London Town

Last night on BBC4 there was an hour of music from the BBC studios, but the link was that all the performers played songs in which London, the capital city of all capital cities, was the focus.  Dire Straits, The Clash, and The Kinks were obvious choices, but many other artists, all British, paid homage to the city with their own observations and acknowledgements.  Last week my family returned to this behemoth of a town for a whirlwind, touristy, fog-filled four days of adventure.

ART REIGNED

We spent a lot of time visiting museums.  The Tate Modern, The British Museum, Museum of Natural History, the National Portrait Gallery, and even a small gallery in Battersea Park were all explored.  I must say that we put some serious miles on the treads of our shoes to visit and walk through so much in so short a time.  The kids were pretty good as long as the promise of something to eat and drink was dangled in front of them.

Art show at the Pump House in Battersea Park. Like a giant spirograph!

Even new buildings going up showcased their artistic side.

King Ramses towers over all at the British Museum.

The Portland Vase, which apparently inspired Wedgewood china.

Bones above us at the Natural History Museum.

INSPIRING SIGHTS

Getting my Pink Floyd fix!

Food and Ales to keep us motivated.

London Eye at night. Notice the raindrops behind us. It was a good idea to go on this night as the rest of the time the city was fogged in, meaning the sights from the Eye would have been socked in.

We were the only English speaking people in our Eye-Pod.

CITY ARCHITECTURE

We took trips out to Greenwich on the Thames Clipper, visited the Tower of London, and admired the history of Westminster Abbey.  Again, the kids were pretty good staying so busy, and with the promise of food and/or souvenirs were were able to keep moving forward.

London Bridge from the Thames Clipper, a sort of commuter ferry. A very nice way to get up and down the river.

At the center of time in Greenwich. This is their very old 24 hour clock. It says “Time to eat” according to my children.

Petrol for Parents at Meantime Brewing Co in Greenwich. Yes, I pinched a glass from here.

Tower of London. Apparently it was never intended to be such an infamous place, but with the Monarchy and their struggles to keep power in check, death and mystery forever haunt this place.

Yes, the codpiece IS that impressive up close. Of course this will be part of my history discussion when I teach about Henry VIII. He was also proud of his large calves!

Abandon All Ye Hope Who Enter Here!

Dickie, our Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) tour guide. Quite the animated storyteller.

Maces from over the centuries used by Kings and Queens. The Tower was NOT crowded on this day, meaning that there were no lines to see anything, including the Crown Jewels.

Beware the Rack!

Outside Westminster Abbey.

Upon entering the Abbey my satchel, with its Fulbright logo on the front, was searched. The guard who searched it said, “Are you a Fulbright scholar? You must be very smart.” I told him that I did the best I can.

Overall it was a busy but fun-filled trip.  I have soooo many more photos which, somehow, I will need to turn into a yearly scrapbook upon our return to the US.  I also took a lot of pictures with my iPad, which I found to be a much better camera, quality wise, than our point-and-shoot.  We hope to get to London again because there is so much more to see.  On the other hand, our weekends are filling up all the way up to Christmas break with many other places to visit here in the East Midlands, including more castles!!

Thankfully our kids travel pretty well and enjoy museums, to a point.  Getting out into parks, or open spaces, is also necessary since our little boy is very bouncy and has fits of short attention spans.  It was first annoying, then humorous, to watch him bounce around London running into strangers since he had a hard time walking forwards.  Annika, having just turned eleven yesterday, gave us some fits as well but in looking back at these photos I seem to be forgetting what they were all about (though I know they existed).

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