London was a short, whirlwind of a tour. Jody and I were both exhausted after being in Africa for a little over two weeks, so we took it easy – especially since we both contracted variations of the “epidemic” that passed through the group at the end of our Africa trip (Cipro comes to the rescue!). We decided to do a red bus tour to figure out how London worked and ended up being disappointed by the lack of information provided. So, we set out on our own to ride the London Eye, glimpse Big Ben, attempt to see the changing of the guard, and a few other normal, toursity adventures. Since neither of us had been to London before, it was great to see a bit of the city. A rugby match during the play-offs would have been great, but we ran out of time.
We did, however, have time to finish our Africa trip in style by going to the musical production of the Lion King. I saw the Lion King once before in New York city with one of my best friends, Melanie, and though I still enjoyed the show, our seats were not that great. So, in London, we splurged and purchased floor seats (stalls, as they call them in London) to a matinee showing. We had our tickets and a few hours before the show, so we went to get lunch to avoid “hangriness”. I should explain that Jody is not very food adventurous. He can only take so much, and since he’d been adventurously eating in Africa, he was ready for something “normal”. He told me he had been craving Chipotle for the entire trip, and so, we went to Chipotle. Yes, London has Chipotle. I ate chips and a little rice and watched as Jody happily consumed his burrito. I watched because there was no way I was eating Chipotle – not because I don’t like it, but because we were in LONDON! So, after Chipotle, we stopped at a local pub where Jody watched me eat a lamb shank pie. We left the pub and headed to the show. The costumes, the singers, the musicians, the music: I really like this show! Maybe it’s because I grew up watching the Disney movie repeatedly with my little brother and knew all the words to all the songs from the original movie. Or, maybe it’s because the costumes have both beauty and mechanical genius and the music is really powerful and the show has humor. Really, it’s the whole package. Our seats were next to the isle in row L from the stage and when the characters walked down the isles, we could have touched them. If pictures had been allowed, I would have taken many. I would recommend this show to people who are not fond of Broadway productions. Here’s a link to what a snipit of what we saw.
After the show, we walked back to a square that we had found on our way to get lunch. Covent Square had a few restaurants with balconies, and we decided to have a pint and watch the street performers. After watching Master Yogi Laser walk on his hands with his legs over his arms and do crazy balancing acts on stilts in the air (in all my yoga-ness, I can do neither of these things), we decided to explore the large indoor/outdoor market area connected to the pub. Decorations and sheep adorned everything. It was a special occasion for Shaun the Sheep (and raising money for the children’s hospital) and though we didn’t know the full meaning, we decided to take a few photo ops. We also stopped to have crepes in a little shop in the market, meandered some more, and then went to a traditional pub for dinner. I guess Jody was feeling more adventurous after being “recentered” by the burritos of Chipotle. We ate our last meal at the White Swan, where I enjoyed another meat pie, and then went back to the hotel. I met Jody for breakfast in the morning, and then said goodbye to my friend as he left to catch his flight home to the States. I stayed in very expensive London an extra day to catch up, plan and rest, but decided to catch a train to Paris the next day. At least Paris would be a little cheaper than London…(a little).