Saturday, June 30, 2007
I was a little confused because people kept referring to it as "Suth-ick" Cathedral. Them English person sure do talk funny...
Now, at Westminster Abbey, all visitors were asked not to take pictures. Here, we were actually encouraged to do so.
Pretty amazing ceiling, don't you think?
This is the stained glass at the rear of the building and the lovely gold sculpture is actually the top of their font. The font itself is very small, black and rather plain. Interesting that they decorated the top in such a way.
This is the Harvard Chapel. A man by the name of Harvard also started some sort of American school, I believe. His family paid for this chapel, too.
The main altar piece. I had more photos of it, up closer, but I'm really putting a lot of pictures up and this page is taking time to load. I promise to put all of this up on my Snapfish account so you can see things I'm leaving out. There's also an awesome picture of floor tiles. "Tiles??" I know, but trust me, they were very cool.
Still plenty more to see...please keep the line moving.
Friday, June 29, 2007
The people who work in the city will head to a local pub, grab a pint, then stand in the street with their friends and chat until the lines for the Tube go down. Then they return the glasses and head home. It's a fun kind of feeling, like there's a long party going on. This picture was taken on the street outside The George.
After Westminster Abbey, we went back to the hotel to rest and unload the pictures on our camera. Then Roz met us in the lobby and off we went on an adventure!
We took the Tube to Trafalgar Square (my toe started to cry at the mere mention of the place). I got better pictures this time.
This lion was one of four that surrounded a tall pillar.
Then the Square has beautiful fountains and a courtyard, with the British Gallery in the background.
There is my handsome Man with the lovely Roz. I would have taken more picture but there was some sort of concert/protest forming so we didn't linger. One thing I will say: there were hardly any pigeons! Trafalgar Square used to be famous for the pigeons and the birdseed sellers ("tuppence a bag!") but the new London mayor decided it wasn't so much fun to have this place over-run with the winged vermin so he drove them out. Hardly any now. Not such a bad thing!
This is another site in Trafalgar Square. Pretty cool, huh?
From here, we crossed A Bridge.
This is A Bridge because I seem to have forgotten the name...perhaps Roz will read this post and be so kind as to remind me of it's name...
And then of course, I had to take a picture of the River Thames.
Roz had a full schedule of things for us to see and she set a fast pace. I have short legs. And I'm chubby. So it was a little difficult to keep up. She took pity on me and slowed down. But dinner was waiting...
TO BE CONTINUED...
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Entry was 10 pounds each, along with another 4 pounds for the audio tour, which I highly recommend if you've never been there before. There are also vicar-guided tours but it would have been a wait for the next one so we opted for the audio instead. It looks like a long telephone receiver that go flat instead of having a mouth piece. In the very first area, the North Transept, I was already tearing up. There was a tomb for a husband and wife that had an amazing sculpture. On it the man held his dying wife while trying to fend off Death as it rose from the base. Very touching. Good thing I also had allergies so I could blame them for my sudden need of a tissue.
Side View of North Entrance.
I do not have pictures of the interior because this is a church and as such, it's not polite nor proper to take pictures inside. Still, people were sneaking their cameras out at every opportunity and the vicars had to ask them to stop. So if you visit the Abbey, please don't take pictures.
There are several very famous people buried here with the kings and queens but perhaps my favorite is the tomb of the Unknown Warrior. It's a tribute to an unidentified soldier killed in the Great War of 1914-1918. To read the words written on the black marble, go to this site, click on Abbey Tour, then on the upright rectangle in the lower end of the Nave. When Queen Elizabeth's mother was married at Westminster, she laid her bridal bouquet here. So when she died, the Queen laid her mother's funeral wreath on the tomb, as well. I thought that was a sweet thing to do.
In fact, go to the Westminster Abbey website and take a virtual tour. It's really quite amazing. And you'll get to see a picture of the tomb I talked about earlier, with the allergy-inspiring sculpture.
Detail of Front Door.
On a lighter note, this was parked outside the Abbey...
They're called Smart Cars. We saw them all over the place. Just looking at them makes me giggle! Would you believe that it even had a BACK seat? No leg room, but there was a seat there!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
That evening, we decided that we had spent far too much time walking up and down the street of Little Lebanon. We decided to throw caution to the wind and head a different direction. Daring, I know, but we're like that when we've had too much European Coke. Oh, and London Survival Tip #4: Soda in Europe is weird and highly caffeinated. It also comes in smaller sizes and waiters will look at you funny if you ask for a refill.
So we turn right instead of heading straight and this is what we see:
THIS is what I imagined London would look like! THIS is what I saw on all those TV shows and movies! THIS is what we were missing when we went the other way! Just goes to show you...sometimes another direction is all you need.
Also, we had struggled to find a quaint English pub that resembled more a restaurant than a bar. Within 3 blocks, we found 5! And another restaurant - a real one, no bar - that we decided to eat at that night. I had a tasty Shepard's Pie (basically chili with mashed potatoes and cheese on top) while the Man enjoyed some English ribs (he said they were a little dry). We were so thrilled, we even ordered dessert. My normal-sized piece of chocolate cake was served in a bowl that was roughly half the size of the table. Good use of space, people.
