£ 18 to enter St. Paul’s cathedral
£18 to enter Westminster Abbey
Basically to see or do anything in London you had better have money and money to burn. To give you an idea right now 18 GBP is $26.98 USD. Yep, that’s right, just to enter two churches would cost me over $50. With hundreds of people going to many more sites than just two churches it’s no wonder the government and people are very friendly when tourists come. This is one way they boost their GDP. Now this is really an unfair evaluation, coming from someone who is just a teeny tiny little bit annoyed that everywhere I want to go costs money, and fairly said the people here, average people not worried about the GDP, have been absolutely fantastic. I cannot tell you how many people I have stopped to ask for help or directions and they stop their busy lives to make sure that I get where I need to go or stop to take a picture of me when I needed one. An adorable older couple walked me over the bridge, away from the train station they need to be at, to make sure they point in the right direction of tower bridge. Everyone has been so nice. If there is one thing that I can say about London – the people are kind and helpful (though I am still a bit bitter about the price of everything here).
Onto other news I finally feel like I am in London. Seeing Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s, and other major sites does help one to finally accept the truth that, indeed, you are actually there. Tower Bridge (more on that below) stunned me. The detail and the lights reflecting on the Thames were wondrous. Hearing Big Ben chiming in the background made it all seem real, a fantasy brought to life. I am very grateful I am here and I am doing this.
Food for thought on being an American Tourist in England.
The London Bridge, as we Americans think of it, is not in fact the London Bridge. The London Bridge is quite simply just a bridge; it is Tower Bridge that is in all the photos. Walking over an hour in the wrong direction to go to the “London Bridge” will teach you that. Everyone did send me in the right direction when I asked to go to the London Bridge. I now know why they asked me, “What’s at London Bridge?” I would reply “I just want to see it at night.” Oh dear. Oh well, now I know.
One of my favorite things so far has been the London Museum which is one of the only free things in London and gives amazing free tours. Of that I will always remember a quote from one of the tour guides. In referencing when Rome came into Britain and how the Britain recognized their power and tried to make allies he said “It’s like the American’s coming in with all their tanks and arms and knocking on the door.” -this is coming from someone who lives in the most imperialist driven nation in world history. I can’t help it, I know America, or the US, has a bad rep and all but honestly- coming from a Brit- the idea is laughable to me and I almost spoke up and said something but it would have been rude to interrupt the tour.
More food for thought because well all like more food… There must be a million posts on Pinterest on ‘How to pack for Europe’ or ‘How to dress like a European’ let me make one thing clear. You are American. The moment you open your mouth that is obvious. Furthermore, if you are at the tourist sites no matter how you are dressed, you are a target for pick-pocketing as only tourists go there. So who the heck cares if you look like an American? Don’t go buy anything new because you want to ‘fit in’ simply dress comfortably. This is especially true in England because, honestly, the style here does not constitute style at all. I have never seen so many people I would nominate for what not to wear. Their style is not one I would try to emulate if one wants to look classy. I am not trying to mean or rude here. Honest. It is simply a different culture and they think they look hot so they do. But even watching their version of “what not to wear” on TV, I would never have dressed them in that ‘Transformation outfit.’ My only thought was, “Ahhh!!! Put them back on!” Too tight, boots that cut off their leg length, every age woman in tight thin black leggings, fake fur, tassels, biker leather jackets (that look like a biker had actually worn them), this is my impression of British fashion. At least for the women. The men on the other hand all look like they stepped right off the cover of GQ (and yep they are amazingly good looking- A real blow for my push to shove men out of my thoughts and life) Fitted pants, vests, pinstripes, even blue shoe laces on the perfect tan shoes just to give them a ‘pop’, and the boys are groomed to match -some overly for my taste and my hormones send thanks for the break, and my head also gets a break swiveling to catch a second glimpse. I will say they take it to extremes sometimes as well- I even saw a guy with curled toes on his shoes and all I thought was – court jester. Either way my point is love yourself how you are and don’t over pack or change your wardrobe (unless you need a wardrobe change anyway because some of the above mentioned clothing articles are sitting in your closet right now) and you will be fine. I cannot tell you how many people have assumed that I am from here, my favorite was when a clearly British (accent) woman asked me which underground line to take. That was joke. When I explained that it didn’t matter as both tracks were going the same way as it was the end of the line i.e.: there was no track going the opposite direction, she had to ask another person to make sure -because – well what does the American know. 😉
Adventures everyday guys… and it’s only day four. Can’t wait to see what church brings for me tomorrow.
Love you all!