Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 2: London

I could spend a whole week in London alone.  There's so much to do!
We did have a few hangups this morning.  First of all, we overslept by an hour, but that turned out to be a good thing.  When we got to the Tube station, our travel passes, which we purchased with our London Passes, wouldn't go through.  The attendant told us that our passes wouldn't be good until 9:30.  We didn't get that important detail.  Note:  remember that for future trips to London! So we took a seat at the cafe next door and listened to a girl cuss out her boyfriend.  She was saying some pretty awful stuff....what is it about the accent that makes everything sound good?  Maybe that's just me.....Anyway.  Our hostel is definitely out of central London, so we finalized our touristy day plans in the 25 minutes we had to wait for our passes to be valid.

Another hangup:  we've only traveled by foot and Tube, and the line we needed was having major delays this morning : /  But we finally reached our destination:
The White Tower at the Tower of London
I think posts are better in pictures....
Traitor's Gate:  Prisoners were brought on a barge on the Thames.  They passed under London Bridge where the heads of recently executed where displayed on pikes....pretty gruesome!
Tower Green:  the execution site for many prisoners.  The best-known are the 3 Queens of England.  Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and  Lady Jane Grey.

A memorial for those who were executed.  Many of their names are listed around on the top circle.  The bottom reads "Gentle visitor pause awhile : where you stand death cut away the light of many days : here jeweled names were broken from the vivid thread of life : may they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage : under there restless skies."  
I really enjoyed the Tower.  I'm obsessed with all things Tudor : )
We stood in a ridiculously long line to see the Crown Jewels, but it was well worth it.
I noticed a vendor in the courtyard while going into the Tower.  It looked too good....I couldn't resist!  It was even in a newspaper-print box.  Greg told me several years ago that it was traditionally wrapped in newspaper for you to eat on the go.  See?  Fast food has been around for ages.
Some tasty Fish & Chips.  I seasoned mine with vinegar and had a side of "white sauce," which turned out to be mayo.  Another side note:  it's not "ketchup. it's 'tomato sauce.'"
Headed a little farther west to check out some major touristy spots.
St. Paul's Cathedral.  One of my favs.  It's absolutely gorgeous!  Well done, Christopher Wren.
The things people will do to earn a buck....er....pound.
The Millenium "Wobbly" Bridge.
Wobbly Bridge & St. Paul's

Shakespeare's Globe.  They were sold out for tonight and tomorrow night : (  Might have a chance to catch a play on our return through London.

A Chopin board....get it? : )

Return to Westminster Abbey
We had the coolest experience:  we attended an organ recital at the Abbey.  I didn't know organ music could be so beautiful!  If you want to experience Westminster Abbey, this is the way to go.  The recital was 10 pounds but worth every pence ; )  You get to soak in all the beautiful architecture and design without the crowds...while listening to some amazing music.

On the program:
Bach:  Fantasia and Fugue in G minor
Fredrik Sixten:  Prelude and Fugue in memoriam Naurice Durufle
Walter G. Alcock:  Fantasie-Impromptu
Alexandre Guilmant:  Sonata V in C minor


  1. Wow I'm so jealous of all the London fun you are having! I will be living through your pictures for the next few days. :) Have fun!!!

  2. What stunning pictures. Looks like you are having a fabulous trip.