Claremonters in England: London

Since our sabbatical year in Switzerland, we have been bitten hard by the Europe bug. As soon as we arrived home a year ago, we started dreaming about a European vacation. Since last summer was so hot on the continent, I wanted to go someplace where jackets might be needed, and England bubbled to the top of the list. And yes, jackets were used (but not woolies).

London seems the logical place to start an English holiday, so we booked a small hotel room for 7 nights and joined the 8.6 million locals and uncountable tourists in our search to see as many free sights, walk as many steps as possible, and to try some fish ‘n chips.

Here are a few shots of some of the famous sites: The London Eye (no, we did not ride it), Big Ben and Parliament, and Westminster Abbey.

The British Museum is all that it’s cracked up to be. I especially liked the Elgin Marbles (from the Greek Parthenon) All sites we visited allowed photography which is good and bad. Good, of course, for our personal mementos. Bad because it’s hard to navigate through all the other people who want to take photos (and endless selfies…).

These two shots of St. Paul’s Cathedral were taken from the Tate Modern. The one on the left is from the Millennium Bridge across the Thames, and the other is from the newly opened observation tower in the museum’s new wing. Another museum that did not disappoint.

London Walks offers almost 100 different walking tours, and we only had time for one, but it was well worth our 10 pounds and 2 hours. We chose a Dickens tour. I would happily take a number of other tours from this company.

St. Martin-in-the-Fields offers free afternoon concerts several days each week. We heard a young pianist perform Beethoven and Chopin, and then headed down into the crypt for some scones and coffee. If you know me, then you know that I was a pretty happy camper because I like eating in cellars and/or burial grounds, and not only did this cafeteria offer both, but they had high chairs from which I could swing my legs.

In college, on my way to Austria to study German, I spent three days in London. Here are my nearly identical shots of Piccadilly Circus from now and then.

Because I only took one  photo in St. James’ Park in 1980, I thought I would take a similar picture to accompany it. Geese then, heron now.

We also saw a number of other things, including the British Library, the Sir John Soanes’ Museum, Regents Park, the Royal Academy of Music sheet music shop, various pubs, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, etc. We left a number of things unseen to warrent a future visit.




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