Thursday, June 11, 2009

Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Tower of London

Today was a long day of 'tourist' sightseeing! We did the things tourists normally do.

First was a bus ride down to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards. Was an immense waste of time! We stood for over 100 minutes watching very BORING slow movements of some soldiers. The palace wasn't too impressive from the outside. (They only run tours inside when the Queen is out of town)

Followed by a nice walk through St. James Park, Westminster Abby, Houses of Parliment, and Big Ben, before heading across a bridge over the Thames river. (wow, that quick little sentence actually took quite a while...)

Then for a great 'ride' on the London Eye - ferris wheel thing. It is HUGE by the way. Very easy to ride, and moves quite slowly. (over a half hour to make one revolution) It was great to see London from an entirely different perspective. Though expensive, this is a nice thing to do - highly recommended!

Next up, a cruise down the Thames on a boat, under a bunch of bridges, down to the Tower of London.

This was started back in 1066 after William (first King of a united England) on top of an old Roman fort. It was initially just a 'keep' (called the White Tower) but grew into an entire Castle complex with 20+ towers, interior walls, curtain walls, and a huge moat.

It was attacked twice, repelled the attacks both times - but mostly was the palace for the Kings... it's still officially a 'palace', but the Kings and Queens of England haven't lived there since the late 1600s. It has a long history of being a prison, as well as a place to store the Crown Jewels.

We had a very nice tour with one of the Yeoman Warders - who was very entertaining and explained many bits of history and stories of the folks in the Tower complex.

The Crown Jewels collection was also very amazing. I'm pretty sure I've never ever been close to so much wealth in all my life! - now on the other hand... I really didn't like any of the stuff there. Some was impressive because of the uniqueness, but it was just too much!

Ryan was having a great big allergy attack, so we decided on coming home to the hotel to get him some medicine and to rest up before dinner. Since the Underground Strike this week... all the buses were either full or non-existent... taxis all full... tube subway service stopped. So it was about a three hour adventure walking and finally catching a taxi through very slow, extremely slow, traffic.

In front of Buckingham Palace
Changing of the Guard - BORING!
Wearing a Bearskin Cap - and with an M4 Machine Gun...
Walking through St. James Park
Jill needed a restroom... so she went to the BEST!
Westminster Abbey
The 'Big Ben' tower
The London Eye - Ferris Wheel.
Looking south from the London Eye at houses of Parliament
White Tower - Royal Residence from William the Conqueror
A Yeoman Warder - the one giving us our tour. Simon by name - he was Great!
Medieval demonstration on lawn that used to be the 25' deep moat
It's not just one 'Tower of London' - but a huge Castle Complex
London's 'Tower Bridge'

Got to love those unions! - just think, some train workers who are already receiving 8 weeks of paid vacation, averaging over $80,000 in salary, plus a great pension... are causing pain and hardship to MILLIONS of people.


Janet said...

I'm having french dip sandwiches and macaroni salad on Sunday, so come on over!

Gramps said...

Thank you Keith for another great post of your London trip.

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