The throne is where Queen Elizabeth sits when she’s in attendance. Then we moved into the House of Commons Chamber and note the color scheme changes to green for those commoners. This is the room David Cameron and the other elected Members of Parliament debate in. There are hundreds of tiny hanging microphones in the room so everyone can be heard.
Overall, I totally nerded out and just thought it was amazing to see all of this up close and personal. A theme that keeps resurfacing for me here is my newfound desire to relearn everything I forgot from high school on British history. This sounds corny, but history really is more meaningful when I can go see all of these sights in person.
- London Cocktail Week. For £10 each some friends and I bought wristbands that granted us access to over 150 participating bars in London, each with a specialty £4 cocktail. Two notes here: (1) I only made it to 5 of the bars so don’t stage an intervention and (2) £4 is a steal of a deal for cocktails in this town. My favorite location was a DIY whiskey bar where groups of 4-5 people were matched up with a bartender to make a mixed drink featuring Scotch whiskey. I didn’t expect to like it because I’m firmly a Vodka fan, but was pleasantly surprised by how good the drink was.
Nothing new to report yet, but lots of scheming and list-making is taking place with potential travel buddies so I hope to have some trips scheduled for November and December soon. Spoiler alert – one of my 2014 trips may include Justin Timberlake + Stockholm, a divine combination if I do say so myself.
Still reading The Husband’s Secret. I’ve also rediscovered podcasts so I’ve been catching up on old episodes of Travel with Rick Steves, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and This American Life on my daily commute.
Enchanted by the drama of Season 2 of Scandal. My new motto is WWOPD (What Would Olivia Pope Do?).
On to week 5!