Tuesday, October 22, 2013

London: Day 2

So...the choosing of our trip locale was inspired by the fact that the Steelers were playing there right? So it would just make sense that we would attend the huge pre-game festivities right? It would. And we tried. Desperately. And failed. Miserably. Did you know that there are 4 Regent Streets in London? Did you know that the news sources that we went to for the exact location was wrong? Twice? Yeah. Google failed us on this one. Unfortunately for the soles of our feet, we decided to walk between all of the Regent Streets in our quests, and these streets were R E A L L Y far apart. Fortunately though, we worked off the libations we had enjoyed the day before with the 10+ miles we trekked in and around London. It was quite a fete. We made it to the final Regent Street about 15 minutes after the conclusion of the pep rally, not expecting that it would actually be the right location (or we would have gotten there with a little less pub stopping and sight seeing along the way). Despite this, it worked out to be an awesome walking tour of London, and helped assuage the frustration of failing to find the rally.

Another abbey and the infamous telephone booths

I would want this as my London apartment

Obligatory Beatles homage

Lunch please

Street festival

We enjoyed walking around the expansive and beautiful Regent's Park; it's perfect for a nice and relaxing stroll in nature when you are right smack in the middle of a Metropolis. Think Central Park in NYC...the equivalent. It is a really close walk to Kensington Palace (also not that impressive for a royal palace, but much prettier than Buckingham Palace), which I would recommend that you opt to see if you had to chose between the two palaces. You can actually pay to tour parts of this one. The outer grounds and Kensington Gardens are free and beautiful. They call it "Gardens" but it is also quite a large and beautiful park.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens, Albert Memorial, and Royal Albert Hall

Corner statue of the Albert Memorial

I really liked the gate surrounding the Albert Memorial

The Albert Memorial

Royal Albert Hall, Adam's Bob Dylan homage

Click here for more info about the homage

So in love with my life: My blessed and amazing life

Enjoying the reprieve of resting on the steps

After we definitely missed the pep rally, we had official permission from ourselves to stop trying to find the place. The end of the day turned into a nice slow return home, pub hopping along the way. A perfect end to an actual good day. While it was a bit frustrating that we could not find the pep rally (that we had only found out about the night before and decided to attend), it really led us to an awesome perspective of the city, and fully embraces our objective of being fluid with our plans. We learned this from our first trip.
We have learned something from each of our big trips (this being #3):

  • Lesson from Trip #1: Don't be so rigid and regimented with your plans. We went into this trip with airlines, trains, accomodations, and daily itineraries planned. We had objectives for what we "must see" in each city, and it left us exhausted. We pledged to be less planned with the next trip. Next time, just book the airfare in and out, let the rest happens as you want it to (having some general objectives, like what cities you want to accomplish in the given timeframe).
  • Lesson from Trip #2: Ok, plan a little bit more than just the airfare and the first and last night's accomodations. We lost A LOT of time and spent a lot of extra money buying train tickets and booking hotels last minute. We did not recognize how much of a money difference there was in pre-booking things, we were not fortunate enough to encounter those "last minute deals" that everyone brags about.
  • Lesson from Trip #3: You need a lot more than 8 days to enjoy the lower half of Ireland. And you really need to explore the Scottish Highlands (which we did not know we wanted to do, we did not do, and will be returning to do). The best parts of the trips were far away from the main cities. Actually, every time we stayed in a city, we were ready to go after a day or so, but there was never enough time when we were staying out of the city. Avoid the cities, even if it is your first time to a country. I will definitely talk more about this in the Ireland part of the trip.