Monday, August 21, 2017

Day 34 - More Sights of London - and now...the Kids are REALLY TIRED!!!

Andi decided to take a day off so Bobbie, George and I planned a pretty agreesive day with lots and lots of walking.  We picked our six things from the London Pass guide book and headed off at 9AM with our first destination being Westminster Abbey.  I have lived in London twice in the past, visited many, many times, and in 46 years, never once stepped foot in the Westminster or St. Paul's.  So this was a first for me as well.

The lines were short and we only had to wait a few minutes before entering.  The day broke with beautiful sunlight once we were inside and the light for photos was amazing.  Westminster is massive.  It's Gothic architecture is overwhelming at first and doesn't let up with grandeur throughout the entire building.  They starting building it in 1055 and did not finish what we see today until 1550.  It is the resting place of many kings and queens, most notibly Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scotts, famous authors and poets, as well as Issac Newton and Charles Darwin.

We then headed over to the Churchill War Rooms.  Although we are pretty much done with any World War memorabilia, this one was on our list and we got in line.  We waited a little under and our to get in and it was worth the wait.  This underground complex is where Churchill ran the war.  It was extremely well done and fascinating.

One of the most interesting rooms was this closet that most everyone, even in the bunker itself, thought was Churchill's private toilet.  It was labeled as such and he spent quite a bit of time in it. What it turned out to be was a secure direct telephone line to FDR back in the states.  He and FDR had a very close and famous relationship and they spent hours on the telephone together discussing strategy.  After FDR dies, the calls when to Truman.

By now it was 1PM and we'd only ticked off two on the list of six.  We decided to pop into a pub for lunch and of course it had to be Fish and Chips...and beer.  We then headed over to the Benjamin Franklin House where he lived for six years.  We had seen photos of the home when we visited Philadelphia in March.  Unfortunately it is by tour guide only and the next tour was much later in the day.

We ventured into the underground tubes for a complicated ride to St. Paul's Cathedral.  There was no line, probably because if is $30 to see the church.  Our London Pass got us in and we ended up staying well over two hours.  The church is massive.  This is where Charles and Dianna were married and it was grand in every respect.  Done in the Baroque sytle by Christopher Wren it is both beautiful and amazing in many respects.  The climb to the top of the dome requires 550 steps, over 3,000 feet up and it is indeed quite a climb.

Once we were done with the climbing we toured the interior.  The most impressive aspect for me was the mosaic tiled domes.  Each class tile appears to be square but is in fact 2mm longer on one side. Set in a turned alternating pattern, the light is reflected creating a glittering cascade of light.

At this point is was almost 5PM and time to head back home.  We wandered around the Tate Museum of Modern Art and then through the neighborhood south of the Thames until reaching the train station.  There are many new and very modern buildings.

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