One of the absolute COOLEST things about London is that the majority of the museums are completely free. You can see Cleopatra (one of them anyway), works by Monet, and the Rosetta Stone at no cost but your own transportation and food to power you through the miles you will walk. Sorry Paris, but I think you could learn a few things from London. That being said, St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey were both about 25 pounds, which of course meant we only enjoyed them from the outside.
A quick note on our host: If you are ever going to London and want to stay with one of the most helpful people you could imagine, look up Teresa in Lewisham on Air B&B. She provided us with wonderful travel advice and recommendations, and provided superb accommodations.
Our first day out we followed one of Teresa’s plans. The train took us to London Bridge station, and our feet took us along the south bank of the Thames. We passed the Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern Art Museum, and saw the London Eye from afar. After some walking we went on a mini-pilgrimage to one of the most important historical sites in epidemiology and medicine: The Broad Street Pump.
This was the epicenter of the 1854 cholera outbreak that eventually lead to the discovery that cholera was spread by water, and that sanitation was a really worthwhile thing. The person who put all the pieces together was a physician named John Snow, there is an interesting book about the whole thing called The Ghost Map, and there is a pub across the street by the same name.
After an amazing lunch loaded with fresh veg and legumes, we drank coffee at Starbucks and used their wifi to call one of our two friends in London, Dan. We met Dan in Cambodia two years ago while living in the jungle, and part of the reason we decided to come to London was to see him. We decided to meet in a cafe near Trafalgar square, in the basement of St. Martin’s in the Fields church.
Meeting him again was absolutely surreal, it was as if we had just hung out just last week. Dan then took us on his whistle-stop tour of the British Museum. He had been visiting the museum a lot over the last year (because they’re free!) and gave us a great tour.
After this we went out for some Chai and Indian food, back to the John Snow for a pint, visited the London Academy of Bar tending, and showed up at Picadilly Circus (my opinion concurs with that of Wayne’s World 2).