Texan London Tour – Part One

OK, so I’ve been planning on publishing this post for months now, as a report on when I took my friends who visited from America and played tour guide around London!  I really wanted it to be a bit more interesting than just a list of places – but as it’s so very late, I’ll stick with what I’ve done so far:

Part of my MBA course this semester was to collaborate on a project with a group from another business school.  Our group were the lucky ones to collaborate with Texas Tech University (TTU) – Rawls College of Business.  The UK team went over to Lubbock, TX at the end of January (with NO time to recover from our exams!) and spend a great 4 days getting to know the group and making a start on the project tasks.  During the last week in May, the TTU team made a return visit to UH to complete the project, and present our findings to our client.  Out of all the teams that went abroad for our projects, ours was the only one to get a return visit from our counterparts!

We were extremely lucky to work with such a friendly group of people (both students and lecturers), and I think it’s safe to say that we’ll all be friends for life!

For the first three days (prior to the “official” visit to the UH), I spent the weekend with Tas and Katy from the US team in London – with my tour guide hat on, a tube map, and Google maps on standby (& some comfortable shoes!).  I’m not exaggerating by saying that we walked miles and MILES in such a sort time!  To help out my US buddies – here’s a guide to where we actually went day by day – with maps and photos!

As there is a lot to tell – I’ll be breaking this down into a few parts: Part One (you’re looking at it) – Part Two [Link Coming SOON!]

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All the things we saw and did in just 3 days! Blue pins for Day One, Red pins for Day Two, and Green pins for Day Three!

The full Google map can be found here: http://goo.gl/maps/HmF2p

Our journey begins at the Smart Hyde Park View hostel, just north of Hyde Park, which was our base of operations for the long weekend [Red circular marker on the map].  I met up with Tas and Katy at the hostel – who had flown in only a couple of hours earlier – and once our bags etc were safely stored away we started off with a walk through Hyde Park from north to south.  We exited the park adjacent to the Albert Memorial, and the Royal Albert Hall; the start of many photo-opportunities with landmark buildings and spaces!

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Me! Outside the Royal Albert Hall.

We continued on down towards the Natural History Museum, which is an impressive building but we didn’t go in.  We went over the road to the Victoria & Albert Museum (the V&A) where we stopped for a spot of Afternoon Tea with scones, jam, clotted cream and a “lovely” cup of tea! #OhSoBritish

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Me again, Across the river from the London Eye, Westminster.
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Me, Tas & Katy. Parliament Square, Westminster.

After refreshments we hopped on the Tube over to Westminster for photo-ops across the river from the London Eye, out in front of the Houses of Parliament and “Big Ben”.  Negotiating our way through the hoards of Dortmund football supporters… it turned out to be the day of the final and the supporters were ALL out in force!.. and the group of protesters on the grass in Parliament Square.  A few more photos were taken before walking up Birdcage Walk along side St James’ Park towards Buckingham Palace.  We were treated to an unusual sight along the way – a convention of Vespa’s (and/or other scooters), hundreds of them!  A great sight, but boy did it reduce the air quality along that road for a while!  More photos were taken at Buckingham Palace and around the fountain, before starting to slowly walk up The Mall.  We had missed the main “changing of the guard” ceremony, but we did manage to catch a small version of the handover proceedings at another checkpoint.  We walked the rest of the way up The Mall and ended up in Trafalgar Square to see Nelson’s Column and the Lions – and many Many MANY football fans, THOUSANDS OF THEM!  Once the fans started getting a bit rowdy we all made a swift exit and headed for Leicester Square.

All three of us together.
All three of us together at the fountain outside Buckingham Palace.
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“Changing the Guard” along The Mall.
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Trafalgar Square & the Many Football Fans.

From Leicester Square (for those who don’t know – it’s pronounced “Lester”!) we took in the surroundings, the cinemas, theatres, restaurants, and pubs.  We popped into a local pub for a pint and enjoyed a much needed sit-down.  Our next walkaround took us through Leicester Square, down Regent Street, through Carnaby Street and on to Oxford Street.  Along the way I just had to show the girls some of the more “quirky” stores that you can find here in London.  There’s the M&M Store; I just *had* to take them into Hamleys toy store – where we found our way to the Harry Potter merchandise!  Then there was Lush (for soaps/cosmetics/etc.) and the Irregular Choice shoe store (I want ALL those shoes, but could probably not walk in any of them – I live in trainers!), and I stumbled across the “Choccywoccydoodah” cake shop… because they just have to be seen to be believed.

Browsing in Lush for goodies (it smells so good in there!)
Browsing in Lush for goodies (it smells so good in there!)
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A view along Carnaby Street.
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Irregular Choice shoes in Carnaby Street – (I managed to make a face – always looking sharp!)

By the time we had walked those few miles, my jet-lagged companions were deserving of a good evening meal – and then bedtime!

Day two – Coming Soon!

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