Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Anyway, today was more walking around London--the Sir John Soanes museum, the British Museum, lunch at the White Horse pub on Drury Lane, and then an amble down Drury Lane to the Victoria Embankment, across the Millenium Bridge, past the Tate Modern (Okay, we took a bathroom break there and checked out the bookstore), past the Globe Theatre and on to the London Bridge Tube stop. We hopped off one stop before "home" so Mr. M could do something HE wanted to do for once--take a picture on Abbey Road.
Now we're checking in for our flight, printing out boarding passes, and starting to pack. It's been a great trip--I'll probably keep blogging about it for a while as I digest all the events.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
It's too late to post a long report now--bed is calling me, but maybe I'll take an Advil or two first. I suspect I'll have some aching muscles in the morning. We climbed a lot today--stairs at the Tower, stairs to the top of the Monument (for which we got certificates), and then more stairs to the Whispering Gallery at St. Paul's and then higher to an outside outside viewing area called the Stone Gallery at the outside of the dome, and then even higher to the cathedral's tippy top, the Golden Gallery at the base off the lantern. (Mr. MacKenzie is not a fan of heights, so he let me made the final ascent by myself.) Here are two picture I took from the top--you can see the London Eye in the background of the first picture.
Monday, September 13, 2010
After 12 hours of sleep, we were ready to face London. We took the Tube down to Green Park--I felt right at home, it was so much like the D.C. Metro at rush hour. Then we needed to do some housekeeping and get our London and British Heritage passes.
There is just too much to see and not enough time to see it all. We stopped in Fortnum & Mason and Hatchards next door. (Sadly, no naked nobles in residence.) We walked passed Floris J. Ltd. on Jermyn St. , stopped in to see St. James’s Church, and window shopped through the Burlington Arcade where I saw some fabulously expensive Faberge eggs. Mr. MacKenzie was a trouper.
Then it was on to the National Portrait Gallery, where we looked at the British paintings from the 1700s and 1800s--Turners, Gainsboroughs, Hogarths, and Stubbses. From there we headed down to the House Guards, watched the changing of the guards, looked around the parade grounds, and went through the museum. And yes, I am kicking myself for not getting any pictures of horse and man on guard, though you can see I got one of man alone. I must say those uniforms looked uncomfortable to me. As a reward with putting up with all that, I let Mr. MacKenzie choose the next sight--a tour of the Cabinet War Rooms. Fascinating--and a bit terrifying--but not Regency, of course.
We walked back and forth over Westminster Bridge and visited the Jewel Tower by the Abbey. (And no, there are no jewels in the Jewel Tower, though there used to be jewels there.) Then it was on to the Abbey. One small complaint--Westminster Abbey is very expensive, IMHO. It is also rather overwhelming. We did the audio tour and I still felt I missed seeing so many things. I did like how they asked everyone to pause once an hour for a few minutes of prayer. After all, it is a church.
We walked through St. James’s park and Green Park and saw more interesting waterfowl, including something that looked like a cross between a swan and a pelican, but fortunately we did not see any more rats. I dragged Mr. MacKenzie up Half Moon Street to Curzon and South Audley and Grosvenor Square and then along Upper Grosvenor to Park Lane, trying to recreate some of a scene from The Naked King, but I find it so hard to subtract all the modern bits and see the streets as they might have been almost 200 years ago.
By the way, a friend told me Londoners drive like maniacs and I have to agree. The folks on motor scooters and even bicycles are fearless, out there with the cars and those red double decker buses. And there seem to be many more people on regular bikes than I see at home, though I admit it’s been a while since I’ve been in the city. They act just like cars, stopping at lights and keeping to their lanes. No way I would drive anything here, though. The driving on the “wrong” side of the road would have me crashing in no time, I’m sure. I’m nervous enough I’ll be squashed just crossing the street. Some of the corners have helpful directions in the pavement--“Look left” or “Look right”--but not all of them. I try to stay with the natives and scoot across when they do.
We finished up or day in London with an amble across Hyde Park, our feet protesting that they had had enough. (I saw some more birds--a gray heron, geese, ducks, and coots.) We’d been on the move from 9 am to 6 pm without even stopping for lunch--we grabbed an odd kind of soft ice cream cone and a bottle of water at Westminster Bridge. It was time to hop the tube back to the hotel area and enjoy a nice, relaxed dinner. Since we’ve been skipping lunch, I feel completely justified in having a full course dinner, including dessert.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
We made it across the pond!! The internet connection at ye old hotel is fabulously expensive and we are very busy, so you may not be seeing daily posts. This post was written on Sunday, Sept. 12, but it’s now Tuesday. If I can figure it out, I’ll back date it. Also, adding more than one picture is a bit of a pain, so since time is in short supply, I’m reverting to posting most of the pictures, such as they are, on my Facebook fan page.
The flight over was generally uneventful, so I decided to liven things up a bit by passing out in the aisle about halfway to London. Apparently poor Mr. MacKenzie almost had heart failure. I’m not quite sure what happened, but I was fine when I woke up. I got to chat with the flight attendants in the back of the plane as they gave me oxygen, water, and orange juice. When I wasn’t passing out, I had a nice chat with the chap sitting on my right who was a Scots engineer.
We arrived at Heathrow early, got our luggage, and hopped aboard the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station. We opted for a taxi over the tube from Paddington to our hotel--I had too much stuff to manage the underground if it involved climbing any stairs and far too little sleep. Plus I’d never been in a London taxi nor in a right hand drive vehicle--I was looking forward to the adventure.
Unfortunately, our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, so we parked our stuff with the concierge and prowled the neighborhood for a few hours. We went to church and explored Primrose Hill--what a spectacular view of London! Sadly, my camera did not do justice--and Regents Park. We saw a variety of waterfowl, at least one healthy looking rat, and some non-obscene shrubbery. The we walked over the canal and watched the narrow boats (I think that’s the term) motoring under the bridge. I’ve included a picture of one of the boats.
We finally got into our room around 2 pm London time which, if I’m doing the math correctly, is 9 am “our” time. Frankly, I’m amazed I’m not totally fried, since I think napped a very little bit, if at all. (Though I was out cold for the few seconds it took me to go from vertical to prone in the aisle when I passed out.)
We finished up with dinner at a lovely Indian restaurant.Tomorrow, it’s into London.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
True confession time--I'm not a huge fan of blogging. You'll see me post around the web when I have a book coming out, but besides that I've pretty much avoided the blogosphere.