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
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
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