Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 2 - London

May 2010 - London England

Sunday was bright and sunny! Grabbed the bus outside the hotel down to Trafalgar Square where we then walked to Westminster Pier and boarded the Thames River cruise to Tower of London.
On the way to the cruise:
British Museum around the corner from the hotel

Most tourists can't miss Admiralty Arch, just off of Trafalgar Square.

What many don't ever see, however, is in the Northernmost arch used by car traffic. A little higher than average head-height, at about 7 feet, there is what appears to be a human nose- no one seems to know when, nor by whom, it was put there. Tradition holds that the nose is there in honor of the Duke of Wellington, who was known for having a particularly large nose. Royal soldiers would rub Wellington's nose for good luck as they rode through the arch.

Number 12 Downing St - you can't see number 10!

Aboard the cruise:

Globe Theatre

To the Tower with you!

Time for a last meal at the Hung, Drawn and Quartered pub before our sentence.
 The victims were first hung by the neck but taken from the scaffold while still alive. The entrails and genitals are then removed (drawn), the head cut off and the torso hacked into four quarters. There's some debate over whether drawn refers to the dragging of the live victim to the butcher's block or the (with)drawing of the entrails. A supposed contemporary account of the execution of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators has it that "... after his fall he [Robert Keyes] was drawn to the block, and there his bowels withdrawn, and he was divided into four parts". If this account is to be believed, drawing referred to either of or both the moving of the still live body and the subsequent withdrawal of the entrails.

Still hungry?

Prawn sandwich - delicious. Not sure exactly how many of these I ate in the 3 weeks??
Check out the noose over the bar!

Time to visit the Tower Bridge and climb all those steps to the top! Lots of huffing and puffing. Tower Bridge for me is the most iconastic symbol of London. The first ever photo that we took and had framed was of the Tower Bridge. Today you get superior views of the bridge from the river cruise and from the Tower.
The bridge is still a working lift bridge and the times are posted so you can watch the bridge open.

A visit to the engine room - the original across the street. Nowadays it is all run by oil and electricity, not as pretty to view.

Great walk along the Thames and then over to St. Pauls, as it was Sunday we couldn't climb to the top as planned. The group was not too disappointed having just climbed all those stairs at the Tower Bridge. The views are supposed to be spectacular and the admission is part of the London Pass. Service was being performed by a female minister - unique to me as a raised Catholic.

Now the crowd is very thirsty and tired.

The wall as you went downstairs to the patio

Long stroll back to hotel, with a pub stop at Leister Square.

Then dinner around the corner from the hotel, Italian, interesting but certainly not very good.

Some internet time and we were off Monday to Windsor Castle, Stonehege and Bath!

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