Out and about in London



big ben.jpg (20780 bytes) This is Big Ben.  Actually, the clock itself is called Big Ben.  If the tower has a name, I didn't see it.  Big Ben is at the end of Parliament.  That Ferris Wheel looking thing in the background is the London Eye.  Its huge, something like 500 feet high.  We went up in it, and the view was awesome.  Unfortunately, the pictures didn't turn out

albert memorial.jpg (17411 bytes) This is the Albert Memorial in Kensington Park.  Albert was the husband of Queen Victoria, and by all accounts she doted on him.  When he died at the age of 42, the Queen lost it for a while.  She didn't come out of doors for years, and she wore the black clothes of mourning the rest of her reign.  However, she still tended to her duties, and she set up an obscene amount of monuments and memorials to her late husband.  This is one of them.  The lady in the wheelchair is my mom.

royal albert hall.jpg (32483 bytes) This is Royal Albert Hall, another of Queen Victoria's monuments to her late husband.  Here, they have plays and concerts and all sorts of public events.  No tractor pulls or monster trucks, though.

double decker bus.jpg (43840 bytes) This shot is mainly of the double decker London bus.  Pretty cool.

london bridge.jpg (30474 bytes) London Bridge is falling down, falling down.

monument.jpg (25879 bytes) This is the monument to the Great London Fire of 1666.  In 1666 most of the city was destroyed in a fire started in a bakery.  This was built in 1671 by Christopher Wren, the architect that designed much of post-fire London.

vicarage hotel.jpg (22986 bytes) This is the Vicarage Hotel, our home away from home while we were in London.  If you ever go to London, this is the place to stay.  Walking distance to Kensington Palace and Gardens and the train station to get to other places.  Plus, the hotel itself is a great price, and the neighborhood is beautiful.  Check out their web site: http://londonvicaragehotel.com/

view from hotel balcony1.jpg (61836 bytes) This is the view from our hotel balcony.  Very pleasant street.

statue outside st pauls.jpg (32267 bytes) This statue is outside St. Paul's Cathedral.  St. Paul's is a beautiful cathedral in Central London.  During WWII, it was a symbol of pride as it was hit several times by German bombs and stood solid.  Check out their web page: http://www.stpauls.co.uk/

view from st pauls.jpg (52348 bytes) This is the view from the top of St. Paul's.  We said, "what the heck, lets climb these stairs."  A million stairs and 35 minutes later, our very winded selves made the top. 

westminster abbey.jpg (29206 bytes) This is Westminster Abbey.  On 25 December 1066 William I was crowned in the Abbey church founded almost exactly a year before when Edward the Confessor's church dedicated to St Peter had been consecrated. Since then, thirty-nine sovereigns have been crowned in the Abbey, the exceptions being Edward V (one of the Princes murdered in the Tower of London in 1483) and King Edward VIII (who abdicated in 1936 before his coronation).Westminster Abbey is also where most of the Kings and Queens of England are buried.  Queen Elizabeth I (reigned 1558-1603) is here, as is her chief rival, Mary, Queen of Scots who Elizabeth had beheaded.  Also here is the Coronation Chair.  The Coronation Chair was made for King Edward I to enclose the famous Stone of Scone, which he brought from Scotland to the Abbey in l296.  The Stone was the basis for the Scottish throne - anyone sitting on the stone was the ruler of Scotland.  Visit the Abbey web site for more info.  There's a lot of great stuff there:  http://www.westminster-abbey.org/

trafalgar square.jpg (37868 bytes) This is Trafalgar Square.  It was built to commemorate Lord Nelson's victory over the French at Trafalgar.  This place was teeming with pigeons.  They sold pigeon food there, and the darn birds would sit on your head to eat it.  Very strange.

indiana jones at madame toussads.jpg (32097 bytes) This is the wax statue of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones at Madame Toussad's.  The detail in the statues at Madame Toussad's was amazing.  Some of them, you almost had to walk up to and look in the eye to make sure they weren't real.  Madame Toussad got her start making wax "death masks" of French royalty after they got their heads chopped off in the French Revolution.  As a result, the museum has a rather sizable collection of wax death masks.  They also have the guillotine blade used to separate the heads of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette from their bodies.  Its pretty rusty.  I imagine it wasn't at the time it was used.

thames river w-tower bridge.jpg (19681 bytes) This is the Thames River, and a shot of Tower Bridge.  The Thames has been a major shipping route for centuries.

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