And We’re Off! – Day 1 – Our Arrival and Day 2 – British Museum, Bandaged Big Ben, The London Eye and the Majestic Westminster Abbey…And Dinner With Rosie!
We’re off! Well, let’s back up a moment……We were trying to get to the airport for our 6:30pm flight when “Durham’s Finest” (and I mean that in the utmost respect) pulled us over on the 115 Hwy, right where the speed limit changes from 100 to 90 kms. Caught us going 120 in a 90 – GULP, but reduced it down to 104 in a 90 and saved us the demerit points and a lot of $$. Not a great start, but we tucked that behind us and “kept calm and carried on”..
After a great flight (Thank you British Airways!) and upon our 6:30am arrival London time ( 1:30am “our” Toronto time) we gave into a quick two hour nap. Our gracious hosts, Rob (Mike’s brother) and Sandra (Sis-In-Law) live in Egham, just outside of Staines-On-The-Thames. We decided to stretch our legs and went off on a 5 mile dog walk..(and no, I’m not complaining!) with Rob and his two white Alsatians (German Shepherds), Rocky and Barney, who would scare the poop out of you if you arrived unannounced. Good thing they can smell good “dog” people; luckily we were pardoned.
Later that evening, we headed to the High Street in Staines-On-The-Thames anxious for a pub dinner and at Sandra’s recommendation, arrived at Nostrano’s Lounge (https://thelounges.co.uk/nostrano/). Although the food was excellent, they already had me at “Dog Friendly”
Our first full day starts with a walk to Staines train station, where we come upon a sculpture called “The Five Swimmers” built by British artist David Wynne in 1980. It’s located in the Memorial Gardens in Staines-On-The-Thames. It was vandalized and repaired after one of the five swimmers was ripped off. Who does that? Happy to see it back together and beautiful as ever.
Another awesome monument is The Swan Master
The crown still carries on with an annual ceremony it started 800 years ago; Swan Upping. Every July, the Swan Master and his team of Swan Uppers row along the Thames for five whole days. When they see a brood of cygnets, they stop to count and measure them. It’s a way of monitoring the mute swan population. A cygnet census. Maybe once upon a time the census was carried out so the king would know how many swans he could have for his dinner. But now, it provides a good opportunity to give the swans a health check.
On the High Street in Staines, there is a very cool monument depicting men who worked on the “Lino”.
After arriving in Waterloo “Tube” Station, we decided to grab a quick bite and a coffee. We hadn’t as yet had our morning coffee, so we were anxious to have some java! “Coffee, please…cream, no sugar”…um, that didn’t happen as apparently the shop keeper had decided that “cream” was unhealthy and they only served “healthy” food and drink there. For me, it’s one or the other….”Coffee, please – black”. Off to the British Museum!
So, this is my first visit to the museum; Mike’s original visit was years ago and like most things London, it’s presence is over the top! AND IT’S FREE! Now I could add about a bazillion pictures here, but I’ll limit it to the really interesting one’s…hang on…that won’t work, so I’ll limit them to the most famous ones….gawd, as most of you know, I’m not good at culling.
One of the most famous attractions is the Rosetta Stone .
And the Portland Vase, which was the inspiration for Wedge-wood China
Of course, a museum isn’t a museum without mummies….
And then there’s the Elgin Marbles, (which by the way, the Greek want back. They are safe here in the British Museum, where hopefully they will stay!
Now off to my favorite…..Central London!
I love London. I’m obsessed with London. Especially Big Ben. And poor Ben is under major renovation! Well, all but the actual clock on one side, so we’ll take that. What I recently found out is “Big Ben” is actually the nickname for the BELL and not the clock. Oh well, the whole package of that historical Tower is breathtaking, even all bandaged up.
The majestic, beautiful Westminster Abbey is our next stop. One important caveat here is that Mike actually sang in the Abbey, as well as, St. Paul’s Cathedral as a choir boy in his youth! How awesome is that?!
Now off to Westminster Bridge to shoot the London Eye!
On the other side of the Bridge, close to the Eye, we drop into a Chippy for a pint. Well no pints here, just bottles, so we had a couple. AND, we refrained from the fish & chips (although to fragrance was almost too much to bear) as we were headed next to meet Rosie, our Niece for dinner at the Duke of Sussex Pub! (http://Duke of Sussex Pub)