I headed up to London on Monday and Paul took me to a cocktail bar near his work, which he clearly goes to far too often cos they recognised him as a regular. We then went for pizza by the river and chatted about important things like our next holiday and the differences between the books and TV series of Game of Thrones.
The next day saw us going up Tower Bridge, which now has a glass floor on the walkways:
Me on the glass floor, looking down at the London traffic below.
Paul was very careful not to step on the glass at all.
After the walkway we then visited the Engine Rooms, which hold the steam engines that were once used to raise the bridge.
A giant version of the model steam engines my dad used to build.
And then we were lucky enough to be around for a bridge lift:
Bridge Lift as viewed from the bridge.
I wonder what it would have been like to have seen it through the glass floor above. Pretty cool I imagine.
We then left the Bridge and headed over to The Monument:
The Monument to the Great Fire of London. It's tall.
I particularly liked that we visited during early September, the time of the fire 351 years earlier.
And, as I mentioned above, it's tall. You go up via the spiral staircase in the centre and when you leave they give you a certificate to say that you've climbed all 311 steps of the Monument! You also go down the same staircase, which can be a bit awkward when passing people.
Because it's so tall, the views are really good. Because it's London, the same cannot always be said of the weather...
Me with Tower Bridge behind me. Honest.
Photo of Tower Bridge taken from the Monument.
We continued the evening with cocktails at The Blind Pig which had amazing literature themed drinks that I simply had to try, such as:
Hunny Pot (Winnie the Pooh)
Lost & Found (Paddington Bear)
And we finished the evening at Flat Iron steakhouse. Fourteen-year old vegetarian me would have been appalled, but almost-thirty-four year old me wanted to celebrate with steak. It was pretty good, not a place I'd rush back to though. (But, having said that, the bonus ice cream at the end was delicious!)
The Queen's London pad.
Wednesday saw us heading over to Victoria and Buckingham Palace. The Queen wasn't home, so we got a chance to snoop through her stuff.
First up we visited the Queen's Gallery. I was a bit disappointed cos I was expecting a variety of art, but it was just an exhibition on Canaletto.
Next we went to the Royal Mews, which houses the Queen's carriages, horses and cars. We only saw a couple of horses, who were more interested in their food than us silly tourists...
There were more carriages though, including this one:
The Gold State Coach
It's amazing how something so expensive can look so cheap and tacky up close.
The final part of our visit was the State Rooms, which was really the main attraction. No photography was allowed inside which was disappointing but probably for the best considering how many people were there. My favourite part was probably the throne room where the Queen's throne has her fancy royal cypher on and Prince Philip's just has a P.
The back of the Palace, featuring a corner of the cafe where I had tea and cake.
After spending an exorbitant amount of money in the gift shops we headed back to Surbiton for the pub quiz. My team mates gave me cards and presents, which was lovely of them. And we won the quiz, cos we're awesome like that.
Thursday was my actual birthday so Paul and I went out for brunch in Kingston before I headed home to presents and fizz. I then spent Friday and Saturday building the Lego Big Ben kit and watching Stranger Things. Rob came round for the weekend and we had pizza and more fizz.
All in all, a very good birthday week. =D