London and Wales, 2009 Home Previous Day Next Day

Day 2: Sunday, Sep. 20
...Arrive in London and start touring

I finally arrived in The City (central London, the original City of London and now mostly the financial district) after 1 pm on Sunday local time, 8 am Tallahassee time. It was time to wake up and start a new day. Jet lag actually wasn't a big problem, as I'd been getting up between 4 and 4:30 am Tallahassee time for more than a week before leaving (9-9:30 am London time), and I'd been able to get a couple of hours of sleep on the plane. At this point it was better to be active than to nap, and I didn't want to waste any time in any case.

I found my way to Jennifer & Winston's hotel (passing a horde of bikers on the way), and we went to lunch in a more-or-less authentic British pub. Such pubs in London see more tourists than locals, but it was still fun. Then we went to the British Museum and rode the London Eye before eating dinner and getting (finally) to bed.

On the way from the Underground station to the hotel, I came across some of the bicyclists participating in the London Skyride...the City closed some major roads so bike riders of all ages (and types of bicycles) could ride free of traffic. London Bikers height="600">
St. Paul's Cathedral from the corner of Ludgate Hill and Farringdon Street. Our hotel was between here and St. Paul's...only one building separated the hotel from the cathedral grounds. St. Paul's dome is so high that it is visible from any direction for miles. StPauls
Winston and Jennifer at Ye Old London Pub, enjoying a draft before our traditional pub lunch. I had the "Sunday Roast Dinner" and London Pride ale.
After going back to the hotel for umbrellas in case the weather got worse, we took the Tube to the British Museum. The main entrance is appropriately imposing.
The exhibit on clocks and watches was closing for refurbishing the next day, so we went there first (and somehow I didn't take any pictures there). We went on to the Ancient Greek galleries, where I am standing with an older woman.
The Rosetta Stone. It was more massive than I expected, and the writing in all three languages was very small and precisely engraved.

Some of the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon and other buildings of the Acropolis. They were removed by Thomas Bruce (7th Earl of Elgin and British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire) between 1801 and 1812, supposedly with permission from the Ottoman authorities. Their continued display in London rather than Athens is controversial.

This is a small part of the entire collection, and is a portion of one of the pediments on the gable ends of the Parthenon.

This is the rear of the same pediment fragment. I thought it amazing that the backs of the figures are so detailed, given that they would be invisible to those looking at the original building.

We left the British Museum and headed for the London Eye. It looms up here as we approached from the Waterloo Station on its east side.

It has 32 air-conditioned capsules, although one of them was stripped to its framework for refurbishment when we were there.

From our capsule, we could see the other capsules and, far below, scenes such as this one with the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of Big Ben.
Here is Jennifer inside our capsule. The capacity is 25 people, and everyone moved around from side to side, taking pictures and occasionally sitting down.
View to the north from the London Eye. The wheel moved so slowly, with no swaying, that it was easy to take pictures.
Close up of the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of Big Ben as we descend in our rotation. For each ticket, the London Eye takes you on one slow rotation lasting about half an hour.
We continued to enjoy the view as we neared the end of the ride.
Near the end of the ride we could see those in the capsules in front of us getting out, and their replacements getting in.
Walking from the London Eye toward the Underground station, we passed a minor Dali museum with some interesting sculptures outside. I don't know who actually sculpted them.

Looking back at the London Eye as we walked toward the Underground station. Note that the hub is cantilevered: unlike a bicycle wheel, the outside support is on one side only.

That's the London Aquarium on the right.

Winston and Jennifer, and the Tower of Big Ben from street level.
Nearly back to the hotel, after coming up from the St. Paul's Underground station (a block or so north of the Cathedral).
We decided to have dinner at Strada, an Italian restaraunt across the street from the hotel.
Winston and Jennifer at Strada. A fine end to a long but very enjoyable day for Winston and Jennifer...
...and for me, too.