London: A Week of Adventure

Buckingham Palace Gates, London, United Kingdom

Buckingham Palace Gates, London, United Kingdom

During our week-long stay in London (June 27 to July 2, 2011), we resided at the Crowne Plaza London-St. James hotel, which is conveniently located near the Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. The rooms were of reasonable size and fairly comfortable. We paid for two non-smoking standard rooms that included continental breakfast, costing about $500 U.S. per night. It was worth the price.

Also, we bought the Oyster Card so that we could travel limitlessly via the underground metro. The Oyster Card is used like a debit card; one puts a certain amount of money on it and then adds more as needed. This avoids buying multiple tickets each time the metro has to be used.

Attraction List:

  • Buckingham Palace (June 26-27)
  • Changing of the Guard at the Palace (June 27)
  • Westminster Abbey (June 27)
  • Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (June 27)
  • Piccadilly Circus (June 27)
  • Horse Guards (June 27)
  • Trafalgar Square (June 27)
  • National Portrait Gallery (June 27)
  • M&M Store, London (June 27)
  • Soho District – China Town (June 27)
  • Kensington Palace and the Orangery (high tea) (June 29)
  • Diana’s Memorial Playground Park (June 29)
  • River Thames (June 30)
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral (June 30)
  • Tower of London (June 30)
  • London Bridge (June 30)
  • British Museum (July 1)
  • Shakespeare’s Globe (July 1)

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Gibraltar, UK: One of the Legendary Pillars of Hercules

Visited June 22, 2011. Gibraltar is now a part of the United Kingdom.

Scenic oceanview of Gibraltar, UK from the Rock

Scenic oceanview of Gibraltar, UK from the Rock

Attraction Checklist:

  • Rock of Gibraltar
  • St. Michael’s Cave
Map of Gibraltar, UK. Courtesy of Mappery.

Map of Gibraltar, UK. Courtesy of Mappery.

Located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula of Spain is Gibraltar that is now held by the United Kingdom. In ancient times, Rock of Gibraltar was considered one of the Pillars of Hercules by the Greeks in the B.C. era. It was not disturbed until Tariq Ibn Zeyad conquered it and gave its name—Jebel Tariq (“Mount of Tariq”)—in 711. A military fortress that was built and held by the Moors from 1160 until it was conquered by Juan Alonso de Guzmán, 1st Duke of Medina Sidonia, in 1462. Throughout its history, Gibraltar was held by the Spanish, French, and eventually the British via the Treaty of Utrecht on July 13, 1713. Continue reading

A Day Trip to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Lacock, and Bath

Visited on June 28, 2011.

Bath, UK

Bath, UK

On our own accord, we took a single-day tour organized by Premium Tours to see the following sites: Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath with a traditional English lunch in Lacock Village. Our guide took us to the sites, briefed us on the history of the place, and gave us suggestions on the points of interests we should not miss. For the rest of the time, we were on our own.

The weather during our visit was quite cloudy, so the pictures were not as nice. We were lucky that there was only a light drizzle at Windsor Castle. Continue reading