London is thoroughly exhausting! It seems that we’ve spent more time on the Tube than we’ve spent off the Tube, but I’m left wondering why my body hurts so much. Based on my iPhone health meter, I’ve accumulated 68,618 steps, 94 flights of stairs, and 28 miles in the past four days in London. If you know anything about my personal physical activity level, then you know that this is quite an impressive accomplishment for me. And you likely understand why I’m so darn exhausted.
In addition to all the walking, we’ve learned more about the London Underground than we ever thought we would. Of the 11 lines on the Tube, we’ve navigated 8 of them successfully. This morning we rode the Tube to the busiest Underground station in the London network to get to the London Eye. The busiest station complex in Europe, Waterloo Station sees 100.3 million passengers per year and is the station with the most escalators. Thank you, London! I’m planning to avoid stairs for a while after I get home given that our hotel room is up six flights of stairs with no elevator. What!? I know, I know, it’s good for me. It’s giving me an excuse to eat almond croissants for breakfast, spaghetti bolognese for dinner, with an ice cream cone in between.
The London Eye gave us a fantastic view of Central London and I would recommend the experience to anyone. It takes only 30 minutes for the full rotation and is quite a relaxing ride with plenty of room to move around the capsule and take photographs. Syd had her GoPro wrapped around the railing inside the capsule and captured the whole ride via video.
Since we were in the general vicinity of many of the Central London points of interest, we made our way along the River Thames to visit The Shard, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and London Bridge.
The Tower of London, Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. We had a picnic lunch on the plaza steps facing the castle. It was quite a view!
An iconic symbol of London, Tower Bridge crosses the River Thames and was built over 120 years ago.
It took us a little while to find the famous London Bridge because we were looking for something spectacular to catch our eye. In our search for London Bridge, we found the ornate Southwark Cathedral. There was a wedding getting underway and we witnessed a few wedding photos. Isn’t it gorgeous?
Certain that we were in the general ballpark of London Bridge, we took a little break to rest our tired feet. Unbeknownst to us, we had been sitting under it for 20 minutes. It’s really nothing special, but we walked across it just to say that we did. In the photo below, we’re standing in the middle of London Bridge and you can see Tower Bridge in the distant background, which is much more impressive.
We made a few more stops before we psyched ourselves up for the 6 flights of stairs back to our hotel room. Borough Market is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London. This would have been a great place to grab lunch if we hadn’t already had ours in our packs. Old Spitalfields Market was recommended to us by our Jack the Ripper tour guide and is a covered market filled with local artists. I found a beautiful handmade gift here for my other daughter.
It was a long, tiring day that deserved another bowl of pasta. With a lot of unpredictable food on our vacation, Mamma Mia Ristorante Italiano has become an Italian sanctuary for us here in London. Similar to the experience I had with my older daughter, Julia, on our trip to Spain, traditional Italian restaurants seem to be a port in the storm of poor Yelp reviews. During our latest visit to Mamma Mia tonight, Syd received a cloth napkin folding tutorial from our Italian server after attempting to replicate the adjacent table’s setting for over 40 minutes. It was a welcomed gesture and a friendly end to a busy day.
Off to bed now…tomorrow is our last day in London and we need to make it count!