Friday, April 19, 2019

A Visit to #10...

Ant made special arrangements for us to visit 
#10 Downing St.
No...the Prime Minister didn't seem to be in,
and nothing seemed to be going on that day!

But the resident Cat was there to greet us!

I think he's the real  Prime Minister!

The crew!
Sean, Veronica, Ant, Dan and Kathy!

Just a bit of English detail!

You can see the Eye from just about anywhere in London!
This is from inside the Downing Street enclave.

This was taken from the gate at the entrance to the enclave.

Unbeknownst to us when we made arrangements for our 
visit to #10, there was a marathon going on!
Lot's of people crowded the streets around this part 
of the city, lot's in costume, and oh yeah...a few runners!

And of course...the obligatory street performer!

An afternoon tipple before we said goodbye to Ant...
too short a visit!
And yes, Dan adheres to the
"when in London, drink Italian beer" adage!

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Sunday, April 7, 2019

London our first stop, before starting our Search for the Northern Lights!

Our first full day in London we met up with Anthony...
our very good English friend, who came up from Southampton to show us the sights!
We started with a general walkabout around the
typical sights of London.

We walked across Westminster Bridge to get to the
heart of our tourist destinations...

First we walked by Parliament...
I was disappointed for our travel buds, Veronica and Sean,
because Big Ben was under wraps, while undergoing
maintenance and repair.  We could see the clock peaking
out from the shroud of scaffolding and tarps,
but no bell!

The London Eye is a giant ferris wheel that never stops.
The wheel moves slow enough for people to get on and off
without mishap, but never completely stops.
Throughout the hour long ride, you are rewarded with 
spectacular views of the city.
Dan and I rode the Eye the last time we were in London
but Sean and Veronica opted out this time around.
But of course, I still have to click away!!!

One of the things I love about London is the old world 
charm that you find all around town, in the details!

This church window and shadows made me think
of Sherlock Holmes and maybe a horror movie or two!

I love the old world architecture...

...the soaring towers...

...and a beautiful view Westminster Abbey.
The Abbey is chock full of history.
"Ever since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066,
all coronations of English and British monarchs have been 
performed here.  There have been 16 royal weddings at the abbey since 1100." Wikipedia
And it is the burial site of over 3000 prominent people throughout British history, including royalty, Prime Ministers,
poets, actors, scientists and military leaders.
Stephen Hawking was laid to rest in the abbey.

I don't know about you, but when I saw this roof and chimneys, I immediately thought of the "Chim Chimney"
scene in the original Mary Poppins with Dick van Dyke and 
his fellow chimney sweeps dancing across the roofs of London!

You've probably heard about the love locks on bridges in 
Paris...well, London has its own share of love locks.
Apparently, this practice has caught on, all over Europe, 
to the chagrin of the locals.  While it's a charming
idea for the lovers to write their names, and date and lock 
it to the bridge "locking their love forever", 
it actually can become quite cumbersome 
and rather dangerous with all the added weight to the bridges.  And, the locals pretty much hate it.
So I suggest resisting the impulse to add your own!

I love the little open air food and drink counters throughout
the city.

Two more views of Westminster Abbey.

Quite an imposing building don't you think?

Imagine my surprise when we walked through 
 Parliament Square,
 and I found myself looking at 
a statue of our Abraham Lincoln!
Lincoln is one of 12 statues in the square of British, Commonwealth, and foreign political figures.
Quite honestly, I think he's the only non-British, 
non-Commonwealth notable represented here!
Mahatma Ghandi, Indian Independence leader,
Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa,
and Millicent Fawcett, Campaigner for Women's suffrage,
were the only other ones not currently of the UK.
But with India and South Africa once being part of 
the Commonwealth, and the British Women's Suffrage
movement being part of Britain's history, 
Lincoln rather stood out to me as quite
unusual to be included in their Parliament Square. 

Next stop...#10 Downing Street!

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