Tuesday, December 23, 2008

LONDON! (Lots and LOTS of Photos)

Well, there are an assload of pictures here, and a lot of them are very, very cool. We spent the day in London on Monday and were very touristy. Will have to let the results speak for themselves.

Anyway, we took the 10:01 train from Oxford to London Paddington. Once we were on the Underground to Tower Hill, Gillian had a good idea: it was right on the way and our cards are good for all day, so let's stop off at King's Cross.

You know, that King's Cross.

I swear, I had the idea too, she just mentioned it first.

Yes, the trolley is supposed to look like that. Really makes you wish you could walk right through.

Anyway, we got back on the subway and went to the Tower of London, where we stood in a long line for tickets. AKA we should have remembered to do this online.

A catapult in what used to be the Tower moat.

Gillian in St. Thomas's Tower (yes, another saint) which used to be the living quarters for several kings of England.

Me. Um. Yeah. Not fascinating.

Costumed re-enactors in the Tower.

The throne in St. Thomas's Tower.

Plaque commemorating the spot of Henry VI's death.

Gillian on the wallwalks with Tower Bridge in the background.

Gillian with her good buddy the metal executioner.

Gillian trying out for the Tower Guard. Well, I'm definitely frightened.

One of the guards outside the Jewel House. This was another of the really awesome places where photography was not allowed, so there is a lot of things which we do not have pictures of. Examples: The Hall of Thrones (where there is a seat for each English monarch since William the Conqueror) and the crown jewels themselves, set with gems ridiculously large enough that they don't even look real. The sceptre, the crowns, the orbs, the rings, the whole nine yards - we saw it all.

Me in front of the plaque of the White Tower, the original tower founded by William in 1078 or so. I *wanted* to see the plaque in the picture, but Gillian screwed it up. Oh well. And no, I don't know why I always look retarded either.

The plaque marking the spot where the bodies of the Princes in the Tower (Edward V and Richard Duke of York, sons of Edward IV and the uncles of Henry VIII) were found, after likely being killed by their uncle Richard III.

Part of the armory in the White Tower. There are, shall we say, a lot of weapons in there. Hope the gunpowder is a fake? Heh.

The Norman chapel in the White Tower. I took like 4 photos of this and all of them were blurry. Argh.

The walls in the second floor of the White Tower.

The actual block and axe used in the last beheading on Tower Green, that of a certain...

... Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat.

After this, we decided to head over to the Bloody Tower and Traitors' Gate. Stopping on the way to photograph one of the famed Tower ravens.


The top of the portcullis in the Bloody Tower.

Gillian going up more winding stairs in the Bloody Tower.

Gillian in front of Traitors' Gate.


Me writing something for my book (the historical one). So whenever it gets published, scavenger hunt time -- which two paragraphs did I write at the Tower of London?

Me writing again. This was at lunch, with the Thames just behind.

The memorial just beyond the Tower, commemorating the British navy who died in WWI.

After this, we took the Underground to Westminster. This is what you see when you step out of the Westminster station:

Yep, that's Big Ben. RIGHT overhead. Gillian was a little awestruck here, and informed me, "You walk, I'll gawk."

A picture through the fence into the courtyard of the Houses of Parliament.

Westminster exterior. The only kind of shots of Westminster I was able to get. Argh.

Another Westminster exterior. I tell you, this is probably the most amazing place I have ever been. It is just indescribable. I walked around the entire time with my mouth hanging open and mumbling, "Oh... my... god..." under my breath.

Here I have to steal some pictures from Google images to see if I can attempt to give an impression of what it is like.

(picture from www.tourblaze.com) Westminster interior.

(picture from www.davidmacd.com) Another Westminster interior.

(picture from Wikipedia) Yeah.

(from Wikipedia) The tomb of Henry III.

The tomb of Queen Elizabeth I.

So basically imagine walking around in the tombs of the most famous kings, queens, poets, soldiers, explorers, scientists, etc. ever. It is fairly staggering. We had to stop and pay a little homage at the grave of T.S. Eliot, and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior is fairly heartrending. The entire place is so beautiful it's just surreal.

A shot across the Westminster cloisters.

Big Ben and Westminster tower.

Westminster through the branches.

Looking back at Westminster at dusk.

From here we decided to go find Buckingham Palace...

The statue across from Buckingham Palace as lit at dusk.

Us in front of the Buckingham Palace gates.

The Christmas tree in front of Buckingham Palace.

The gates of Buckingham Palace.

Yeah. I think that's my favorite picture.

The courtyards of the Houses of Parliament at night. We decided to go find Harrods, or rather Gillian did, since I was kind of dragging ass by this point.

Voila. Harrods is completely insane. It's a paradise for the richie-rich, has everything imaginable, and is completely kitschy yet oddly fascinating. I was extremely tired so did not really care that much about looking around (besides, department stores freak me out) but it was definitely quite something. Which would be more fun if I was about 1,000 times richer.

The memorial plaque to Princess Diana on the 2nd floor of Harrods. At least I think it was the 2nd floor.

The pages of the book.

On the walk back to Sloane Square to catch the Underground.

The display in Sloane Square.

Gillian in Paddington as we were getting on the train back to Oxford. Which, for various reasons, took forever. And so did this post! Wheesh. Next big entry will probably be on Saturday after we go to Stonehenge.

Damn, it's almost Christmas. Where does time go....?

1 comment:

Darcy said...

Sweet! Enough said. I am SO jelous!