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Following the Beatles to Abbey Road + Other British Treats

Sunday, Sept 18, 2016 – Day 5 of London

<—Previously, we avoided imprisonment at the Tower of London

We only had one thing planned on Sunday, and that was the walking tour with London Walks called Magical Mystery Tour, which obviously represents the Beatles! Yep, it was Beatles time. But that wasn’t until 11am, so we were able to sleep in quite a bit, which was nice. We then headed a block or so from the hotel to a Cote Patisserie for breakfast, and it was wonderful. French, and we no longer cared about making it British. :-).

The Magical Mystery Tour London Walk

This is the route we would walk throughout central London during this tour

Another cool thing after going back to the room was realizing the meetup point was the Tottenham Court Road station, which was walking distance and one we’d been to many times. SoHo is a great place to be. We met there and immediately saw a few cute guys also in the group, and all was well. There was one who looked so much like Liam Hemsworth, but cuter. Hard to believe, but yes. There was also a hot guy that looked a bit like David Schwimmer, but way hotter. Anyway, so the tour! We immediately learned that we had been staying and walking amongst music history while being based in our SoHo hotel. We learned that as the tour first went back to SoHo Park as that’s where Paul McCartney’s music offices are. HOLY SHIT. Then around the corner from our hotel is Trident Studios, where a large part of the 60s and 70s music was recorded, including a big part of the White Album, David Bowie’s awesome stuff, Queen, Elton John, Carly Simon, Genesis….etc. Lots of awesomeness.

The tour then took us over to the Palladium where Beatlemania was born, Carnaby Street where the Swinging 60s epicenter was, Savile Row and where the previous Apple HQ was and also the site of the last Beatles performance on its Rooftop, as well as the alley area that has both the hottest club where Keith Moon asked to be in the Beatles along with the art gallery where John met Yoko. CRAZY.

Off to Abbey Road!!!!!!!

But the absolute best was yet to come, as we all then took the Jubilee line a few stops north to St John’s Wood, which is the closest Tube stop to Abbey Road!!!!!

Yep, we ended the tour at Abbey Road Studios, which of course is where most of the Beatles output was recorded as well as the location of the crosswalk best seen in the Abbey Road album cover.  So yeah, after the tour ended there, we all took pictures on the crosswalk.  Larry & I got a few good pictures solo, but I finally asked someone if they could take our picture together on the crosswalk and it turned out fantastically.   Yay!  We then went into the gift shop at Abbey Road and ended up buying most souvenirs there that we’d bought the entire trip.  It was a magical place and a great gift shop.

Tea Time!

Once ready to leave, we then returned back into London. Larry had noticed a restaurant that indicated it had afternoon tea on our walk to the Tube station, and that was one thing I’d wanted to do. So we had filed that away and so came back to it, having afternoon tea! The tea was very good, but there’s a lot to it that I’m not sure about. Finger sandwiches really weren’t to my liking and most of the cakes were not something I’d like. But happily, there was also chocolate cake and a glass of prosecco. I’m glad to have done it. May not need to do it again, although the tea was great.

Strolling to Buckingham Palace and into the Churchill War Rooms

It was a great break though. At this point, with it being our last full day in London, we only had a limited time left to do stuff. So we decided to do a swoop of Buckingham Palace, St James Palace and end it with the Imperial War Rooms. We tried to walk by the St James Palace and see the Palace Guard you can take pictures with, but the entire place was fenced off. FEH. We did stop by outside Buckingham Palace for pictures (no inside visits), then to the Queen’s Gift shop off to the side of the Palace to pick up Oliver!! We have a new Corgi puppy now. Ralphie will be pleased, I’m sure. After that, we walked through the park until we got to the War Rooms museum. It is amazing. I went there back in 2002 and remember it a little, but kind of get it confused with the Imperial War Museum, I think. So it was a lot of fun and it’s very informative of a museum. I really do want to get some WW2 books into my collection and read about it more – Churchill is such an amazing figure. There really were some ‘right people, right time, right place’ situations. It’s hard to believe.

Back through Trafalgar Square to get some Indian food at Kishoom

After that, as we were there until it closed, we walked back through town, through Trafalgar Square, and then Larry navigated us to Dishoom, a fantastic Indian restaurant in London. There was a line outside, and it’s worth it. We probably had to wait an hour or so, but again, so worth it. The first stop after getting out of the line outside was downstairs to the bar, where we did chat with a solo black woman from Bermuda. That wasn’t too long though as we then had our table back on the main level. The food was amazing, the wait staff were so helpful, there was a super hot waiter that wasn’t ours but biceps for days, and was a wonderful way to wipe out the memory of the disappointing Ippudo. Larry was happy!!!

Then it was time to walk back to the hotel through our wonderful SoHo neighborhood. We were done with bars and food at that point and it was time to go back and relax. Yay! Sleepy time and a nice and great end to a wonderful trip.

Honeymoon Picture Pages:

It was a Bond, James Bond Day

Friday, Sept 16, 2016 – Day 3 of London

<– Previously, we’d been bussed all around Southern England!

