Saturday, June 27, 2009

London, Day 5 - The Conclusion

Although my trip spanned a week I really only had five days in London, one of which was eaten up waiting for luggage.  I didn't have nearly enough time to see everything that I wanted to, but that just means that I will have to go back!  I am thinking about next Spring, and Les will have to go with me.  I think he'll love it there.

Anyhow, on my last full day in London I tried to cram in as much as possible. K had to work in the morning so I was on my own for a bit.  My first destination of the day was the Tower of London.  I was fascinated by this place because of the books I've read recently: Through a Glass Darkly, The Other Boleyn Sister, and The Boleyn Inheritance, all which have parts that took place at the Tower of London.

Traitor's Gate

A Beefeater

The Tower Green - Execution Site

Actors depicting scene's from Henry VIII's reign

A glimpse of the Tower Bridge

The White Tower

New & Old

More Old & New

After a couple of hours touring the Tower of London I made my way to The Monument, "a 202 foot hollow column that is Wren's tribute to the Great Fire that gave him a blank canvas on which to create modern London" (Rick Steves' London 2009)

 The Monument

More New & Old near The Monument

After viewing The Monument I started walking toward St. Paul's Cathedral.

St. Mary-le-bow Church

In the courtyard outside St. Mary-le-bow

A glimpse of St. Paul's Cathedral

Temple Bar Gate by Christopher Wren

A bit of the Temple Gate, a bit of St. Paul's

 St. Paul's Cathedral

More St. Paul's

And more St. Paul's

K finished up work around 1pm and met up with me on the step of St. Paul's Cathedral.  We continued on foot, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of London.

The entry to Twining's Tea, first opened in 1717

Royal Courts of Justice

More Royal Courts of Justice

Our next visit was to the Courtald Gallery.  My attraction to this gallery was Degas.  I love Degas.


After an hour or two at the gallery K & I made our way to Starbucks for some refreshment. Frapuccinos in hand we walked to a nearby park to enjoy our treats and give our feet a rest.  Once rested we made our way back to Harrods, so I could see what I missed a couple of days before.  Such a cool store!  I didn't buy anything (shocking that my budget doesn't really have room for shopping at Harrods) but I especially loved the Food Halls.  The gourmet foods available were beautiful, smelled wonderful and were a feast for my eyes.

After Harrods K & I headed to the London Eye.  I so wanted to ride up to the top and take in the view at sunset, but of course it was my luck that they were closed for routine maintanance that day.  Bummer!  Yet another reason to return to London.  I took a lot of pictures from the ground, though because it really is an amazing structure.

From the area near the London Eye I was able to get great views of Big Ben & Parliament.

HDR Processed


Too soon the day was winding down and it was time to head toward dinner.  J was meeting K & I there.  We went to the same pub that we went to on the first night for beer and fish & chips.  A great way to start & end my time in London!  I love London and I can't wait to go back.  I could easily live there.

London, Day 4

On my 4th day in London, Monday, I took off on my own (K & J had to work) and headed toward Salisbury and Stonehenge.  The train ride was uneventful, about 2 hours.  I listened to my ipod and watched the countryside and towns go by.

Once I arrived in Salisbury I boarded a tour bus that runs every 1/2 hour for Stonehenge.

Field after field of beautiful poppies on the way to Stonehenge

As the bus pulled up to Stonehenge I noticed a group of druids lined up outside of the circle.  The previous day had been Summer Solstice.  Once I was off the bus and up to the stones the Druids had moved into the circle and were having some sort of ceremony.  Kind of cool on on hand, but slightly annoying because they are in almost all of my pictures.  Avoiding pictures of other tourists was hard enough!  Oh well.

Stonehenge was quite a sight to see, I'm so glad I went.  Looking at those stones, so ancient, so huge, it just blows my mind. It still seems a bit surreal that I was there just a few days ago.  When I was done absorbing Stonehenge I boarded another bus and headed into the town of Salisbury.

One of Salisbury's claims to fame is its cathedral.  The spire of the Salisbury Cathedral is the tallest Medieval Spire in Britain, and one of the tallest in the world (3rd or 4th, I think).

Salisbury Cathedral

Another view of the Salisbury Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral

The world's oldest mechanical working clock from 1386, inside the cathedral

Cathedral Interior
HDR Processed

Stained Glass inside the Cathedral

The Salisbury Cathedral also has a copy of the Magna Carta on display.  Only 4 of these documents from 1215 still survive. Sadly no photos were allowed in that room.

Salisbury Cathedral Facade

After wandering the cathedral I went in search of some lunch, a very late lunch.  On the way I admired some of the gardens of the homes near the cathedral.

After lunch I grabbed a coffee and then caught the next bus back to the train station.  After a short wait I was on my way back to London. I returned to the flat to find that K had already cooked dinner and had opened a bottle of wine.  We ate a delicious risotto, sipped our vino, chatted, & watched some TV.  Another great day in the UK!