Monday, October 18, 2010


Sorry for the delay in postings. The last hotel we were at had really expensive internet so we decided to wait. To continue on with our first few days in London...

So far the trip has been great [read: we've only had a few snags]. Starting off, London was awesome. The weather was beautiful and we only needed jackets in the evening. When we first got there, it was rush hour. My opinion of London was that it's basically New York with an accent and longer history. Super busy, lots of pedestrians, crazy traffic. Andrew had the same opinion. We went to a pub for dinner and drinks the first night, then we took a walk down by Big Ben and Parliment. I already posted the pics from the walk. The next day, we woke up early and went to the Tower of London. We saw the Tower Bridge too because it's right there. Here are the pics from both:

Christina on the Tower Bridge (her favorite bridge)

Andrew in front of the Tower Bridge

Traitor's Gate in the Tower of London. This is where Anne Boelyn was brought to the Tower.

Christina had to take this picture of these cute little kids in their little uniforms and red hats visiting the Tower of London. So cute!

The White Tower built by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century. Inside it was the arms exhibit (see below).

King Henry VIII's armour on display inside the White Tower.

King Henry VIII's armour again.

King Charles I's intricate gold armour. The whole thing was like this! Amazing!

A bunch of king's swords.

Andrew "wielding" one of the giant swords on display.

The beautiful chapel inside the White Tower.

This was a really long joust. The picture doesn't do it justice. It was about 25 feet long!

Description of the awesome mask shown below.

Awesome mask (see description above).

Carvings in the wall by the prisoners at the Tower. They had graffiti even back then!

Andrew with his headset on. We used audio guides to make our way through the Tower of London.

Andrew and I inside one of the sections of the Tower.

They had some gorgeous stained glass inside the Tower.

Christina standing in front of the pretty stained glass she loved so much.

Our view from on top of the Tower walls. The guards would patrol this.

Andrew looking down from the Tower wall.

After the Tower of London, we went to the Old Operating Theater Museum. It's literally an old operating theater where they used to perform operations on people in a theater setting where students and scholars could look on. They also had lots of old tools, syringes, saws, scalpels, chloroform masks, etc. It made me glad to be born in a time of anesthesia. We found some interesting sights on the way there as well. Here are a few photos:

This huge wall was discovered as one of the few remaining segments of ancient London.

We found a really old cathedral - here are the details.

This is that old cathedral. It's in pretty great shape!

Andrew outside of the Old Operating Theater.

Operating table at the Old Operating Theater.

The theater.

After the operating museum, we went to Shakespeare's Globe Theater. Of course, the original theater was destroyed. It burned down once, was rebuilt, then years after Shakespeare's death it was torn down by the Puritans (cuz theater is too wild and crazy for them, apparently... again, I'm glad to be born in this era). They rebuilt the theater studying written descriptions from visitors to the original theater, from looking at other buildings during that era, and from pulling out clues from Shakespeare's texts. One man had the idea to rebuild it. When the tour guide was talking about him, one of the visitors asked in her British accent, "Yeah, but why did it have to be a Yank?" Apparently it was an American who built the theater. I'm both glad (that we're not the only ones) and sad (because it causes so much unecessary argument) to see such pride exists everywhere besides the US. And yes, of course I knew it existed. I just hadn't seen it in action before. The tour guide quickly responded to this lady with, "Go ask the millions of brits why they didn't do it. You didn't do it. I didn't do it. He did it. Besides, Shakespeare is no more British than he is French or American." I liked her! Here are the photos from The Globe:

The building was a perfect round o.

The stage is all wood (the whole theater is all wood) painted to look like marble.

The building is held together exactly how it would have been during Shakespeare's time. No nails in the main structure (just in the seating).

Also, we visited what was left of the original site after the Puritans tore it down. Only a few bricks remain outlining the original theater and what looks like apartments now take up the site. The original theater foundation bricks are the ones in red:

That night we also saw Les Miserables at The Queen's Theater. It was great! We ate an overpriced, mediocre dinner across the street before the show. We paid for convenience, I guess.

The very next day was a slight disaster. We were supposed to leave early to go to Brussels but we were waiting on a FedEx package of a few things we left at home. The package never came. It was being held in customs. FedEx thought we were being sent gifts and not personal items so they tried to tax it. We spent an hour or so on the phone with them and left the UK still with no package. We only got to spend a couple of hours in Brussels and we spent those hours visiting a site that had closed down just last year (didn't do my research on that one) and getting lost. Oh well. We weren't counting on Brussels to be the highlight of our trip anyway. We got into Amsterdam late that night, took a cab to the hotel and crashed.

Will post with Amsterdam photos soon. We really loved it there! I'm typing this while on the train ride between Amsterdam and Berlin and we will arrive soon. We're excited to see all that Berlin has to offer!

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