England: London

November.  The  perfect month to visit the great city of London.  If you ask me.  The way I look at it, if the famous London Fog brand put “fog” in the name, then why visit London in July when you are bound to see the sun?  All my life I’d conjured up images of the city based on Sherlock Holmes mysteries, watching a somewhat stoic Prince Charles marry Diana, the cursory study of high school Shakespeare, and men in dimly lit pubs drinking warm beer.  This is the London I was after.  I am delighted to report that my experience matched my expectation!  And if you visit late enough in November Bond Street will be decked out for the coming holiday season.  Just don’t forgot to pack your trench and you’ll be a happy fellow.

Just like any of the world’s great cities there is more to see than you have time for.  But whatever choices you make none can go wrong.  The only thing I found unenjoyable was the jetlag.  For me jetlag is worst flying east a few hours time.  If you know you won’t be visiting very long and can’t afford to sleep the day away while your body clock adjusts, try having a spot of tea and a scone after getting to your destination followed by a short power nap and resolve to hit the streets.  The London fog is fabulous!

My highlights include:

  • Attending a service in Westminster Abbey (the all boys choir and acoustics were AAAAmazing!)
  • Riding the Tube out to Portobello Road and exploring
  • Seeing the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London
  • Strolling along the River Thames at night and photographing Big Ben
  • Visiting the National Gallery of Art
  • Eating fish-n-chips at North Sea Fish Restaurant
  • A self-guided sightseeing tour aboard a double-decker hop-on-hop-off bus around the city
  • Seeing the Phantom of the Opera in Her Majesty’s Theatre
  • Watching James Bond Die Another Day on opening day in London
  • Shopping at Harrod’s and around Covent Garden, Notting Hill and Christmas shopping on Bond Street at night
  • Discovering Neal’s Yard, Paxton and Whitfield, Fortnum & Mason, and Floris (to this day Cefiro is the only perfume I wear)

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