Once again Teresa and I didn’t leave much time for breakfast but we made it on time. Our step-on guide for the morning was Duncan Duff, who turned out to be excellent.
We passed the Tower of London where an artist has conceived a fundraiser that will consist of a carpet of over 800,000 red ceramic poppies placed in honor of the war dead of World War I. It’s the 100th anniversary of that war.
He explained that our hotel was East of London, and of course since most of the attractions were west, we have wound up driving through town twice a day. As a result we’ve seen many attractions quite a few times including the Gherkin, and the Cheese Grater buildings. Londoners (as we do in San Diego) give their buildings affectionate names, such as the Stealth Bomber, the Walkie Talkie, and the Refrigerator Building.
We crossed back and forth over the Thames several times during our tour, each time using a different bridge it seems. Among the sites we saw were the round City Hall, which started out as an architectural disaster until it was remediated, The Tower of London, The Hung Drawn and Quartered pub, the old power station which has been converted into the Tate Modern, and St. Paul’s Cathedral with its dome, second in height only to St. Peter’s in Rome.
St. Paul’s miraculously survived the bombings of WW II, as contrasted with Greyfriar’s Cathedral which was totally destroyed, except now there is a family living in the Tower.
Windsor Castle, Changing of the Garden
The city of Westminster is a political and cultural center, as opposed to London which is the financial center.
Other sights we saw were Green Park, one five Royal Parks, the original Hard Rock Café, and Victoria Station.
We had a photo stop at Westminster Cathedral, which was also a rest stop at Methodist Central Hall, at the Café in the Crypt which has apparently been renamed Wesley’s Café.
We got a second look at Westminster Cathedral, thanks to two of our party who didn’t quite make it to the original departure time!
We caught the Changing of the Guards. Rather than having us crane our necks over the viewers watching not much, Geoff got us in a location perfect for watching the arriving guards marching to their music. There was a near crisis as they failed to stop the traffic in time for the guards, and so there they were, marching into a stream of oncoming traffic, which swerved out of the way just in time. Geoff seemed dumbfounded that this could happen. He was certain that there will be some pretty serious talk going on about the cock-up, as they say in England.
Back we went to the hotel for a quick break and then on to Windsor Castle. We chose to see both Queen Anne’s doll house and the State Apartments. The doll house was a gift from two of her granddaughters.
The State Apartments were impressive, as they were designed to be. Paintings seem to cover every available location on the walls, and there were outstanding ceiling paintings as well.
At 5 o’clock we headed home for a free evening, which we wisely used by crashing until it was time to get up to get a late supper, which we did at the bar downstairs.
One more wonderful day in London.
A few more photos: