09.01.2007 - 12.01.2007
This morning we spent most of the running around Russell Square checking out of our hostel and then trying to check into the Contiki Hotel. We were unable to check into the hotel directly and since check-in was at 1.00pm we stored our bags in the Contiki Office and then headed down to St. Pauls Cathederal.
St. Pauls is an amazing place and alot of money has been spent on the Cathederal to restore it to its former glory, although this makes it quite expensive to enter and we decided that we would not go inside as we would be seeing so many Cathederals during our travels through Europe.
We then headed down to the Tower of London which has had many uses throughout its history and still houses many employees (called Beefeaters) who operate tours through the complex exploring its deep history. The tour lasted just over an hour after which we went to see the Crown Jewels which were amazing. We were very lucky that there was not a big crowd so we were able to view the Jewels quite easily and linger over them which was quite an experience.
After the Tower of London and a quick bite to eat we headed down to Westminster Abbey. The Abbey was absolutely beautiful and a very humbling experience. We were able to walk through most of the Abbey and see some historical sites including where Queen Elizabeth I is buried and also Poet Corner which includes such literary icons as John Dryden, Tennyson, Robert Browning and John Masefield. Many writers, including William Camden, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Rudyard Kipling and Thomas Hardy are also buried here. The Abbey is also where every monarch since William the Conqueror, with the exception of Edward V and Edward VIII who were never crowned, has been crowned in the Abbey. It was an amazing experience.
After the Abbey we quickly rushed back to check into the Hotel and get ready for our Contiki Meeting. After the meeting we almost ran to the closest laundry to do some much needed washing as we were informed that laundry services would be in short supply. After spending an enormous amount of time, and half of our yearly savings (laundry in London is expensive!) we checked our emails and had some dinner before retiring to bed for an early start the next morning.