Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Week of 1 November

Since I'm so far behind in my blogging, I'm afraid there will be much less commentary, perhaps until I catch up. This is a long, long post, but almost all photos.

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.
Tuesday, 2 November

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.

Buckingham Palace.

Wellington Memorial

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.
By this time Erika had nearly finished teaching, and the plan was to meet her somewhere for lunch. We eventually met her at the Hyde Park tube station, but we took a roundabout journey to get there. The most interesting part of our walk, of which I have no pictures, unfortunately, was around Belgrave Square. Several embassies surround the square, including the German embassy. Very cool to accidentally encounter it.

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.

Our guide gesticulating about something. The San Fransisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos in an NFL game the previous Sunday, which explains the strange markings on the field. Trivia: Wembley holds the record for the most restrooms of any stadium in the world: over 2800. Unfortunately only 3 of them are for women.

Our players in the interview room after winning a hard struggle against the English national team. Revenge for the World Cup championship stolen by the English from the West Germans in 1966, one of the important dates English schoolchildren are required to memorize.

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.
Photographic evidence.

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.
 Wednesday, 3 November

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.

Madame Taussauds.

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.

Piccadilly Square

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.

Consultations on the upper bus level. We took the bus from
near Trafalgar Square to the Tower of London, traversing
the entire Square Mile of the City of London--the portion,
remember, that was walled in by the Romans and is today
the financial heartland, the Wall Street, of the United Kingdom.

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 Yeoman Warder explaining the Traitor's Gate behind him. He and about
150 other people live in the Tower. He and the other Yeomand Warders
are ex-service men, mostly retired non-commissioned officers. His manner is
brisk, brooks no nonsense, and humorous.

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.

Oma in front of the palace. Drizzle soon began to fall. We wanted to see inside, though most of the rooms were being renovated. There was a special exhibit (see link). But Erika had left us to print some important papers at CAPA, where she teaches. We were going to wait for her before going in. But the drizzle never stopped and Erika had some problems getting the information she needed so Oma, Katerina, and Markus went in on their own while I waited for Erika with intention of finding them in the Palace after she arrived. Half an hour later Erika, a bit soaked, showed up and her mom and the kids had seen everything they wanted to see. That meant: LUNCH!

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.
After lunch.

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.

1 comment:

  1. LOL I don't read this blog, but posting comments is FUN! (*.*)
    ( : )
    (_____) SNOWMAN