MESSAGE: London *Video*

London (“the City”) was hopping when I was there – celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, gearing up for Wimbledon and anticipating hosting the Olympics = What a summer!

While I’ve been to London once before, this time I stayed for 2 whole weeks, visiting friends and exploring different neighborhoods, including Earlsfield, Islington, Highgate, Greenwich, Stratham, Brixton, and Tooting. A good sampling for sure!

Here’re my 7 insider picks for the city of London:

MEET (Cool Meet Ups) – Home House. A private club where I partied with my good friends Lucy, Martin and Nicki. The club had so many rooms, it was a bit like going down the rabbit hole where you lost all sense of time.

And boy, did I tie one on that night. It’s like my friend Michelle’s father says about martinis…Martinis are like women’s breasts, 2 is not enough and 3 is too many!

EAT (Tasty Eats) – Pakistani Food. My friends Cynthia and Rob took me to Tooting, a place known for great Pakistani food in London. It was good but we all ate way too much. We then went to a bar to hear some local music and the additional beers just about pushed us all over the edge! Tooting might be an appropriate name indeed…

SEE (Must-see Sights) – British Museum. This is one of the best museums I’ve ever been to, mainly because the descriptions accompanying the exhibits were really clear and informative.

Since I only had a few hours, I was strategic in my selection, first heading to the Egyptian Room (to see the stolen mummies). I then sought out the Persian Section (since I’m not heading to Iran any time soon), and the Celtic Center (I am in the UK after all). I enjoyed myself immensely and will make sure I drop in (its free!) whenever back in the City.

SHOP (Gotta Have) – London Look. There is a distinctive “London Look” right now – involving long straight (ironed) hair and black tights under short shorts. Seriously EVERYONE was wearing this look. I have to say, I’m not such a fan and didn’t participate. I guess the tights were so they could wear shorts and pretend it was summertime. Me? I’m saving my short for the beach…

ACTIVITY (Gotta Do) – Tower of London Tour. I was fully impressed with the tour of the Tower of London. So much so, that I didn’t even mind the $30 entrance fee. That said, I was sure to take advantage of 2 free tours.

The first tour was given by one of the 39 current Yeoman Wardens, commonly known as Beefeaters. The Beefeaters got their name because way back when they were partially paid in chunks of beef, which was supposed to make them strong so they could perform their duties, including protecting the Crown Jewels, guarding prisoners locked in the Tower, and safeguarding Westminster Abbey during coronations.

I also took another tour of the Chapel in the White Tower where Anne Boleyn was imprisoned. What’s super cool is that you can actually attend church services in the White Chapel, held every Sunday at 9:00 am. No entrance fee is required and you get to spend a bit of private time before the grounds are formally opened.

Also not to be missed – the Crown Jewels. I have a hard time believing that the jewels are real and not replicas on display. Either way, the crown and royal regalia is not only impressive, but also really beautiful. I went through this room twice, just to get a better gander. A treat to see!

Here’s my impression of the Tower:

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Erin at the Tower

GIVE (Greatest Need) – Down’s South London. This parent-run charity helps supports children with Down’s Syndrome and their families. They provide early intervention therapy services, such as speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy, benefiting children (0-6 years) living in South London.

To date, the charity has benefitted more than 150 children and their families with specialist therapy and advice. If you live in the UK and want to support their work, here’re 2 ways to give a donation:

ENJOY (Extra Fun) – GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). My friend Nick took me on a day-long tour of Greenwich, on the south side of the River Thames. The walking tour took me through green hills filled with farm animals (in the heart of London!), as well as the Royal Observatory.

The Royal Observatory is home to the Prime Meridian line and Greenwich Mean Time, the official starting point for each new day, year and millennium. Established in 1884, we all set our watches by GMT. Interesting, GMT is also referred to as Zulu Time and Universal Time, the term used by astronomers.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, June 30th, 2012 and is filed under Europe, Messages by Country.

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