How cool would this be in your house?
Saturday I went up to London to participate in the Great Contiki Challenge of London, which was pretty much a massive scavenger hunt around the city sponsored by Contiki Tours. I was of course part of ‘Team America’ , along with a couple of other Americans who have found themselves living on this side of the pond. We didn’t win any big prizes but we had an amazing time scouring the city for the locations in our clues. Not only have I now seen a part of the Berlin Wall, but we visited one of London’s oldest pubs and I finally did the extremely touristy walk across Abbey Road.
I had no idea that a piece of the Berlin Wall existed in London, although I learned that there are actually two as a fellow competitor visited the wrong one. The coolest slab of East Germany’s infamous barrier is directly in front of the Imperial War Museum, and features the phrase ‘Change your life’. Although the Imperial Museum is closed until July 29th for renovation (my birthday!) you can still visit this little piece of German history anytime you please as it sits directly outside the front entrance.
Checking out Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street
Since I moved to England I have become a huge fan of the pub. Granted I was always a fan of a good bar, but the quintessential British pub tends to have much more character than you find back in the states. Our clue was to find one of the oldest pubs in London whose name contained an animal product. After a quick scour through the list of London’s oldest pubs we determined that the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street was the only possibility. The Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was built during the 1500’s and was re-built after the Great Fire of 1666.
This fine drinking establishment was frequented by many famous literary types such as Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alfred Tennyson and Charles Dickens.
For a nice pint with a side of seedy endeavours, visit the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese!
Charles Dickens supposedly used the pub as inspiration for some of his darker characters and even alluded to the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in A Tale of Two Cities. Inside the pub is a cavern of wonders, with room upon room to explore, all with the same gloomy feel from the lack of natural lighting. The beer on tap is the same as any you’d find in London, but the atmosphere makes this place a real gem.
Has anyone been to Abbey Road? It was awful! First of all, it was way smaller than I had imagined. There were tourists galore trying to recreate the famous walk across the zebra stripes, and angry drivers who I imagine have the most frustrating drive in London. Can you imagine being legally forced to stop for hundreds of ridiculous tourists as they crossed the street in slow motion? It was crazy. Still, I feel like it is one of those stereotypical things to do in London which I never got around to doing before, and now I have.
We celebrated our scavenger hunt failure at the Grand Union Bar in Brixton. I had never ventured this far South in London and I would definitely class it as the boonies. The London people weren’t bothered as they are used to travelling 40 minutes to any place in the city they want to visit. The Grand Union has an incredible beer garden, complete with tiki huts and plenty of outdoor bars. Contiki treated us to a couple of drinks and good food and we spent the evening in the warmth chatting with other travel-minded people.
Overall an amazing time taking in a gorgeous day in London. I look forward to future Contiki events such as this, and maybe Team America will have better luck next time.