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London

Sightseeing and Visiting Relatives

Monday, December 17, 2007

It was very cold in Hackney.

We made it to jolly old London town after 10 hours of sitting on a Virgin Atlantic flight. If you have been reading my web site updates you know how much I dislike these long flights so there is not much more to say about that now. Julia and I failed to do two things on this flight which I will make sure we do on the next long flight: get up and walk and stretch as much as possible and drink as much water as possible. Because we neglected to do these things Julia ended up with swollen ankles and I ended up very dehydrated. Also the two glasses of wine we drank at the San Francisco airport did not help us. I guess the third thing is do not drink before or during a long flight.

We decided to save money by not taking a cab from the airport to Julia's brother's home in East London. We purchased a London Oyster Card which saves money when using the Tube, Trains, and Buses in London. I highly recommend the use of this card when traveling around London as it makes a £4 trip into a less than £2 trip. It took us the best part of two hours to get to our destination; and we were extremely jet lagged. But it cost us under £6; relatively inexpensive. The only real difficulty we had was carrying our three bags up and down several sets of London Tube stairs. It seems that the London Tube system is not handicap ready; could be because it was built along time ago. The good part about this experience was that Londoner's good nature was revealed to us as so many people offered to help us carry our three big bags up many flights of stairs. We eventually made it to Julia's brother's home in East London, walked the neighborhood, and then collapsed into unconsciousness until the next morning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Here is a picture of Julia as we made our way to the Tube station. Did I say it was very cold in England.

After waking up from a deep sleep Julia and I hit the pavement for the local Tube station headed to the British Museum. As the next part of our trip is Egypt we thought it wise to brush up on our very limited knowledge of Egypt by taking in the Egyptian exhibition at the museum. This was well worth the effort as it is always a pleasure to visit the British Museum and they do have quite a good collection of Egyptian artifacts even if there is some contention over who actually owns them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Here is a shot of the hazy London skyline.

We could not get into the First Emperor exhibition at the British Museum yesterday so we made the effort and got up early and return today to see it. We got up at 5:00 am, which was easy as we were both jet lagged still, and got to the line (queue for my English friends) in front of the museum at 8:45 am. Each day they place 500 tickets for public sale at the museum and we were able to secure two. This was a truly worthwhile exhibition to see as we got to stand face to face with the soldiers of the Terracotta Army.

Here we all are freezing in the London December evening. But you can see that the locals are more resistant to the cold than us tourists. There was ice skating going on behind" how appropriate.

We went on to the London Eye this day. After several days of very overcast skies we got a sunny day. But just because the sun came out did not mean it got any warmer on the contrary it got colder; but the sky was kind of blue. The air was very heavy with haze so we saw some interesting views of the London skyline in the brownish haze.

Both Julia and I have been having a lot of trouble with the effects of jetlag. Try as we might we seem to be unable to switch time zones.

We met up with Julia's Dad John and his wife Jean. They took us on a quick tour of Covent Garden and a quick dinner before they shot off to the opera.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Here is a picture of Sacha eating his rice at lunch. Holly and Alex I think we need to get Clair and Sacha together at some point as they are both so cute.

We had a mission this day as we had to purchase our Japan Rail Passes for the Japanese part of our trip. These passes allow less expensive access to the rail system in Japan. We had to trek to lower Regent Street at Piccadilly to do this which consisted of using the Tube and some walking in the brisk December morning air of London. Lenka and Sacha joined Julia and I on this trek. Sacha is Lenka's lovely 2 year boy and Julia's nephew. We stopped for lunch; Sacha was so well behaved at lunch and is an extremely cute boy.

Here is a shot of Lenka, Sacha, and Julia at Nelson's Colum.

After Lunch Lenka and Sacha walked with us to Nelson's Colum and left us to return home. Julia and I trekked on to visit the London Tower.

Thank you Lenka for letting us stay with you and spending time with us.

I have been to London many times over the years but I had never before visited the London Tower; it is really worth the trouble to see. It is the home of the Crown Jewels, which were amazing, but also it is a castle right in London which is worth visiting its self.

Here I am looking very happy, and penitent, at the London Tower. The Tower Bridge is in the background; if you had not noticed.

Friday, December 21, 2007

We had a quiet day today, got up late, and just walked the park near where we were staying. It was still very cold but the park was full of birds living on partially frozen lakes; very lovely. Julia's Mom Mary called us while we walked the park and mentioned it was notorious for East London gangsters that walked their Pit Bulls there. We thought this a funny observation and dismissed it until we came across "East London gangsters walking their Pit Bulls!"

Here is a photo of the partially frozen lake.

We ate at Gordon Ramsay's Maze restaurant this evening in London. For those of you that do not know Gordon Ramsay he is an English chef with a TV series called Kitchen Nightmares. Julia and I became avid watchers of his show and so we could not miss the opportunity to taste his food, especially after all the criticisms he has made of other restaurants on his show. At dinner with us was Charles, Lenka, Paul, Wendy, and myself. I was having such a good time there I forgot to take a photo.

We are off to Canterbury next.




Leicester Square Video
Regent Street Video
London Eye Video 01
London Eye Video 02
London Tower Video

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