Forewarning: the following post is link-tastic!
A couple of weeks ago, our American friends Jason and Brian came to stay with us (<pictures here>). They were the very first of our friends and family to visit...hence, they are now our BFFs! Suck on that, Cori and Dave! Anyway, Jason and Brian actually flew over separately (Jason from Seattle and Brian from Spokane), but their visits overlapped by a few days.
Brian arrived bright and early Monday morning. He had the whole day ahead of him, but was a little worn out from the long flight and wasn't really ready to dive head first into London activities, yet. So instead, I showed him around the East Finchley hood with a nice stroll through Cherry Tree Wood. Then I made him walk to Muswell Hill, since that's a cool neighborhood, too. Then, since Alexandra Park was right there, we walked through there...and then back to Muswell Hill for lunch...and then back home to East Finchley. Then Brian took a nap...so much for taking it easy!
The next day was the start of our tourist extravaganza! After dropping Simone off at school, I took Brian into Central London. Our first stop was the Tate Britain, followed by a stroll along the South Bank for views/photo ops of Parliament, the London Eye, etc. We had a huge lunch at Wagamama, and then I left Brain to explore the Tate Modern so I could pick-up Simone from school (incidentally, on the way to pick her up I got the call from Friern Barnet School inviting me to an job interview...so that's pretty cool).
The next day, Brain and I explored the vastness of Hyde Park. That took all morning, and after lunch I left Brian so I could pick-up Simone from school. By the time we got back home, both Brian and Jason were waiting for us. They went to explore East Finchley, and then we had dinner from the excellent Indian takeaway Imperial Spices.
Jason, Brian, and I spent the next morning at the Natural History Museum for dino-maina! This is the 3rd time I've been to the Natural History Museum, and it was by far the least crowded I've ever seen it. We walked right in to see the dinosaurs instead of waiting in line for an hour...awesome! We ate lunch at the Museum, and we all ordered the child-sized chicken pie...and were all stuffed afterwards! The pies were huge! What kind of gigantor kids are they trying to feed? From there we walked up to Hyde Park and saw the Albert Memorial and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountains, and then continued on to Buckingham Palace...and the Queen was home! Well, we didn't actually have tea with the Queen or anything, but her flag was flying. We then continued our trek to Trafalgar Square and saw a bit of the National Gallery, and then on to Picadilly Circus, Regent Street, and Hamley's before heading heading home to a dinner of piles of doner meat, hummus, and naan. Yum!
Sarah took Friday off of work, so she joined Jason, Brian, and me. We walked from Leicester Square, through Trafalgar Square, and got the surreal close-up view of Parliament. We then went into Westminster Abbey, which is just simply incredible. The sheer amount of history here, along with the many influential people buried here, is overwhelming. That evening Jason, Brian, and I went to see Avenue Q...which was hilarious (maybe not pant-wettingly funny as advertised, but still pretty damn funny)!
The following day was Saturday, so Simone got to tag along with us to the Tower of London (the damn thing is nearly 1000 years old...awesome), a walk across Tower Bridge, and then a trip way, way up high in the London Eye.
Brian went home the next day, so Jason, Sarah, Simone, and I went to Highgate Cemetery and saw some cool old tombstones along with a few famous dead people (i.e. Karl Marx). Simone and Sarah then went home, and Jason and I took a quick peek at St. Paul's Cathedral, followed by a romantic cruise along the Thames. We ate ginormous burgers, and then we went on an equally romantic Jack the Ripper tour...really cool!
Jason spent the next couple of days in Paris, and then stayed one more night at our house before heading back home. I think that covers everything! Be sure to check out the pictures in the <Gallery>!
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