Cheerio and welcome to London. We had a cheap flight in from Dublin to London - the total for Karen and I was just about $100. However, the baggage limits and our large suitcases upped the total by $64, which we paid just to keep bags on the trip with us.
So here I am in one of London's classic red telephone booths. What you can't see in this picture are the fairly pornographic flyers for prostitutes and the like that are stuck all over the back wall of this and every other red booth in London.
Although the cost of anything in London is insane and the exchange rate is dismal these days, we at least wanted to make a stop in the bustling financial center. To illustrate the financial woes that come with a visit to this great international city, a basic sit-down meal at a Thai restaurant with no drinks cost us about $60, a 30 minute train ride from central London to the airport cost us $30 each, and a quick ride on the Tube (subway) is $4 or $5. It is what it is....but, we were glad we didn't find jobs in London!
We wandered around the city - visited the Victoria & Albert Museum, strolled through Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Circus (see picture below), the Theatre District, and many other places.
Of course we made a stop at Buckingham Palace (also below, the symmetrical building with the gold statue up high), but we missed the Changing of the Guards and the crowds that come with it (oh well!). There is a short video at the bottom of this post that shows the standard march of a Palace Guard.
Given the persistent rain and our lack of enthusiasm in wasting a bunch of travel money, we used our time in London to relax, catch up on sleep, and hang out. Our hostel was a little strange. It was clean enough, but there were a bunch of younger people there who were all in town for auditions for some play or other theatrical creation. They were singing, trying to out-dramatize each other, and shooting crappy 'horror' movies on a Handicam in the basement.
The first shot below is of Big Ben (clock tower) with Westminster Abbey to the left and the Houses of Parliament to the right. The other is a picture of Saint Paul's Cathedral in the distant center, with the traffic and bridges over the Thames River. When the time came to zip off to Amsterdam, we were ready. However, it must be said that London is a cool city.