This was a fun day.  We were able to sleep in a little bit (not much), as we had tickets to the London Film Museum’s exhibit “Bond in Motion” – a collection of Bond cars and vehicles from throughout the movies.  Started at 10am, which was our window (although from having visited there now, I don’t think it was quite necessary to buy the tickets in advance; better safe than sorry).  So we got a quick breakfast in at the nearby Starbucks, then walked over to the museum.  Yeah, walked, as our hotel is so centrally located.  Walked through the West End, seeing the theaters for Aladdin and Harry Potter on the way there.  It was also raining slightly, which was about time as London is supposed to have some rain! It also was nice for it to be cool a little as it’s been pretty damn hot/warm here and in Paris!

Anyway, we got to the exhibit and it was absolutely amazing.  Everything was laid out in a great fashion and there were so many important cars to the series present, from the Aston Martins, the Rolls Royces, Jaguars, etc.  Quite amazing, and I took lots of pictures.  Larry bought lots of cool things too, including the guide book.  We also got a few shots with the life size Connery mannequin up front.  Just spectacular the whole thing.  Well worth coming to London for!!!! 

So….let’s try to break these pictures down in some kind of order…first, getting to the London Film Museum via the route shown above:

The Foyer of the Exhibit:

MI:6 Mock-up from The World Is Not Enough:

You Only Live Twice:

Heading down into the main exhibit…

Heading down into the main floor of the exhibit

The main floor of what was shown was simply spectacular.  Almost every vehicle you’d expect to see was there, seriously.

A View To A Kill:

Goldeneye / Goldfinger:

The Aston Martin DB5s shown here had a model version based off of the Goldfinger one, as well as a real car that was used in Goldeneye.

Die Another Day:

Octopussy:

The Living Daylights:

The World Is Not Enough:

Quantum of Solace:

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service:

Diamonds Are Forever:

The Spy Who Loved Me:

Spectre:

For Your Eyes Only:

The Man With the Golden Gun:

Casino Royale:

Various Odds & Ends:

Just saying – this was the best collection of James Bond cars you could ever hope to see.

The James Bond Walking Tour

But that wasn’t the end of our James Bond adventures today.  So after the London Film Museum exhibition, we came back to the hotel to drop off the new goodies we’d just bought, then headed back out to Charing Cross Station as at 2pm, we were joining up for a James Bond Walking Tour!!!  Holy crap, this is quite an amazing and somewhat grueling walk, as you walk a LOT.  Starting at Charing Cross, you get some insight into how the underground sections were used quite frequently, especially for the chase scenes in Skyfall. 

We then meandered through London to various locales that were used in Spectre and Skyfall before heading to the National Gallery Museum right near Trafalgar Square.  Got a lot of backstory on the filming there as well as the use of art, especially in Skyfall.  The use of the various paintings, combined with the accounts of Admiral Nelson in the battle of Trafalgar and how those were analogous to James Bond and M’s demise….holy shit, it was amazing.  Then when in the National Gallery (didn’t know we’d be going in there!), we saw not only where Q and James Bond meet for the first time in Skyfall, but also the painting that James Bond notices in Dr. No, which at the time in the 60s had just been stolen.   AWESome.

Heading to Charing Cross for our James Bond Walking Tour

In Charing Cross’ Tube Station & Outside Rules

Off to Trafalgar Square

And Inside the National Portrait Gallery

After leaving the museum, we walked through Trafalgar Square and over to the Admiralty Gate which faces Buckingham Palace.   These were the scenes of other M:I6 locations in the movies, which was a lot of fun.  The guide was just such a great source of knowledge and energy!   

We then walked over through the Whitehall street area which is a huge place for Skyfall, passing 10 Downing Street too.  After getting a great shot in the middle of the street that matches Bond’s chase of Silva down the street, we all then hopped on a red London Bus (which I’d been wanting to do!!! Score!) and rode the route down to a station right across the Thames from where the MI:6 building actually is and what you see in the movies.  That was where the tour ended, and it was just a blast to have gone on it.  Seriously.  Amazing!!!   

Through Trafalgar Square to the Admiralty Gate

Walking Around the Whitehall Area:

And then near 10 Downing Street, with some Action Shots:

The double-decker red bus took us down the Thames so we could get the across-the-river view of MI:6.  It was awesome.

MI6 along the Thames

The day wasn’t over yet!

We walked across the Vauxhall Bridge to the Tube station there, taking it back to the Westminster area as we had a Champagne Experience on the London Eye at 7.  But that wasn’t for a few hours, so we ended up finding a place called Slug & Lettuce to eat at, which was a bit of a more corporate looking place to eat.  It worked for us, although the food wasn’t anything special to write home about.  After that, we got checked in at the London Eye for the Champagne Experience, which was okay.  The time was good as the twilight was ending and the lights were coming on, and we got a glass of champagne and the host was very helpful with taking pictures of us.  It was a good time but we were definitely getting tired. 

Heading Back to the London Eye Area

The Champagne Experience on the London Eye at Sunset

We’d been on our feet most of the day, but that didn’t stop us from walking back to see what’s what.  We crossed the Golden Jubilee Bridge and then meandered through the West End and SoHo again, finding Chinatown this time as well as the gay bar area.  

Oh yeah, also found a gelato place that made the coolest rose formation of ice cream in a cone for you.  It was delightful, and Delicious.

Nighttime