Thursday, April 10, 2014

London Abridged

First time in London, or actually anywhere in the British Isles, for Tanya and I.  We had one evening and four clear days to see my youngest daughter and make a start to our London Tourist list.  It was rather overpowering to see names and places  actually for real that were previously only known from books. Lyn has been there 3 1/2 years and has become an expert tour guide for folks coming to visit her.

Some of it was easy.  Ride the train, bus, underground and taxi.  Public transportation is incredible, as it ought to be with that many people in a small area.  I loved the trains and double-decked red buses; the tube not so much.  Compared to Kyiv, the cars were narrow and low, there were hundreds of meters of low narrow passageways to change between routes and though there were some escalators and elevators, I have to say that London is every bit as unfriendly for anyone with mobility problems as Kyiv or Dnipro with stairs everywhere. On the plus side, with 250 miles of underground, people are not as packed even at rush hour.  Buying an "oyster card" allows access to all transportation at one low price.

Well, one price anyhow.  Prices are reasonable if they were only in dollars but when you multiply by 2, suddenly they are not so reasonable anymore.  It is expensive to live in London. This we found at restaurants.  Also on our list were an Indian restaurant, a Chinese buffet (because we miss that) and fish and chips in an English pub.  The food was awesome.  And Tanya earned the everlasting gratitude of Lyn and her two roomies by making bliny one morning and borshch and plov for supper one evening.

Nelson and George IV
The important stuff on our list took some doing.  Day 1, Saturday, we went to the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square.  It was the top on Tanya's list.  We looked at famous paintings by famous painters until our legs were going to drop off.  The National Gallery needs a three day tour to see and longer if you are actually going to study art not just look at it. Trafalgar Square hosted the International Pillow Fight that afternoon and thousands of people possible from all over but certainly from London turned out to bash each other with pillows.

It was so cold Nelson's rooster turned blue?
Canada House just off Trafalgar Square
Then we set out on a walking tour, past the Household Cavalry Barracks, to St James Park, on to Buckingham Palace.  From there to Westminster Abbey and the Parliament Buildings including Big Ben which struck 6 pm to mark our arrival. (A little Roger Miller is allowed here if you wish). Then we walked across Westminster bridge past the London Eye to Waterloo Station.  My hips and knees were burning in agony but it was fun just the same.

Buckingham Palace
 Lyn showed us where she had curled up on the grass the night before William and Kate's wedding so she would have a good spot for the procession.

St James Park, second oldest in London
Tanya took lots of pictures of the flower beds.

Westminster Abbey, Lyn, Tanya and bus.

Proof we were there.

Parliament Buildings from the south bank of the Thames; Westminster bridge to the right.


  1. So great! It looks like so much fun! I'm so glad you went, Pops.

  2. You two look like proper tourists. And it sounds like you are having a wonderful time. Hope everything goes well.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

    1. Four days wasn't much time to see London but five nights is enough to invade someone's flat.

  3. Great pictures, and it sounds like a great visit! Here's a botanical question: I recognize the tulips and primulas at the right of the flower bed, but what are the orange and yellow flowers beside them? At first glance I thought they were dahlias, but surely it's too early for them...?

    1. I think the orange flowers are tulips - if you look closely it looks like tulip leaves in amongst the yellow flowers. The leaves of the yellow flowers look familiar but I cannot think of what they are. Great pictures - looks like a wonderful holiday. I know Tanya and I would love to garden tour together. Mardy

    2. The orange flowers in the back left are tulips but the front and centre are something else. When are you two coming to visit? Bring tin hat and rifle.

  4. We have been to England 3 times...once a trip won by my moot court partner and I in law school, once just the two of us, and once when we took our mothers as a special treat (great memories). It is long past time for us to go again, and your posts made me jealous!

    1. Great place to visit but could not live in London, at least. Far too expensive for anything but short term touristy stuff.


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