On our way back, we passed a nice little market with a large display of fresh breads. This market would be invaluable, as it also was the first place we found to have Dr. Pepper; which, if you known the Man, is what flows through his veins. (Try diagramming that last sentence!)
We tried getting to bed at a decent hour. That shouldn't be so hard as there is virtually nothing on television. London Survival Tip #5: Don't worry about wasting time watching TV. There are only about 10 channels, half of which are in another language (and playing some sort of phone-in trivia game that we did not understand).
Get ready for the next post! Lots of pictures!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
- We get lost.
- Boys decide to wander around aimlessly instead.
- It starts to rain.
- My shoe breaks. (My favorite shoes, brought on this trip because they are my most comfortable but are now pinching the crud out of my little pinkie toe.)
- Boys gets irritated that I interrupt their aimless wandering to look at souvenirs.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Our first destination was the London Eye. This is partly because the night before, while dining at Nippon Tuk, we had such an excellent view of the skyline and this really dominated. Having finally obtained our Oyster cards, we headed for our first ride on the Tube. Having never ridden on an underground train before, I was a little nervous but the Man and Super Dave had been studying the maps while looking to everyone else like they were busy working on important convention stuff. This closest stop was the Edgware station on the Bakerloo line. It's the brown line on all the maps. It's very small and instead of riding down a steep escalator, like at most of the stations, this one packs everyone into a large elevator. There are stairs but a sign posted on them reads "This staircase contains 127 stairs. Please use only in an emergency."
We emerge triumphantly from the Underground at the Waterloo station. We see the Eye almost immediately. I mean, really, how could you miss it?
It's the largest Ferris wheel in the world. And yes, that is the Silver Surfer flying through the center. It big and impressive, kinda cool. And very expensive. We didn't want to *ride* the thing, just gawk at it. And we were looking for a place to eat. Now, one of our little group was not educated in all things London. I won't tell you his name (but his initials are Super Dave). When we approached a potential location for food consumption, he was appalled to discover that it was, in reality, a bar. It's a pub. Pubs are restaurants. Yes, they serve copious amounts of booze but they've got real food, too. So begins the walking. While walking, we see something familiar across the river...
Houses of Parliament (the castle-looking part, like our Congress) and Big Ben. Big Ben is not the name of the clock or the tower. It's the name of the bell inside, which we got to hear toll on a few occasions.
Pretty, isn't it? Oh, I got a lot more photos as we weren't finding any place acceptable to eat (I said no to McDonald's).
Thought we might have more luck going down a particular street but we hadn't taken but a few steps when suddenly, coppers were asking us to please leave the area (and more coppers were arriving with sirens blaring). So we left. Really left. We got on the Westminster Tube and headed somewhere completely different: Piccadilly Circus. And boy, is it a circus! My pictures of this place didn't come out at all. So just imagine Time Square-like flashing digital billboards mixed with statues and fountains that are probably 100 years old. Interesting place! And very busy, as it has quite the nightlife. We strolled for a little while until Super Dave spotted his greatest love: a steak house. We made a beeline for the place.
It was called Aberdeen Steak House (and is apparently a chain, as we saw many of them). The boys had Coke and I ordered a lemonade. Okay, here's another London Survival Tip: lemonade in England is really Sprite with a lemon wedge stuck in it. *sigh* This place offered all different kinds of sauces to drip all over your steak, but the boys were having none of that. And after one bite, they realized why sauce was needed. The steak was not seasoned, marinated or in any other way altered from it's natural form (other than the cooking part). My chicken Kiev was a disappointment, as well. If only we'd known. We didn't bother to order dessert and instead, we trudged back to the hotel, where happiness awaited us in an ice cream form.
They obviously get a lot of people who don't speak the same language so they tried to make things easy when indicating the flavors. Notice the whole coconut smooshed in the - get this - coconut ice cream. Clever, eh? Their mint chocolate chip was excellent but my favorite was the hazelnut (which is being scooped).
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Our quaint little town has an annual festival called Strawberry Days. There are all sorts of activities, like children's parades, fishing, craft boutique, big parade, rodeo, and of course, the carnival. Mom and I went toured the craft fair yesterday. It was a very good thing that I took a limited amount of cash and that none of those booths took American Express! This afternoon, we took the kids to see it and maybe ride a few of the attractions.
First choice was the Carousel. This was something that da Boo talked about all year long.
Doesn't she look like she's having fun?
And the Boy was pretty excited about riding a horse, too.
This is what happens when the Man attempts to take my picture...
The train was next.
The Boy was very excited about this one! Da Boo liked the fact that she got to ride in the engine and pull the handle that rung the bell. We have no good pictures of her because another little boy sat on the other side of her and was also very excited about ringing the bell.
After rides came games!
In this game, the kids got to pick a ducky out of the pond and then they got to choose a prize.
Da Boo named her bird Georgina and the Boy will get to see just how fun those balls can be the next time he runs through the sprinklers.
Time for one last ride for da Boo (because Mommy didn't give her 2 tickets on the carousel...). Then we headed home, very hot and tired but we had a fun time!
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- LONDON! Day 9: Southwark Cathedral
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