Part 1: Travel to London and First Look Around


Navigation Links
 Trip Home Page     


The Experience

Steve was nice enough to come and pick us up at our place so we did not have to leave our car on the street or pay for the airport.  We got a cab from his place in Mission Hills and it was easy.  We had dinner at our favorite restaurant in the area Yoshino's on Washington.

The plane was an hour late on departure because it had been an hour late on arriving.   The plane was packed, but Kathleen had arranged for a level of service that was above coach and the seats were a bit bigger.  The flight was long, but not as bad as some Europe flights that we have experienced.  We arrived generally on time and after the usual passport and customs fal-de-rah, we got Tube tickets and were on our way.

Heathrow is at the end of the line and all told it took us about 3 hours from landing to get to the hotel in Temple on Fleet Street.  The 3 hours included passport, baggage pickup, customs, the long tube ride and a .4 mile walk.  Not so bad over all, but it was a bit chilly and breasy out on the street.

We had chosen a nice place and since we were all tired and a bit jet lagged, we ate at the hotel and then crashed.  Next morning, our objective was to get our "London Passes" and get Steve a blend-in-with-the-locals cap and go to the London Tower.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Our room was quite nice.  We stayed at the Apex Temple Court Hotel in the Temple area.

We slept well and got up early the next day to see the sights.  Since it is London, the weather was overcast, cool and had a chance of showers.  But, we had no choice, so we dressed appropriately and headed out.

Next to the entrance to the Apex was this fiberglass statue.  Odd and a bit out of context, but interesting.

The green elephant against the lit red background was interesting.

We finally got rolling on the street heading west to get our London Passes.  There was only one pickup location so we had no choice.  Our hotel was the building just past the yellow scaffolds.  I had forgotten that the sidewalks were marked with the direction to look when crossing the street.  Every year many tourists are killed because they look the wrong direction and then step into the street only to be crushed under the traffic.

The iconic red telephone booth.  This one is next to the Royal Courts of Justice.

Each neighborhood we passed had these cool cast iron lamp posts that included the neighborhood name.

Besides certain buildings like Big Ben, the double decker buses are perhaps the icon of London.  There were no shortage of them: old, new, enclosed, open-topped.  They traveled with purpose and it is ill-advised to get in their way.

Living in the cultural wasteland that is Southern California, I am in awe of statues of historical figures.   I failed to note this fellow's name, but the artist did a good job.

These statues are over the entrance area to Australia House (the name for their embassy in London).  In England, "House" means "building".  I failed to ask their term for a house.

We continued west to Aldwych and came upon this specialty meat shop next to the Savoy Hotel.  The meat was excellent.

The shop had a special fixture that held the pork leg so the chef could slice the meat off the bone.  Steve sampled the meat and said it was great.

Back home, I terminated my land line years ago.  But, in London there are plenty of lines still in place.  A look into the junction box lets you know how chaotic the infrastructure really is.

The location near the London Pass shop was the theater district.

Once we got our passes we headed south toward Trafalgar Square.  There were plenty of mimes in the square each with some kind of special gimmick.  This fellow could levitate.  While his approach was not that sophisticated, it did play tricks on your eyes.

There were some interesting statues in the square.  This one is called "Gift Horse" and resides upon the so-called "Fourth Plinth" in the square.

The fountain was running and the statues complex and nicely done.

Trafalgar Square is named after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.  Atop the tallest monument in the square is a statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson who won the battle.  The monument between 1840 and 1843 by William Railton.

Charing Cross is south of Trafalgar Square and has plenty of traffic, both foot and motorized.

We continued south to the Thames River and crossed over on the Golden Jubilee Bridges which ran next to older railway bridges.  The railway bridges were assembled using classical rivet and plate technology.

From the middle of the span we could see the Parliment Building and Big Ben.

The Golden Jubilee Bridge also gave us a clear view of the River Thames and the London Eye.

The Eye is a high-tech Ferris wheel with individual capsules that carry the passengers.  The capsules rotate so the floor stays level.

There was plenty of boat traffic on the Thames including the rescue boat that captures the occasional jumper into the river.

One of the Golden Jubilee bridges is visible next to the railway bridge.

Returning north on the other bridge gave us a view of St. Paul's cathedral.

Some of the river tour boats were quite high tech.

We wanted to get to the Tower of London and taking the tube was the most effective way.  The tube stations look just like subway stations in New York.

City Hall building was visible on the south side of the Thames across from the Tower.

To the north we could see another icon building on the skyline.

Another interesting building on the southern skyline.

This building is generally referred to as "The Egg".

As we got closer, we got a clear view of the City Hall building on the south bank of the Thames.

Next, we explore the Tower of London.

Navigation Links
Previous Adventure
Top of this Page
  Next Adventure
Trip Home Page  
Bill Caid's Home Page

Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2015, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.