Monday, 1 November
Erika's mom, 3 nephews, and a niece arrive late at night at Heathrow for a few day of London frolic. This week is the kids' fall break. Last week it was Benedict's. Unfortunate they didn't coincide.
|Late night pizza party after arrival. That's Benedict, of course, on the left, Markus and his sister Katharina Schietinger, Oma (grandma in German), and then brothers Michael and Florian Albrecht.|
Erika is off teaching, Benedict is in school, and the rest of us are off exploring London on a very chilly morning.
|Markus, Oma, Michael, and Florian on the tube.|
|Statue of the Great Protector, Oliver Cromwell, |
in front of Parliament.
|In front of Parliament again.|
|A statue of Abraham Lincoln in Westminster.|
|Churchill's War Cabinet room is in the building on the right. The two |
buildings house offices of the ministry of the treasury.
|A pelican in St. James Park, which is home to many different|
species of birds.
|Trees in St. James Park|
|Buckingham Palace. Many tourists, but no changing of the guards this day.|
|A traffic stopper out for a trot in St. James Park.|
|War memorial in honor of Australian military personnel|
who fought in WW II.
|Oma, Katharina, Florian, Michael, and Markus filling their stomachs in Hyde Park.|
Eventually we reached reached Knightsbridge and walked past Harrods to the tube station. We walked to Hyde Park for some nourishment, and then split up into two groups. The ladies went shopping, and the young men (well, and me) journeyed off to Wembley Stadium.
|Outside Wembley Stadium. It took about an hour to get here on the tube from Hyde Park. The arch holds up the roof of the stadium. The old stadium was built in 1923 and torn down in 2000. Shed no tears. Structural problems made the old stadium unsafe.|
|In the home team's locker room.|
|Markus in front of the Royal Box, accepting the FA silver|
trophy. Prince William is president of the Football Association.
|Down on the field. The stadium holds 80,000 people, each one of them with an unobstructed view of the action. If it rains the roof can be partially closed so that all the spectators can remain dry. Too bad the players still get wet.|
|Michael accepting the FA trophy (a silver replica, BTW) on|
behalf of his team. Funny, didn't know they allowed Germans
to compete for this trophy, but there you have it.
|Michael, Florian, Oma, Katharina, and Markus after a hard day of sight seeing. Alas, Benedict attended school. At least he was met outside school that day by Oma, Katharina, and Erika.|
On this day I stayed home to recover from the strenous go go go action of the weekend in Ubley and the long day previously sight seeing. Erika showed everyone around, and Benedict took the day off school to hang with his cousins.
|On the bus to somewhere.|
|The London Eye on the south side of the Thames|
|In front of Big Ben. (Technically St. Stephen's Tower. Big Ben refers to the massive 13 ton bell inside the tower.)|
|Inside one of the London Eye gondolas.|
|It takes the London Eye a half hour to make a complete circuit.|
|The arch in the middle of the photograph is Wembley Stadium.|
|The gondolas are large, so sharing is the rule. They shared their space with a Catholic priest from India and his family. The priest lives in Italy and speaks very good German. An appropriate companion.|
|Models of St. Paul's dome and the Eiffel Tower made from discarded tube tickets. In Waterloo Station.|
|Back on the north side of the river with Tower Bridge in the background.|
|Oma, Katharina, Markus, Michael, and Florian in front of the Tower of London.|
|Oma with the Gerkin in the background.|
|Oma and Princess Di.|
|The ex-Guvornator-to-be poses menacingly with the |
fearless Benedict and Markus.
|Beckham offering a few football tips to the boys.|
|Michael is ready to challenge Ronaldo and Beckham.|
|The Prince of Wales and his sons escort Oma and Katharina.|
|The queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are very kind and gracious.|
|Will Shakespeare has a part for you, Benedict.|
|Herr Einstein and his protege.|
|Benedict does the impossible: reunites the Fab Four.(?)|
|Mr Cameron, is this where Mr Brown used to stand?|
|The President can use all the advice he can get these days.|
|Caught between a Lama and a Pope.|
|After helping solve the world's problems, a few minutes relaxing |
in the absolutely huge Apple store seemed appropriate.
|Time to experience the decadence that is Harrods.|
Thursday, 4 November
|Erika's teaching, Benedict is back in school, and I'm refreshed|
enough to act as the cheerful guide again.
Katharina took many of the following pictures.
|Trafalgar Square from the upper level of the bus.|
|The front of St. Paul's Cathedral.|
|Across from the Tower of London, the ongoing|
construction of the Shard, which will be the
tallest building in Europe when finished.
|The Tower of London is a large complex of really old buildings. Construction of the Tower began shortly after William the Conqueror invaded and subjugated England in 1066. You can find more about the history of the Tower at the link.|
|Waiting for the Yeoman Warder tour.|
|The portcullis (the iron spiky gate) is over 700 years old.|
|Following the Warder deeper into the keep.|
|Henry VIII built the white buildings for Anne Boleyn. I'm sure|
to her regret she visited the Tower under more difficult and
fatal circumstances before they were finished.
|The Jewel House, where the fabulous Crown Jewels are kept. No pictures |
were allowed. Absolutely unbelievable. See the link.
|A guard marching in front of the Jewel House. After lunch in|
the cafe on site, we cut our visit a bit short to get back to rest
before getting back on the tube for Covent Garden and....
|That night we saw a terrific performance of The Lion King.|
Friday, 5 November
|Another chilly morning, this one threatening rain|
|Markus, Oma, and I walking toward Kensington Palace in Kensington Park. Princess Di lived in this palace. I was last here, recall, on a cold and wet afternoon with Benedict, Susie, John. That was the day the young lads played in the Princess of Wales playground.|
|Getting back on Kensington High Street we found this pub. The Goat Tavern|
has been at this location for several hundred years so we figured the food
can't be too bad.
|Waiting for our food. Turned out to be a very good choice for lunch. |
Everyone was pleased with what they ordered, and Erika and I thought
this would be a good pub to eat at with Benedict.
|The entrance to the tube station on Kensington High Street already filled with glitter and lights for the Christmas season.|
|The lads messing about that night.|
|Early Saturday morning at Heathrow. Back to Germany and school on Monday.|