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United Kingdom Recap

I was thinking of approaching my Europe recap to tourist items vs non-tourist items.  But let's be real, everyone's seen Westminster Abbey on TV, which would be the same as seeing my photo of it on here.  So I'm just going to start typing and see what comes out... enjoy!

*We knocked out pretty must all the big tourist must sees on a free walking tour through in one morning:  changing of the guard, Buckingham Palace, the palace Prince Charles, Camila and Prince Harry live in, Westminster Abbey, the prime ministers home, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, first street lights in the world with gas lighting.
check out the gas lamps

*No one seems to know where Big Ben got it's name.  The real name until 2012 when it was renamed Elizabeth Tower was Clock Tower.  And actually Big Ben is only supposed to refer to the actual bell, but since it's just a nickname anyway, not sure I understand what the big deal is.  Yep.  So who's this guy Ben?  Allow it to remain a mystery.

*It was quite a job to get "Big Ben" to the tower and up to it's rightful place.  After it was in place, it quickly cracked.  Rather than taking it down and doing the entire thing all over again.  They cut a hole out of the bell, turned it slightly and still use it today, with a crack and hole.

*London is technically 1 square mile.  The statue of King Charles in Trafalgar Square marks the center.

*England uses 25% of the world's security cameras.  England is not that big, my friends.  It sort-of became a joke with us.  There would be signs saying a store had cameras.  We were like, of course it does.  Then even when there weren't signs, we would take a second to look around and quickly find a camera, and then another, and another.  A bit ridiculous.
When this started happening an artist started feeling this was all a bit "big brother" esque so he installed about 35 noses throughout the city as a statement that they were being nosey.  Our tour guide said most were taken down and sold on ebay, but one remains on Admiralty arch.
     I looked into this a bit and there seems to be conflicting stories from what our tour guide said.  Or maybe I just remember wrong... 
can you see it?

*Ohhhh Gentlemen's Clubs... the prime minister was always invited to the clubs.  This became an issue when Margaret Thatcher became the prime minister.  What did they do?  Granted her as an honorary gentleman when she went to the clubs.  Interesting approach.
By the way, GOLF technically stands for Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden

* We went on a Jack the Ripper tour, which those tours seem to be quite popular considering the number of tour groups we saw walking through the East End.  Advice:  if you scare easily, I do not recommend going on a solo run the morning following this tour while it is still dark...  I scared myself so much I may have made it a mile before I decided I was too cold and had to go back.  When in actuality I was terrified anyone I saw would tragically kill me (in the city of security cameras).  I realize it's crazy

*I did not get used to cars on the opposite side...the entire trip.  I did appreciate the signs on the pavement telling me which way to look and I tried to follow instructions at the beginning of the trip, but then I gave up and just looked both ways....all the time.

*Why do streets in the United Kingdom randomly change names?  For no reason the street name changes from one block to the next.  Makes it a bit more challenging to follow maps.  Good thing I like maps.

*Bath=lots of roman influences.  Boom.  This is pretty much when I got the cold I'm still fighting now.  Were you worth it, Bath?

*I didn't have any, but all the girls agreed the United Kingdom just doesn't do Mexican.  We also saw a restaurant in Islington (London neighborhood) that said "authentic California Mexican".
these are "nachos" by the way

*While we were on a drive between London and Lacock we drove on a hill that was where people would go to safety during the Cold War if an attack happened.  It was for the government to go and continue running the country.  Under this hill there are living quarters for 4,000 people.  

*Stone roofs were a sign of wealth back in the day, but actually thatch was better insulated.  Although it did catch fire easier.  Hmmm decisions...

*Not much is known about Stonehenge, but there are a lot of theories.  My favorite theory is that they used Stonehenge at the winter solstice to celebrate the increasing daylight.  Oh, I would be right there alongside them!
p.s. We went on a tour with Lion tours, which was lovely.  Small group sizes and fun facts. 

*Coffee shops have real mugs...even starbucks.  Even at the airport.  Boom. 

Not sure if this applies to the coffee shops, but most places you eat ask if your food is for take away or stay.  If you're staying, they'll charge you a bit more.

*It's hard not to notice (read: impossible) the castle looming over Edinburgh.  No matter where you walk in that town (unless you hoof up the hill to the castle) you look up this scary rocky hill and see a scary, gothic style castle looking down on you.  Puts you in your place.  
That's for sure.
edinburgh sure is pretty though

*Street musician in Scotland=bag pipe.

*Oh, if you're in Bristol, hit up Start the Bus.  Good vibes up in there.

p.s. I already talked about New Year's Eve Hogmanay festival in Edinburgh.
and european transportation


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