Day 4, Greenwich, England, May 25

Time to move on!  We took the train to Greenwich and after dropping off luggage, headed right to the National Maritime Museum!  (TRY not to be shocked!)

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Figureheads from ships across the years!

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Miss Britain III, a 24 foot, 6 inch long racing power boat, 1350 HP engine, which set world record of 110.1 MPH.

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Greg and Deneen!!  NO Mantus anchors here!!  LOL!

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Then on to the Royal Observatory, which is of course on top of the highest point around!!!

DSC00054 This is the home of British astronomy, GMT (Greenwich Mean Time, the mean solar time at 0 degrees longitude) and the Prime Meridian line, where straddling it means you have one foot in each hemisphere!

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One of the many telescopes in the exhibition area, and the UK’s largest refracting telescope.

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Dolphin sundial at Royal Observatory.

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View from the top of the complex!  Royal buildings in foreground, then the Thames River, then London.  The pyramid capped building is the Canary Wharf Tower.

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Walking the area, we found the “First Shop in the World”, longitude 00’00.4″W.  Guess no one challenged them on the eastern side!!  LOL!  Tons of nautical stuff!

 

London, Day 3, May 24, 2016

Day 3, and back to walking around town!  We catch the “tube” at this Elephant and Castle statue that marks the area near our hotel and nearest tube station.  Great landmark!

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Above is the Church of St Margaret, on Parliament Square, next to Westminster Abbey.           One of the highlights of today’s tour was Westminster Abbey!  WOW!!   (NO pictures allowed inside the Abbey however).

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Westminster Abbey was founded in AD 960 as a Benedictine monastery.  King Edward, the Confessor, rebuilt it around 1042 to 1052, as a royal burial church.  Christmas Day, 1066, was the first recorded Coronation in the Abbey, of William, the Conqueror.            The above Gothic church was ordered in 1245 by King Henry III.  In 1560, the Reformation brought many changes and Elizabeth established the Abbey as an Anglican Church.  There have been at least 16 royal weddings, over 3000 burials and numerous coronations of England, Ireland and Scotland royalty.  Pope Benedict XVI was the first pope to visit the abbey in 2010.

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Flying buttresses line the south facade of the Abbey

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Above and below are pictures of the west facade and towers (225 feet high) of the Abbey.

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Hall of the cloister in the Abbey

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The Chapter House, next to Westminster Abbey, built between 1246 and 1255, on orders of King Henry III, is a beautiful place of medieval architecture. (above and below)

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Across from Westminster Abbey are the Houses of Parliament (House of Commons and House of Lords), also called the Palace of Westminster (below).

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Bobbies protecting Parliament!

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Across from Parliament is Jewel Tower (below)

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St Paul’s Cathedral, London, is Sir Christopher Wren’s most famous Baroque church.  The 365 foot dome tops Europe’s 4th largest church.  Rebuilt by Sir Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 which destroyed the church site which had been there since 604.

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Queen Anne’s statue in front of St Paul’s.  She was queen when St Paul’s was built in 1710.  The figures on the base represent England, Ireland, France and North America.

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London Bridge over the Thames, above and below from the bus tour.

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Downing Street, home of the Prime Minister.

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St Bride’s Church, began in the 7th century, founded by St. Bridget.  This building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and reopened after the Great Fire in 1675, is at least the 7th church built on the site.  The spire is supposed to have been the inspiration for wedding cake designs!

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And with these parting shots, we said goodbye to London!

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London, Day 2, May 23, 2016

Well, after falling asleep exhausted after our first day of touring London, we woke for a new day of adventure!  We took the “Tube” closer into the sites and then the bus to Tower of London, an historic castle, palace, prison, and home for the Crown Jewels (photos NOT allowed),  right on the Thames River.

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This is the “White Tower”, 90 feet tall, built by William I, “The Conqueror”, between      1077-1097.  The castle complex has 20 towers over 18 acres. DSC09804

Sculptures of “Royal Beasts” which were kept on the castle grounds (The REAL animals were gifts to the kings and often on display for guests).

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The Kings’ bedchamber and throne for visiting with dignitaries, below.

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One of the many story tellers in the castle area, delighting these kids with tales of battle and life in that time.

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Walls of the Tower of London with the Tower Bridge (an hydraulically powered drawbridge) in the background.

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Entrance to the Crown Jewels (above), exhibiting 23,578 gems.  The Sovereign’s Scepter holds the world’s largest cut diamond, the 530-carat Star of Africa, weighing about 1/4 pound. The Crown of the Queen shows the 106-carat Koh-I-Noor diamond.  (Replica of an Imperial crown below).

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The Traitor’s gate (used since before 1544) opened to hold prisoners until they were executed in the middle of the castle complex including Queen Anne of Boleyn and Sir Thomas More.  It was built by Edward I to provide a water gate entrance to the castle.

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The chapel inside the Castle complex

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After our Tower of London experience, we went back out on the streets of London, to experience more of Great Britain!  (PART walking and part on a half day bus ride).

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Great names for bars over here!!  (Above and below!)

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The London Railway station

 

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City Hall on Thames River

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Views of the Golden Jubilee Bridge, also called Charing Cross bridge, with pedestrian walkways across the Thames.

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Steve liked the cute little taxi’s!!

 

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Lamp post designs along the Thames Riverwalk

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The Shaftesbury Memorial fountain in Piccadilly Circus plaza.

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Above and below are Trafalgar Square.  This statue is of Charles Napier, commander-in-chief in India.

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Above is Nelson’s Column:  the 170 foot Corinthian column commemorating the victory of Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson over the French fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805.

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This 7 foot dragon boundary mark is a cast iron statue that marks the boundaries of London!  (sorry for the blur, the bus was too fast for me!)