After arriving at Heathrow we took the tube to the station nearest my SO's brother's apartment. We got a street map of the region from an employee at the tube station (who was probably just taking pity on us poor, lost-looking Americans) and then headed off on foot, suitcases in hand, to find the apartment. While on our way, what should we run across but this nice little building:
Many of you will likely recognize this: it's Westminster Abbey. We knew we'd be staying close to a lot of neat landmarks, but we had no idea we'd be lugging our luggage right by this one. It was quite a pleasant surprise.
We've had a few other, similarly pleasant, surprises. While heading out for some dim sum (meeting up with two old friends of my SO's from the US), we casually walked past a small, heavily-guarded gate on Whitehall Street that a car was pulling into; only after we'd passed it did we realize we'd just walked past the entrance to Downing Street. Also, while walking home after dark one evening we were directed by construction signs onto a large, open gravel area overlooked by a very stately building (of which this city has no lack). The next day we realized we'd been walking across the Horse Guards Parade.
It's been fun to walk around the streets and realize just how old everything is. It's somewhat daunting, especially for this Californian who is used to an "old" building being one built in the 1800's (or even the early 1900's).
One of the most unusual events I've gone to so far was a free organ recital in Westminster Abbey (they're held every Sunday evening). Ever since I took a course on early Middle Ages European history in college I've wanted to see old European cathedrals, and my first time inside one was complemented by thundering organ music.
[Note: For this, and other, posts made while I'm in London, the time-stamp on the posts will be off - add eight hours to the time to determine the local time when I posted.]