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Published: August 10th 2015
Ok crazy busy day today.
Started at Westminster Abbey today - ok so it really is spectacular inside and in a way it's good that you can't take photos because I hate to imagine people in there w cameras... it's hard enough to navigate the crowds without them. The audio guide was pretty good - not too long at each station. It was narrated by Jeremy Irons which just makes everything better too.
The church itself is probably the nicest I've been to in terms of statues, monuments and tombs... which I mean would make sense. The rest of the church was ok. It's also cool to stand there and know you're in the same spot all the monarchs have been... weddings, funerals, coronations, etc.
(Sidenote: I got there at 9:25. It opens at 9:30. The "express line" was already down the entire side of the church. I only had to wait 10min after opening so it wasn't horrible but just something to be aware of because when I left around 10:40 the express line up was easily 3x as long. I didn't see the regular line but I can imagine it was unfortunate.)
From there I headed off to London Bridge. I'm an idiot and bought lunch at tesco in the morning forgetting that I had planned to go to Borough Market. D'oh! I'll just have to come back a different day.
Anyway, I started at the Old Operating Theatre which is in the attic of a church. Good place for an operating theatre, no? It was pretty small. You had to climb a spiral staircase up. They had a neat little display with a bunch of old surgical tools which is always horrifyingly interesting to look at. The anesthetic masks were the most horrifying I think lol.
From there I went to the London Bridge Exhibit... I... don't even know what to say..??? It was so bad haha. I mean if you have the London Pass and you're with friends it's good for a joke... The "educational" bit wasn't all that educational and the scariest thing about the "scary" bit was the video introducing the Tombs (i.e. the "scary" bit). I don't regret going since I had the pass lol, but like... again... what? hahaha.
First off, they were thoroughly confused by the fact I was alone because this is apparently just not something you do alone. Which is fair - I'm sure it would be a lot more fun with someone. The educational bit was... odd theatre? There was too much waiting in the "museum" before being whisked between characters. There was a fun(ny) part when it was the Jack the Ripper tavern guy... of course in the group of people he chooses me as the one to "target" with the "am-I-the-Ripper" look of death... which of course I then just start laughing at... so he continues the death stare... and I just... I couldn't help myself.
He then ran off and screamed for help... which of course we did nothing about, so he came back for us like... uh guys... if I scream for help maybe you should come. We missed our cue 😉 The fire bit made me laugh too. Like OMG THE BRIDGE IS ON FIRE RUN. But don't really run because it's against the rules. But pretend like you're running! Uh-huh.
Like I said, the video introducing the Tombs (... basically a haunted house idea) was scarier than the Tombs itself. Well, scary maybe isn't the word, more like creepy. You're sitting in the tiny dark room for it... so it def plays up to the claustrophobia aspect. I will say I was glad they made us do a congo line (arms on shoulders) because I expected much scarier things... and I mean being alone in the dark is unpleasant... but honestly after like two rooms the hands were coming off anyway as we realized, meh.
(Ugh, and they had these "squishers" ... I don't even know what to call them. Basically two big mats you had to squish and push your way through which is really uncomfortable and borderline impossible if you have a bag with you.)
Next up: HMS Belfast. I thoroughly enjoyed this part of my day. It's funny, I'm in Southwark a lot (for Borough Market) and I've never really thought of going on the ship. I should have. It's a really great experience - well worth it even if you don't have the Pass. The Belfast was in action during WW2 and a few missions afterwards - it's fascinating to see just what goes into life on a ship. It's a total maze in there (but well organized for the visit).
They had the cheesy mannequins in a bunch of the rooms, but I didn't mind them here. It worked. The audio guide was pretty good as well - for the most part it didn't drone on and I love that it would give you interactions on how to find the next point so that you're not aimlessly wandering.
Two things stood out - the boiler/engine rooms because they were a complete and utter maze... and with all the machinery in there I can't even imagine how loud that would have been. Second, the hammocks! In one of the rooms they had hammocks set up like they were 'back in the day' - basically not even a foot apart and they were in the same room (just above) all the tables and stuff where people would be hanging out, and I can't even imagine how they slept but I guess you'd get used to it.
(Ok while I wrote that I thought of two more stand outs. One: all the "ladders" - super steep stairs so you'd have to face them - go back downwards idea. Two: all the asbestos??? haha. Hello all the warning signs!)
I set off for Tower Bridge after that. I love that bridge - I just think it's beautiful. Anyway, they have a walkway at the top connecting the two towers and they've installed glass floors which is excellent. What's not so excellent is the climb up lol. But still - the glass floors are so funny because so many people are terrified to stand on them, meanwhile the kids are like running and jumping all over haha. I love it. Same idea as up in the CN.
Last Pass stop was Tower of London - when I got to the gate the lady was trying to delicately tell me there was only an hour and then they close. I'm like I know, not a problem, I've been here before. I legitimately came back because I wanted to see the ravens and take pictures with the good camera... aaaaaaand the ravens weren't really there. They're doing a big upgrade of the raven habitat and there weren't any ravens hanging about where I saw them last time. Ugh, timing.
I went to my lovely sourdough pizza place for supper - the best pizza you will eat in London. I'm glad I got there early because there's always a wait if you go too far into supper time. I got my usual basil, ricotta and cured ham. Yum yum yum.
I headed towards Leicester - play had a late start tonight so I just kind of puttered around. I went to M&M world because I have a discount with the Pass. I couldn't resist some goodies for the plane ride home. I had the oddest conversation at the cash. The guy was verrrry chatty... which I didn't mind but not sure the people in line behind me were too keen lol.
And lastly was my play: The Mentalists! First off, I got a free upgrade. (That's 2/6 now. Yay me!) I had got the cheap seats - as I usually do - and got placed dead centre, first row of the first balcony. I could not have bought better seats as far as I'm concerned.
Secondly, it was hilarious! Stephen Merchant was brilliant, as I suspected he would be. (Twice he accidentally knocked his glasses off - he is such a loveable goof.) The script was great too - it's written by the same guy who did One Man Two Guvnors so it was full of great one liners. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Westminster Abbey = £20
Old Operating Theatre = £4
London Bridge Exhibit/Dungeon = £24
HMS Belfast = £15
Tower Bridge = £9
Tower of London = £22
Day Two Total: £94 (not sure the ToL counts... I did just pop in and out lol)
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