Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 6: London (Sept. 22)

Today's photo set is here on Flickr.

Last day in London. Boo! There's still so much to see and do and I don't have any more time! Well, that's what the next trip is for.

Started the day off with the London Eye. I had been trying to squeeze it in for several days but it never worked out for some reason, so I got to it in the morning right after it opened, and had no wait in line and only about 15 minutes to board our pod. Each pod is on the outside of giant wheel, which looks more like a bicycle wheel than a Ferris wheel. Facing the Eye from the south bank of the Thames, it moves clockwise at about 1 revolution every 30 minutes. Of course, the view at the top is quite amazing and you can see about 25 miles on a good day (which it was).

Following that, also in the Westminster neighborhood is Westminster Abbey itself. As it's a working church, they don't allow photos in the nave itself but they did allow photos in the Cloisters area outside (so I did). From Poet's Corner to Lawrence Olivier to Isaac Newton, to graves dating back over 600 years, this place just drips in history. However, they told us we could take pictures outside, so I snapped a couple through the glass wall into the church and at the nearby historical artifacts, like the coronation throne that dates back centuries.

Churchill's War Museum, a new one, is right around the corner. They restored the underground bunkers where Winston Churchill and his government conducted the war, everything from bedrooms to the convoy position maps. There's also an attached museum covering Churchill's entire life. 

Next I made a special trip just to see a plaque on a wall. This particular plaque marked the spot where there Texas Legation had their offices in London during years when Texas was a Republic, from 1842-46, There's a similar one in Paris that I hope to see as well. Neat little piece of history.

On the way back to the West End from there, I passed through St James' Park on my way to see the Horse Guards, but I got there in time to see not their changing but the ceremony relieving them for the night. Just down the street is Trafalgar Square with the statue on Lord Nelson on the pillar. I debated whether or not to go inside the Portrait Gallery which is in the Square, or go do something else, but I'm glad I decided to go. It's free, for one thing, and has a huge collection of amazing paintings by the great masters. I'll see some of their works elsewhere in my trip, but here was a chance to see them all in one place. No pictures. Right around the corner was the Texas Embassy, but that's a restaurant run by a couple of Texans. If I hadn't had Mexican food just a few days ago, I would have been tempted.

Visited Covent Garden and Liecester Square, before landing in Picadilly Square, trying to take it all in before leaving in the morning. Stay calm, mind the gap, and carry on!

Today's photo set is here on Flickr.

(Originally published on 10/2/11 at 2:25am, Copenhagen)

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