Tuesday, July 3, 2012

London calling - part 1

Yes, it has taken me forever to post the pictures from London.  No, I don't have a good excuse.  Lots of excuses; none of them good.  Also, we have a lot of pictures, so I'm going to break this up into segments.  This is part 1 of the trip - the first Sunday we arrived.  Hopefully breaking the trip post into manageable segments will make it slightly more likely for me to complete each part. 

After a long day/night of traveling, we arrived in London at about 7am London time (1am Madison time, ick), waited in line at customs with what looked like the attendees of an oil sheik convention, took the tube from Heathrow to our tube stop, managed to find our hotel and walk to it with a minimum of confusion and getting run over, and took advantage of early check in to drop our luggage off and take a shower.  The only time I felt really tired the first day was when we stopped at the hotel in the morning.  Once we got up and started walking around, it was basically fine.  Until we both crashed at 7pm and slept until about 7am the next day.

For our first excursion, we decided to take the tube to the Buckingham Palace/Westminster/Trafalgar square area and then go over to see the Tower of London.  I had no idea what a huge deal Lord Nelson is in England until I took this trip.  It's like if you combined George Washington and Luke Skywalker... but with a navy.  He has an appropriately huge monument to go along with his reputation and (reportedly) ego.  That's Nelson waaaayyyy up on the top there.  He's not holding a spyglass to either eye.  The lions (not pictured) are also impressive.  

Then we wandered down the mall toward Buckingham palace.  The gold thing in the middle is the Queen Victoria memorial and the white building is... you guessed it... Buckingham palace.  There was still a lot of scaffolding and whatnot set up from the jubilee the week before so we actually weren't able to get that close to the front of the palace.  No tours because the queen was in residence.

Then we walked through St. James park, which is home to approximately 1 gagillion well-fed waterfowl.  Evidently there are even pelicans that will eat pigeons.  The swans were pretty surly, too.

After that we went over to see the Tower of London and the crown jewels.  The Tower of London is not particularly photogenic and the guards (called beefeaters, no one knows why) get angry if you try to take a picture of the royal bling, so I don't have anything from that.

Here's a picture of the Tower (NOT London) Bridge.  Evidently there was a guy in Arizona who bought the old, ugly London bridge and moved it to the US thinking he was getting this guy.  Ooops.

Whew... I made it through post #1.  Stay tuned for Cambridge, one of my favorite parts of the trip.


  1. The surly swans' moods should improve, now that this year's Swan Upping has been cancelled due to flood conditions.

  2. Heh. I'd actually never heard of the swan upping before.