Big Buildings and a Super Stadium

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March 15th 2015
Published: March 15th 2015
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I've been to London so many times, it's always a treat to try and find something I haven't seen or done. Since it's always changing, it isn't too difficult to accomplish.

Today was a day for staying close to home. I took the opportunity to pay close visits to the 2 tallest new additions to the cityscape: the Gherkin (aka 30 St Mary Axe) and the Shard, the tallest building in the EU. Frankly, I just wanted to see them up close, and when I did, I moved on. I got to cross over London Bridge twice, and I got to see things in the distance that I had already seen up close - Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, St. Paul's, the Thames.

I finally got around to seeing Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station, popularized by Harry Potter, which I had just never prioritized on my previous London trips. And it was far too touristy - there was a line of at least 30 people, waiting for some lady to allow them to hold on to the carriage already halfway through the wall. She had some Hogwarts scarves to spruce up their appearance. But really, waiting in line for that?! No thanks. I got photos of the site, minus the people, and moved on.

The highlight of the day was Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal football club. It's a mecca of sorts, for some people. They had a museum that was included with the price of the tour, so I did that. Some good context there. The stadium tour itself was self-guided audio, and once they allowed us into the stadium, it was fantastic. We got to see the boardrooms and dining rooms, as well as the locker rooms and press rooms. The 2 best parts were the owner's box - they let us sit in the nice seats and take pictures of the stadium - and the players' tunnel onto the field. Yep, we could sit in the same seats as the players! I acquired a little Gunner swag before heading back home. My feet were killing me.

Now we're watching "Downton Abbey" and chilling on a Sunday evening. We bought tickets to see "Billy Elliot" tomorrow night (front row!), and I bought train tickets to see St. Albans tomorrow morning. I don't know if I'll get a chance to see other new sites in London, since the rest of my time here will be out of the city itself. We shall see...

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