London, Day 6: Last night in town, in the p.m.

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I was back from Highclere Castle at 4:00 p.m. The weather in London looked a bit clearer, so I considered what was left on my to-do list. I hadn’t yet even glimpsed Big Ben, which is probably some sort of sacrilege while you’re visiting London, so I headed in that direction.

(Side note: just last week I saw that they’re going to rename Big Ben the “Elizabeth Tower” in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee. Raise your hand if you think that new name will stick …

{{crickets}}

Yeah, that’s what I thought.) 

Big Ben is also near Westminster Abbey and the Cabinet War Rooms. I’ve visited Westminster Abbey every time I’ve come to London, and it’s one of my favorites. But with the day waning, I had to choose between those two sites. I hadn’t seen Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms since the first time I was in England when I was nine, and I’ve learned and come to admire a lot more about Winston Churchill and England’s role in WWII since then. So the War Rooms was actually an attraction I didn’t want to miss. I quickly grabbed a photo of Big Ben on the way out of the Tube and ran up to the War Rooms entrance around 4:30 p.m. I had until 6:00 p.m. to speed through the exhibits. A guided audio tour is included, one of those “push this number to hear more” deals. I tried to go quickly, but also to listen to as much as possible and do it justice.

  

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London, Day 3: Another year older, in the p.m.

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I emerged from Hyde Park near Knightsbridge, on my way to Harrod’s. I don’t actually care much for Harrod’s itself, but some souvenir (and food) shopping was in order. I later learned that the al Fayed family sold the store to the Quatari royal family, which may explain the disproportionate amount of Arab visitors. I wandered through the food stalls, past exquisite pastries and tins of biscuits and jam. It’s very touristy, and was very crowded. On my way out, I caught the shoes that were part of a contest Kate Middleton judged earlier this year (or last?). Neat.


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