I did a lot of walking in London…
… and didn't really mean to pass through these famous landmarks, but stumbled upon them along the way.
I ended up catching a glimpse of The Shard while walking down this random street because I was following two tourists with cameras who seemed to know what they were doing. LOL. I didn't have a plan for myself that afternoon and figured I would let my feet take me wherever. (I followed the camera guys for a couple of blocks until I was too tired to keep going and spotted a Tube station).
I don't remember how I ended up at the Tower of London but YAY, history! I visited this place on my first trip to London and remember very clearly that we were there to see the Crown Jewels (I brought a book about them home with me).
I went through a Shakespeare phase for a while where I was obsessed with the Plantagenets and Richard III et al, so it was fun to walk around the periphery of the Tower and read the little bits of trivia they have scattered all over the place. I actually considered getting a ticket and going in but just thought I'd go for a walk instead.
Past the tower, I ended up at the foot of London Bridge. A kind Malaysian family asked me if I wanted them to take my picture for me but I politely declined. Ahh, tourist bonding.
I tried taking an underpass that was supposed to get me to a Tube station but I ended up on a detour that took me right back to the Tower. I WAS EXHAUSTED to say the least.
Because I couldn't figure out how to get to the Tube, I just walked over the Thames and caught this fun conflagration of construction and modern buildings and again, The Tower. I really like The Gherkin (and gherkins too).
I had some time to kill before dinner in Chinatown with a friend, so I decided to continue on my historic buildings of London walking tour and headed to Westminster Abbey. The bells were clanging as soon as I arrived. I remember going to the church on my first trip to London too and being fascinated by the tiled floor and the tomb of the unknown soldier.
Across the street was Parliament, which was fun to see since I had gone to Highclere Castle a week back and this building was designed by the same architect (Charles Barry). There were droves of tourists.
I love that you can go to the underground, ride a bus, or explore London on foot and find yourself, pretty unexpectedly, in an important, historic place. I'm hoping to visit again next year and discover many more secret spots in the city. :)
After Parliament, I did take a bus back to Covent Garden and went shopping at Lululemon (so much for the culture trip, haha) before my dinner (Japanese, it was cheap and delicious).