A place to visit on my bucket list, and one that I had wanted to visited for many years, was London. There are many reasons why but given my large percentage of English ancestry, visiting London was among the most important places on my "must see" list.
For this tour, I went with another Rick Steves Tour group. The tour itself was a lot like the previous year's tour in Paris. One thing I did learn was to not pay for the single supplement. This is what they call the exorbitant tax on single travelers. The rule (as of this writing) is if you travel alone, you have to pay around $700 extra or be assigned to a room with another single person on the tour. Last year I noticed that most of the people on the tour are either married, retirees or families. I've yet to see a single man of my age on these tours. So, I didn't pay the "single traveler tax" and ended up with a room to myself and not having to pay extra.
London itself was fantastic. It's such a lively, bustling city with so much history. Some of the highlights for me were:
Buckingham palace, sadly we didn't see the Queen.
The British National Museum, I can't even begin to describe the treasures here. The Rosette Stone and the Egyptian artifacts were outstanding.
Big Ben, I will never forget my first sight of it. Rounding a corner and there it was, as big as life.
Churchill's War Rooms, I gained a huge appreciation for Churchill. Not just for defeating the Nazi's but as a man.
Trafalgar Square, such a beautiful place in the city.
Tower of London and The Crown Jewels, we had a nice tour of the tower along with some history from a Beef-eater. Followed by a private viewing of the Crown Jewels.
Boat ride on the Thames, such a wonderful boat ride down the Thames and seeing many of the London sights as we floated along.
Westminster Abbey, where we saw many famous (dead) people. The tour guide introduced me to one of my relatives, George Peabody. I don't know if he is really related but the tour guide insisted that he must be.
Day trip to Windsor, I really enjoyed this side trip. We took a train about an hour outside of London to this beautiful little city. The royal family stays at Windsor Castle and we got to tour the castle. It was incredible. Definitely worth the trip.
The British National Library, where we saw the Magna Carta, original Beatles lyrics, original works by Shakespeare, a real Gutenberg Bible and many ancient documents. The age on some of these things were amazing.
It was a very special and memorable trip for me. London and the UK in general was a fantastic place to visit. It was even more especial knowing that my heritage is, in part, from this place.
If you're interested in seeing this tour though my eyes, check out the video below.