Back home again, and now you can know that my blogging break was spent in London, England! We’ve had this trip planned for months. I didn’t take my laptop, because I decided just to take some time off from the computer altogether. We had a marvelous, exhausting trip, seeing more of London in the time we had than we thought possible. No, before you ask, we didn’t go to the Royal Wedding, LOL!! It was in Windsor and we were in London that day. We must have walked 100 miles, at least my legs think so!! We saw a lot of historic places, learned some fun things, and just enjoyed being in a different place. As you can guess, I took a lot of pictures, but more on that later, with a chance for you to win a prize, so read to the end.
Westminster Abbey wasn’t open for visits the day we were in that part of town, so I only got outside pictures. But, oh my, what gorgeous architecture! I remember studying this building in Art History in college! To see this gorgeous building, consecrated as a church in 1269 was amazing.
This kind of workmanship and expense isn’t done today. Statues line the upper level between the stained glass windows. Taking a closer look, there is an extraordinary level of detail.
We were at Windsor Castle early in the week, before the grounds were closed to prepare for the Royal Wedding. The fun part of that day was seeing the changing of the guard, and then having them march right by me. Although as Americans we find this charming and fun, for them it is deadly serious. One look at the very real firearms and the military precision of the movements gives pause as to the real purpose of these soldiers, to defend the Queen against any threat.
Getting there was not bad as flying goes, with the long flights made more comfortable both ways in individual cubbies with reclining chairs, individual entertainment screens, and pretty good food. One got comfortable, then the video screen swung out on hinges for viewing, a drink was served, and a snack if wanted. I slept most of the way over, as we flew all night. (Update -Business class on frequent flyer miles.)
We did a lot of sightseeing, walking miles every day, taking in all the historic buildings as we went. Just seeing the preservation of these structures was amazing. This is the London Hippodrome, built in 1900. It is an old English term for entertainment, and originally held a theater, then a nightclub. It houses a casino now.
Most of the iconic phone booths were either gone or being used as trash cans, sad to see. We did find one or two that still had actual telephones.
This lion sculpture was one of a pair in front of a museum.
We used the London Underground to get everywhere, and learned the system pretty well by the end of the trip. I began hearing the breathy female voice saying “This is the Picadilly line to Cockfosters”, or “This is the District Line to Ealing Broadway”, or a male voice saying “Mind the Gap” in my head when we were walking around. Just for fun, DH bought a sticker for his Mini that says “Mind the Gap” in the logo of the underground. The next time we do a car event I’ll get a picture of it on the car. He’s hoping other drivers will mind the gap and not tailgate. One of our Underground stops was King’s Cross station.
I had to get a quick photo of the Harry Potter platform 9-3/4. Unfortunately, it is now a tourist thing, with a long line and a high ticket price just to stand in front of the cart with your hands on it for a picture.
I suppose this address doesn’t need an explanation for most of you. But for anyone in the dark, this is 221B Baker Street the home of Sherlock Holmes in the fiction series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Once again, it is a tourist attraction now, with really too high a price for us to want to go inside to see a few rooms no matter how well decorated.
But, we did see quite a lot. We purchased a London Pass that gave us entrance to dozens of places, and we took full advantage of it. We saw churches and palaces, castles and historic homes, event displays and historic museums. We took a Thames river cruise, and visited Greenwich, Windsor and Warrick. This is Queen Victoria’s statue outside Kensington Palace, just a short walk away from the stunning gardens.
Buckingham Palace only does tours in late July now. So, we only got to see the outside. The Queen wasn’t in residence as she was in Windsor for the wedding.
This is a Marble Arch (one of several in the city) and it was beautiful, but there are guards on it and signs that there is no pedestrian access through the arch. Historically, only the Royal family, the King’s Troupe Royal Horse Artillery are allowed to pass through it.
St George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle was stunning. It was amazing to see, then to see the televised wedding, and recognize the setting. I was so impressed with the wood carvings in the Quire. No pictures were allowed, and the souvenir book that was offered didn’t have any either. I cannot tell you how gorgeous these were. But I found a 360-virtual tour online HERE. Move the view to one side then up a bit and zoom in to see what I mean. The open woodwork is carved from oak between 1477 and 1484. It is amazing. This is the home of the Order of the Garter, founded in 1348 by Edward III. It is limited to 24 members at a time, in addition to the Sovereign and the Prince of Wales, and is a lifetime appointment.
On the way home, we were flying during daytime hours, so I watched three movies. One was Darkest Hour. Since we had just been to see Churchill’s War Rooms the day before, it was doubly interesting. I had a wonderful sea bass meal on the plane.
Of course, I have more things to blog about than we have time for. So, I’ll ask you for your preferences, just click off the things you’d like me to share over the next couple of months. You can pick as many as you like, and I’ll do posts on the top few. If the poll doesn’t show for you in email, just click on the post title to come to the blog itself. After you vote, there is a chance to win a prize, so keep reading.
And, now, a contest you can win!! I’ll give away a fun prize of items I collected on my trip shown above. To enter, just leave a comment about the trip, with a guess as to the number of pictures I took over the 11 days we were actually sightseeing. Bear in mind that some of the attractions didn’t allow pictures inside. The guess closest to the actual number will win a travel set of Crabtree and Evelyn soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion, with an authentic Selfridges small paper bag, and a London newspaper the day after the Royal Wedding with photos of the event! I’ll determine the winner on Tuesday evening and let you know on Wednesday’s post. In the unlikely event two people guess the exact same number, the first one will win. Email subscribers may wish to come to the blog to see what the previous guesses are, just click on the comment button in the post. So, knowing what a photo-bug I can be, how many pictures did I take?