Visit to London, UK

Leveraging a work trip to see the sights .  

Trip Report:  Jan 15-22, 2006

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London Tower Bridge as seen from the Customs House on the north bank of the Thames .

The Trip

My work assignments had reason to send me to London. Since the trip is long and has plenty of annoying hassles (such as being held captive in a plane for extended periods and suffing the slings and arrows of security, customs, immigration), we decided to extend the trip from 2 days to a full week and take in the sights while we were there. And, since tickets were cheap (in a relative sort of way), I decided to bring Kathleen along as well. The photos below are just some of the several hundred that I took while we were there. Due to the overcast weather, most of the photos lack contrast. But, hey, that is life.

External view of our hotel with classic London cabs in forground. A very overcast day.

The courtyard at our hotel. Life here does not suck. Note the rain on the cobblestone.

An anemome at the London Aquarium.

The robotic fish.

A jellyfish at the aquarium.

The entrance to the Tower of London. An excellent historical treatment of the tower can be found at the offical royal palace site.

A Beefeater gives a verbal tour of the Tower grounds.

The building that houses the crown jewels. A remarkable display of gems and gold. Note the guard shack to the left of the main entrance.

White Tower was built by the Normans after William the Conquerer took the area in 1066 AD and was completed in 1100 AD.

A chapel within White Tower.

A model of the Tower of London complex. White Tower is in the center.

The museum in White Tower was full of interesting artifacts. Here are mortars and muskets. On the sides are swivel guns intended to be deck mounted on ships.

London Bridge at sunset. Note the construction cranes in the background.

The Tower Bridge at night.

A view of Parliment, Big Ben and Westminster Bridge.

No trip to London is complete without a view of Big Ben.

The entrances around Big Ben and Parliment were heavily guarded.

A view of the Parliment building flying the Union Jack.

A view of Westminster Abbey. The docent told us that there were over 3,000 folks buried under the floor of the abbey and that it took 700 years to build. The oldest dates on monuments inside that I saw were 1290, but I cannot be sure that I saw the oldest overall. Quite a place.

A view of the towers at Westminster Abbey. When we finished at the Abbey, we headed to the pub for a pint.

No trip is complete without the sighting of a Unimog. This 407 was sighted in Soho. It was very clean implying it needed a trip to Mexico.

The main hub of the Eye. This is quite a structure.

The Eye provides a great view point for the town. At the left is Charing Cross station. Note the novel suspension method for the foot bridges on either side of the Hungerford Bridge.

Kathleen on the Eye.

A clear day in London provides a good view. This is looking (generally) to the east.

Bill on the Eye.

Make no mistake about it, the Eye is big. Over 400 feet big.

A clear day provided a good view of St. Paul's Cathedral.

A novel foot bridge across the Thames with St. Paul's at the left.

Remains of an old structure built around 1060 AD according to the sign. Note the various masonry and brick types.

London is filled with big, ornate churches.

The Mercedes Smart Car.

You think the camera is tilted, but it is not. This is City Hall.

Tower Bridge at dusk.

A sunset view of the Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge after darkfall.

The inn keeper "pulling a pint" of ale. This pub was close to our hotel and had reasonable food.

There was a northern bottle nose whale that was sighted in the Thames. The whale was clearly sick and looking for a place to die. But his wishes notwithstanding the Greenpeacers would have none of that. They marshalled a team to come pick him up with floats, put him on a barge and take him back to seas. Here, onlookers gather to catch a glimpse of the whale as he makes his way downstream on a barge.

The whale onboard the barge heading downstream to his death. We just happened to be walking to the art gallery when the barge passed underneath us. Imagine our surprise.

Spectators follow on cruise ship.

Nice view of the Eye with Parliment and Big Ben in the background.

A view of Buckingham Palace.

The crowds gather for the changing of the guards ceremony.

The royal crest on the gates to Buckingham Palace. Ornate and like the palace itself, costly.

The band and the guard detachment approach the palace gates.

Mostly what I saw were the backs of other folk's heads. A small view of the changing of the guard ceremony is visible through the bars of the gate.

Royal Guard members on the periphery of the cerimony.

Crowd control troops in reserve.

A member of the Horse Guards, on the job.

A horse-challenged member of the Horse Guards with one on horseback at the right.

London is filled with interesting statues. This one was outside where we ate our last lunch in a pub, just down the street from number 10 Downing Street. The location explains the large police presence. I am not sure who this fellow is, other than an ex-CIC.

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