Sue and One-eyed Steve bridge the gap in the UK! COMPLETED 7/1
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Hey Sue! So glad you are writing this trip report. Seeing your pics brings back such awesome memories of my trip to London way back in 1989! I'm sure it was wonderful to experience it with Cheryl & Mark! the pic of the Winnie story! to hear that Steve was feeling under the weather, hope things improve. Can't wait for more!
Day 5 dawned....BRIGHT AND SUNNY! Hey, what's up with this weather? I think I must be in Orlando....
We were up early, as this was check-out day. We ate breakfast in the hotel, and checked our luggage with bell services, telling them we would be back later in the day. Oh! One detail I forgot was that Steve had forgotten his cell phone charger. He was going to buy one, but I remnded him that anyone he bought over here was just going to be good over here! It turns out that the staff at the hotel were kind enough to charge his battery every day for him! (We did eventually figure out he could charge it through his laptop for the rest of the trip.) What service!
Anyway, we took one of the famous black cabs and went to retrieve the car. After searching for a parking spot (kinda reminded me of looking for a spot in New York on a parade day!) we found a lot and parked there.
We headed toward the tower, boarding at the Waterloo station:
Finally facing my Waterloo!
Look, no gap to mind!
But we found one soon:
The Tower is, of course, a huge part of London's history. I was surprised at how small it looked from the outside. Although it is a huge structure, I think that many pictures of it tend to shoot from down below up, and it makes it seem very tall and imposing. Trust me, the imposing stuff is inside!
We entered the gates. This would hurt:
As would this:
Some outside pictures:
We headed first to see the Crown Jewels. There were no pictures in there, and I can understand why. I bought some postcards, and I will try to scan them at some point so that I can post them. We actually walked around the display twice, it was so amazing!
Then it was off to the tower!
Has anyone seen my pistol?
I tagged this one "Mom! I can't find my gun!"
And this one is "Where did I put my gun?"
Might not fit:
Might not be able to fit the video camera...
The Spanish armory:
It's a.....yep! That's what it is!
Horses had protection, too:
Through the windows:
The bed chamber:
Two of the tower's more notorius residents:
And, of course....
Next...more tower pictures, a few shots from London and the climb to the top!
This was super cool, Sue! I'm a huge fan of The Tudors and to actually see pics of the gate that Ann Boleyn was led into the tower through is fascinating! That is a REPLICA of the block that she was beheaded on right?!?
I also just saw a Travel Channel special on the top ten castles/palaces in the UK and they showed the crown jewels; can you say BLING!
So cool that the hotel was able to charge Steve's cell but next time remember you can't leave that stuff up to Steve!
How cool to see your photos of the Tower! We didn't have time to tour it when we were there two years ago. I guess that means I need to go back! I just finished reading The Other Boleyn Girl which ends with the beheading of Anne Boleyn, so it is really interesting to see actual photos of the place where it happened. More please.....
These are a few of Steve's Tower pictures:
The Bloody Tower:
The Ravens at the Tower:
Now the story of the ravens is this: rumor (or should I say "rumour") has it that the Tower will fall if the ravens ever leave. Apparently, the British don't want to hedge their bets, because these ravens HAVE THEIR WINGS CLIPPED! No worries about them flying the coop. The ravens stay, the Tower stands, it's all good, unless you are a raven with wanderlust!
We left the tower and took in a few sites:
Hmm...Tower Vaults or KFC...which will it be?
"You are here!"
This is the Merchant Navy Memorial (my Dad is a Merchant Marine):
Give Mum a break!
This is All Hallows Church:
Quite a name for a pub:
We left the Tower and headed over to St Paul's Church. There were no pictures allowed inside (except for the infamous "lap pictures" )
St Paul's has a rich history, and has been around since about 600 AD. The current St Pauls was designed by Christopher Wren in the late 1600's. It has been the site of many British traditions, including the Golden Jubilee and 80th birthday for Her Majesty, the Queen, the service of rememberance for September 11, and the marraige of Lady Diana Spencer to Prince Charles. I found this website fascinating if you have a little time: Welcome to St Paul's Cathedral - About St Pauls
The Cathederal looked beautiful as we approached:
The tulips were in full bloom, and absolutely incredible!
We crossed the street and I grabbed a few more photos:
The cathedral is incredible inside. It is full of beauty and rich design and detail. There was a mass going on, Steve asked about taking communion but he wasn't there for the whole mass, so he didn't. We did light a candle, which was quite inspiring for us. After taking the beautiful site in, we decided to try to climb to the Whispering Gallery. This is a Gallery that circumvents the altar area, and you climb 250-some-odd steps to get there! These are old stone steps, with very narrow walkways, and not many places to rest. We three intrepid travellers started up (Mark opted out) and soon were huffing and puffing our way along. I felt the effects, but Steve really felt them. Combined with the climb, and his already decreased respiratory function, he gasped his way up, and said to the guard "Does anyone ever have a coronary up here?" Wellll....no.....according to what we were told but I would REALLY hate to have to figure out how to get a sick or injured person down from there.
The guards were kind enough to demonstrate how the Whispering Gallery worked. I am not convinced that there's not a series of hidden microphones in the wall to make us tourists look foolish!
We then hoofed it up to the next level, which is called the Stone Gallery. This is outside, and you are allowed to take pictures! I wasted no time in snapping some shots of London:
One of my favorite pictures of Cheryl:
After a bit, we headed back down. Down was so much easier than up!
We met up with Mark, who had taken his lap pictures! I tried to take a few, but the ones I took didn't really come out very well, and when I tried to focus, the green light from my camera would have been too much of a giveaway.
We headed back down to Covent Gardens for some lunch and retail therapy. We hit a few stores, including the Disney Store! The only food I got a picture of that day was Steve's pizza. He was really starting to feel pretty bad again and it shows:
This is the escalator heading down to our last ride on the tube:
We retrieved the car, and headed back to the hotel to retrieve our luggage. Once it was all safely stowed in the car, we headed out of the city and into the country side. Destination: Maidstone, Kent!
Next...Mark and Cheryl's house, Steve tries curry and an Eeyore or two...
Wow, the deep aubergine color of those Tulips, breathtaking! London has some funky cool modern architecture! Kudos to Steve for even attempting to climb those stairs with his bad cold. That IS a great pic of Cheryl, but does she even take a bad pic?
OOOHHH you get to see the infamous Eeyore wall! Hope you took pics of it!