Reasons to use stairs in a museum
Here were are, almost a month after our initial plan to reach London in this photoblog. We’ve made it despite computer crashes, camping trips and lost software.
If you haven’t followed the series, here is the last link (it contains an overview of all the other posts at the end). We left Dover and headed north to the outskirts of London proper. We stayed in East London, in a place called Barking. Dan didn’t like the “feel” of the place, but after a few days there, I was very glad for our choice. The people were great, and a quick stop from our hotel was Tube access and a great “kebab” place (as Dan calls them) that made a super yummy gyro.
We only spent two days in the city. After traveling to the UK for two weeks of work and then a week of touring the country, we were pretty “touristed out”. And despite London seeming the place to see (after all, many of my favorite movies growing up, like Mary Poppins, involved the city), it also seemed the easiest place to come back to someday. (Not to mention… We’d spent a lot of our travel budget before getting there.)
And you know what? I think that forced us to be more creative with our fun. We didn’t visit a lot of the regular sites, just a few we’d planned for, and we spent a lot more time just walking about the city. We met a lot of people there, and oddly… most everyone we met was not from England or London itself. The common wisdom is that New York City is full of tourists and people who are there temporarily, but… NYC has nothing on London. London is really a melting pot.
Anyway, enjoy your visit to the Swinging City.
Looking into Eye on our first night
Considering the Past, Present and Future for a moment
That blur in the lower right is my husband… I did NOT know how to take night shots then (though I think Big Ben came out well)
Ay, off with ‘is ‘head there! (at a booth for buying tickets to the Tower of London, which we didn’t do, mostly because the hubby seemed unenthused at the lines)
Instead we walked around the Tower and spent time along the Thames
Now, I ask you, what girl doesn’t love having a Dali?
Sitting in one of the London Eye pods, looking down at Parliament Hall, and deciding I wanted to walk there next (yes, we walked everywhere in London)
Since there wasn’t much to do except admire the detailed stonework of Parliament Hall (I guess they do give some tours, but we weren’t up for one then), we headed over to Westminster Abbey for a tour
The lines were as long as at the Tower, but because we’d gotten our English Heritage passes, the tour was a LOT cheaper. Unfortunately there was a “no photography” restriction inside (and it really was beautiful with great gargoyles outside)
So we finished up at one Westminster and went to the next one (though I’m embarrassed to say, at the time we had no idea this was Westminster Cathedral–I actually thought it might be a Greek Orthodox church–take away my Anglophile Card…)
Inside, Westminster Cathedral is as much of a study in contrasts as it is on the outside. The dark brickwork of the overhead dome was almost hidden by the marble pillars. Like many European churches, there were no pews. The place felt surreal
Known as one of the best indoor “markets” in London, Covent Garden actually did little for me. We did enjoy lunch there, but the neat shopping my hubby had alluded to was all very modern stores one could find in most any mall. It’s no Portobello Road. (It’s no Camden Passage or Coventry Market either.)
All along the Thames there are memorials to England’s presence in Egypt over the centuries. This is one of the two “Cleopatra’s Needles” (the other is in NYC–odd how so much ties those two cities together). I have a better picture of the text here.
The next day we spent a lot of time at the British Museum. I thought it would be a short trip, but really, we barely saw any of it. I could have moved in there, happily!
The Gebelein Man one of many, many mummies at the British Museum. I walked through these halls wishing so much that I could have brought my grandmother with me (she had inspired my love of history and ancient civilizations with her own).
Some of the Great Thinkers
We left the museum, walked to Green Park and climbed up to the top of the Wellington Arch. Though Buckingham Palace was nearby, we’d spent most of the day at the museum and didn’t feel up to the long walk along the grounds there (though I would have loved to see the Royal Mews)
Instead, this is as far as we got before we decided to ditch the city a bit and head down to Malden for supper and a bit less “rush rush”
Though Malden was not much quieter, we did find a sweet park there, a bit less “cultivated” than the gardens around the Palace. This tree just begged for a picture.
Thank goodness for remotes. We took this picture of our “last night out in England” in this lovely park
And then it was home again… via Italy and a great view of the Alps through the airplane window.