So it has been almost a month since we left for our European vacation and I guess it is about time to share some of our pictures. First stop was London, we stayed with some good friends about a 45 minutes from downtown. The first night we stayed local and went to some local pubs for some nightlife. Sadly this is the only picture I got from that night....we had way too much fun!
Early the next morning we hopped on the commuter and navigated the tube to start seeing the sights.
And yes, J had a satchel (murse, aka man purse). Everyone over there carries a bag, you're not cool if you don't have one. It was nice to be able to stick the iPad mini, phone, and the tour book in while walking around.
Our first tour was of Westminster.
Then we did a walking tour past some significant buildings and monuments.
The walking tour ended at Trafalger Square. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at a Cafeteria style restaurant located in a crypt of a local cathedral and then headed into the British National Gallery.
It was our first stop of many were we were actually viewing original artwork by many of the greats. We strolled through Picasso, Monet, da Vinci, van Gogh, and Rembrandt (and so many more!) We weren't able to take any pictures inside, but it was free and parts were air conditioned making it a must stop for our summer trip.
After looking at all the artwork we headed to the Tower of London. We entered just in time to have tag along a tour given by a Beef Eater (He is also the caretaker of the Ravens at the Tower).
We enjoyed spectacular views and walking through the same buildings and courtyards that have been used for hundreds of years.
The changing of the guard at the Tower of London.
The Tower of London is notorious for not only being home of the royal family, but also as housing some that were destined to suffer in agonizing pain before meeting their maker.
Beef Eater's are currently former military soldiers that have retired after 20 years of service. Some live right at the Tower of London with their families, still "protecting" the Royal property (which is home to some of the Royal Jewels as well). They don't know exactly how they got their name, but they think it was given to them because outside of the royal family they received some of the best rations in the land, including the fatten beef.
After touring the Tower of London we headed out to find some supper before watching the Reduced Shakespeare Company . We thoroughly enjoyed the hilarious presentation...
Can three guys really cover thirty-seven Shakespeare plays in less than two hours? This fast-firing comedy does just that as it parodies all of the Shakespeare plays (plus the sonnets!) with only three performers in two acts. This play is full of energy as the characters run across the stage and keep you guessing how they will pull off the next play. Clever use of some interesting costumes also adds to the fun.
The play starts with an eccentric version of Romeo and Juliet, followed by a parody of Titus Andronicus (which is portrayed as a cooking show). Next is Othello, which is done as a rap song (the infamous “Othello Rap”). The members of the trio compete in a hilarious football game which summarizes the histories (King John, Richard II, Richard III, Henry IV etc), complete with commentary and details of each character's rise and fall from power.
As the characters are about to come to the end of the first act, they realize they forgot to perform Hamlet. One of the actors becomes nervous and runs out of the theatre with another actor chasing him. The final actor is left to entertain the audience by himself, which he does by telling jokes and calling for the intermission.
After the intermission, the missing two actors return and save their companion from reciting all of the sonnets. All three actors then perform their very abbreviated version of Hamlet (with a little help from the audience), thus “completing” the canon in only an hour and a half!
We found enough energy to ride the train back to our friends quaint English house they are renting, and fell quickly to sleep for another packed (and early) day 3.