Monday, July 28, 2014

Day Two Features Greenwich

Day two was another gorgeous sunny day and it seemed appropriate time to explore London's oldest highway--the River Thames.  After breakfast we headed to Westminster Pier where we purchased a ticket to Greenwich on the 10:30 AM boat. 



The river is an ideal place from which to view the historic monuments of London,




some of the recent additions to the city scape, and






 and the vast array of modern skyscrapers with extraordinary shapes and fanciful names. 



The so called "Shard" above is now the tallest building in London but the "Walkie Talkie" on the left and  the "Gherkin" on the right in the shot below keep Londoners' sense of humor alive.

 
The old meets the new everywhere you look.  The Wren Church of All Hallows by the Tower is stunning  when placed against the crane bedappled top of the "Walkie-Talkie."



It doesn't take long from Westminster to reach Tower Bridge.  The view from under the bridge is not the normal scenic shot. 
 

As soon as you cross downstream of the Tower, you are in the old docklands area. The river is now lined with old warehouses converted into luxury flats and with new construction. 


Before you know it you are circling in front of Inigo Jones' Queen's House and preparing to land at Greenwich Pier.





Our initial destination was the Royal Observatory and we all had the chance to place our feet simultaneously in the eastern and western hemispheres on the "0" meridian.  






There was a bizarre "steamunk"  art exhibition inside the Observatory itself.


Just the view from Observatory Hill is worth the climb.



Back down the hill for some lunch and then a visit to the famous tea clipper Cutty Sark. 



Like the London skyline, It has changed a lot since our first visit back in the 70's.

Jan and David in 1972
Grandson TJ in 2014


 A massive fire during a restoration a few years ago was actually a good thing according to one of the ticket takers as it created a public campaign that raised a lot more money than had originally been assigned to the fixing the old ship up.

  The old tea clipper was completely restored and in an engineering marvel that has to be seen to be believed has been suspended in thin air on steel supports.



You can now have tea and crumpets underneath the massive hull of the ship.



The only problem is one feels just a bit uncomfortable down there with all that bulk suspended overhead.    




 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 



 

 



 

 

 

 

 



 



 

 

 
 

 



 

 

 

 
 
 

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's London Again


 
Five years ago we took my daughter and her 12 year old son to London. This year our younger grandson was in line for a trip and he wanted to go to London like his big brother had.  So we bundled up all five of us, rented a short term flat, and headed for my favorite big city once again.  My journal entry for June 18th    was one big word. "CRAPOLA" as our departure was delayed by one day because of weather problems at O’Hare.  The 19th was fine and our new route thru Detroit got us to Heathrow and our flat without further hitches.


Our days were planned to introduce our youngest traveler to the city so we began with the Tower of London.



Where of course we had to have the necessary photo with a beefeater.

 

We also ran into some other strangely garbed folks. 
 
They were taking part in some military gunnery demonstrations going on in the moat.

 
Mikel took the opportunity to practice some more up to date gunnery.


Something new for me was the new memorial at the site of the many beheadings within the tower precincts--including that of Ann Boleyn.


 

Then it was on to Tower Bridge and the Tower Bridge Exhibition, which none of us had seen. I was impressed with the chance to see the interior workings of the bridge and learn more about its history.  And the views of the city from the upper level of the bridge right over the Thames definitely knock out even for an old London hand like me.