The Lexingtonienne

July23rd

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Tomorrow (Saturday) morning we’re off to Rome, but here’s a last glance at some of the London sights.

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On Tuesday I visited the National Gallery (pictured above), where there are approximately one trillion amazing paintings. I saw a Caravaggio (always exciting), some very famous Holbeins (pretty awesome), some 15th Century Flemish stuff — which I always geek out over — and some lovely Renoirs, Seurats, and even a da Vinci. Can you tell I was a big art history nerd in college? :) This is the view of Trafalgar Square from the steps of the National Gallery.

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Yesterday I hopped on one of those open-top buses for a two-hour tour of the city, and while it’s obviously not very in-detail, it does give you a quick overview of your surroundings.

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Here’s Westminster Abbey…

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… and the Tower of London.

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Look kids, Big Ben and Parliament!

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This is Fleet Street.

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This is the Barber Shop on Fleet Street… but I’d get a shave somewhere else if I were you.

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These are the fingernails of the woman sitting in front of me on the bus tour. Although she and her manicure were not officially part of the tour, I still felt compelled to get a photo of what I felt was a significant sight. I’m guessing she doesn’t do dishes.

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Here’s the London Eye…

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… and the distinctly Tudor-style St. James Palace, which was built by Mr. Tudor himself, King Henry VIII.

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I’ll tell you one thing England has got down pat… the picturesque. I found these guys swimming in the pond near Kensington Palace. I mean really:

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And while the Enchanted Palace exhibition at Kensington Palace wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, the garden sure was nice.

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We saw Les Miserables last night, which was fine but I prefer shows with pretty costumes. The Les Mis costumes are all dirt and rags, which I realize is the point, but I still like pretty costumes. Playing the part of Marius was none other than NICK. JONAS. This excited a great many 13-year-old girls in the audience. I, however, am more of a Justin Bieber gal. Mike and I grabbed a bite to eat in Chinatown before the show.

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Afterwards we walked down to Buckingham Palace. We passed through these arches…

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… and walked a very long way until we got to a circle with a big fountain. Apparently we were right there in front of the place but were like,

– “Where is it?”
– “I don’t know.”
– “Well do you see a PALACE anywhere?”
– “No, but it seems like it should be right here. There’s a big building there.”
– Random friendly Londoner: “Are you lost?”
– Me: “What? No.” (trying to look as though I make a habit of strolling foreign cities in the dark)
– “Oh, we’re standing right in front of it.”

As Mike noted, it just looks like a building. But it’s a palace. Shouldn’t there be sparkles in the air around it? I’m pretty sure palaces are surrounded by sparkly air. Anyway, here it is, surrounded by regular air:

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You can tell that Big Momma herself was IN, because her flag was flying atop the palace. On a side note, I am now considering flying a flag over my house when I am home.

And finally, I’m going to miss the Tube, which I was so proud to have figured out, even though it’s really hot (it’s not air conditioned) and smells of cumin and B.O. I had the interesting experience of riding it at rush hour the other day, and I thought to myself, “At least when you’re on the 405 in LA, you have air conditioning, your own music, and your face isn’t stuck in some stranger’s armpit.” Then again, I realized, when you’re on the 405 at rush hour, you’re there FOR. EVER. You may be stuffed in like a sardine on the Tube, but the journey takes the same amount of time. WINNER: The Tube.

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See you in Italy!
Hannah

P.S. The results of the Weird British Candy Bar Contest will be posted soon…

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