The featured photo above is a professional selfie at Big Ben (under construction). For one billion better pictures of Big Ben, see the internet.
Just returned from an awesome trip to London. Thanks Graeme, Rosangela, Ludy Miller 😉 (Ludmila), and Henrique! and Erik and Nikita! Special mention to Henrique and Kevin. Here’s what we did:
- When I arrived at Heathrow, the Philadelphia Eagles team arrived while I was waiting in the passport line. Eagles fans in line were cheering. We saw the fans at tourist sites that weekend throughout London.
- Tower of London: awesome, get the Yeoman / “Beefeater” tour.
- At Covent Garden, we saw Sergio the Covent Garden Magician. He was hilarious.
- We went to Arsenal’s stadium during an away game. That was less than exciting.
- The next day, we saw the Tottentham Hotspurs play Manchester City at Wembley Stadium. The NFL logo was still on the field from the Eagles game the day prior. Wembley is the site where England won its only World Cup in 1966. Tottentham lost 1-0.
- Rented a car and drove to:
- Stonehenge, saw the ancient pile of rocks from the modern highway.
- Norman church in the countryside. There are countless of these that are about 1,000 years old.
- Roman bath in Bath. This was a highlight. I did not realize just how much the Roman Empire reached Great Britain.
- The Eastern Eye in Bath, excellent Curry and drinks.
- Stratford on Avon, saw the birthplace of Shakespeare,
- British Museum
- It’s free.
- The Rosetta Stone is a must see of course.
- Hoxne Hoard, I also liked, which is by the Sutton Hoo ship burial. It is a collection of five bags that was buried around the collapse of the Roman Empire.
- The Enlightenment Gallery, formerly called the King’s Library, was like a museum of the museum itself. Very cool.
- There were pottery exhibits from Japan, Korea, and China. They were incredible.
- Check out the coin shop across the street from the British Museum. I bought a Roman coin there, and a 2018 silver £2 coin.
- The National Gallery: I would skip this if you’re not into art.
- Harrod’s Department Store, did a little Christmas shopping.
- Went to Greenwich where the Prime Meridian was set in 1884. I just missed the Maritime Museum there. This was the top thing that I failed to see! COOL watches:
The H4, made by John Harrison. The very first watch that kept time well enough to know that the sun was early or late on a voyage, thus enabling longitude calculation. It won the longitude prize. K1 and K2 below were copies of this watch:
Capt. Cook’s K1:
K2, via the mutiny on the HMS Bounty and Pitcairn island:
- Buckingham Palace: the Queen was not home.
- Kensington Palace: kinda smawwll!
- Churchill War Rooms. Definitely a highlight. Churchill is a hero of the 20th century.
- St. Paul’s Cathedral, I went to a Sunday morning service there and it was incredible. Huge. The music resonates for 4-5 seconds throughout the church. Note: it is the Church of England.
- Westminster, walked around the area, saw it from the outside.
- Soho, walked around a little bit.
- Bond Street, walked around a little bit. The most expensive item at Tiffany’s was a necklace costing £750,000.
- Went to “quiz night” with friends of my friend Aaron. Turns out, they live one block, yes ONE BLOCK in all of London, from where I was staying with my London friends. Bassein Park Road!
- There were fireworks for the 5th of November celebrations. I felt only slightly threatened as a Catholic.
- I explored the London night life and on the final night discovered the fabled seven-layer club. Like Captain Cook, I accurately chart it here: It is called TigerTiger and it is near Piccadilly Circus Station. I counted the layers, there were seven, and it was impressive, but it was full of dudes, so I left.
- Finished with a Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet, not at the Globe! We saw it at the Barbican Theatre. It was put on by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the high quality showed. Highlight of the trip.