Saturday, June 18, 2011

2nd Week In London

2nd Week,

13th June - James Birthday.

To day is going to be a ‘slow day’ if there is such a thing.

Today we decided to go to St Paul’s Cathedral, the Transport Museum and Covent Garden. We looked at the map just to see how we could get there. It is very easy with the Underground, it is even easier when you look at the map correctly and read the map correctly. The problem we seem to have when getting out of the Underground is we come out of the wrong door or when we come out the correct door we really don’t have a clue where to go after that. We stand there looking at the dam map trying to work out where we are before leaving that spot. Now I know it should be easier by now but it isn’t. so today we just walked around the block and down the road and back again. Now wonder we are walking 50 odd miles a week.

Anyway we saw up a side street The Transport Museum, a collection of transport since transport began in London. How they built the Underground and why and how they have added to it over the years. Most interesting. We spent about 1 hour there with about 150 school children. We walked outside and worked out that we were at Convent Gardens Square an interesting collection of shops and eateries. There was a nice atmosphere there as we walked around and had a good look at everything. We ended up near St Paul’s Church, mistake we wanted St Paul’s Cathedral, that is what happens when you read to map wrong. So off we set to St Paul’s Cathedral the proper one. Before we entered we had something to eat and drink which was most welcoming. We paid our money and entered St Paul’s Cathedral it was just so beautiful I couldn’t believe it. I thought that Westminster Abby was great but this one was better, just in my opinion. We spend about 2 hours there just looking at the domes and alters down into the crypt and everything really. I couldn’t walk up to the next floor as there was 350 steps and my knees just wouldn’t take the steps up or the steps back down. Worse luck as it was something that I would have loved to do.

In the afternoon we went for afternoon tea at the Grosvenor Hotel just up the road from where we are staying. A little disappointing or maybe I just expected more. We had Champagne Afternoon Tea for James’ birthday.

All in all a great day. Again.

14th June

To day we hired a car. Driving out of London was not good. We got lost or as James says “we disputed the position we were in.“ me I still say lost. Anyway eventually we found the correct road and were on our way to Shenley to see the grave site of Graham Hill, he is buried in a 600 year old church graveyard. The graveyard is not used anymore as it was sold. The headstones are still there. Graham Hill for those that do not know is a famous car racing driver who was killed in a plane crash coming home from a race. He was killed at Luton Airport 5 minutes away from where he live and is now buried. Graham Hill is the only racing car driver that has won the big three. The F1 World Championship, Indy 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hour Sports Car Race. James wanted a photo of this grave for his Webshots of the Gravesites of the Rich and Famous. 
I just went along for the ride.

60 miles away was Blenheim Palace so off we set. I thought that we were going to wrong way so pulled off and checked out sat nav. I still don’t know if we were but we arrived just the same a couple of hours later.

Blenheim Palace was the home of Winston Churchill where he was born. The palace is now in the hands of his nephew the 11th Duke of Marlborough. We did the tour through the palace and learnt a lot about the Spencer Churchill families.

We also went to see the gravesite of the Churchill’s in Bladon. The whole family is buried together. There is also memorial stone seat for Winston Churchill from the Danish Military.

We were only 60 miles away from London which took 2 hours to drive back. The closer we got to London the more traffic we struck and James said it is bedlam. We really don’t know the difference between, turn right and keep right. We found it very confusing, so confusing in fact we had a ‘little adventure’ and ended up near the Thames River. We then drove passed where we were suppose to drop the car back but as the traffic was so bad we missed the turn off, got honked at from a bus and a car as we really needed to turn right, which we did and going around the block again we found where we had to drop off the car which was quite a relief. Then we had to find our way out of the car park which was not an easy task. We had some dinner and back to the hotel for some rest ready to stay another day.

th June,

Today we decided to catch the Green Bus to Windsor Castle. The trip took for what seemed forever and it was only one half hours to get there. As this bus had a local route we went into different towns which was nice for us as we wouldn‘t have seen these town if we had gone by train. You can see the castle as you entered the town of Windsor standing high on the hill looking over the whole countryside. We were let off the bus just outside the entrance to the castle which was handy for us. There were a lot of people there, more than at any of the other attractions we have been at. Once we had our tickets we entered the ground to see the changing of the guard which takes place at 11am every day, except when it is raining.

We walked around to St George’s Chapel which was finished in 1484 and then added to in 1528 by Henry V11. All the Kings and Queens are buried in this Chapel. They are not put into coffins but wrapped in shroud and put into the ground, in tomb or covered with a marble slab which has their names engraved on. We saw King George V1, his wife the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret all buried together in one tomb. We were told when the Queen dies this is where she will be laid to rest.
Up the hill we walked to the famous dolls house was built for Queen Mary in 1924 and was never intended to be a play thing. The house has running water and electricity and is filled with thousands of miniature objects. Nearly all the objects are on a 1/12 .in the next room to the dolls house is an exhibition of two dolls that were given to King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth for their daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. The dolls are French and called France and Marianne, they are shown with some of their wardrobe.
Next was the Drawings Gallery finished in 1804. This part is now used as an exhibition gallery for temporary displays from the Royal Collection. There where paintings from Rembrandt, Leonardo de Vinci.
The China Museum was next. There was wonderful displays of priceless china which the Queens still users. I would hate to break any piece of it.
Grand Staircase was next and we walked where the famous knights and politicians, Kings and Queens and Princes and Princess. There was a wonderful feeling to that staircase.
Grand Vestibule, this was just an other wonder. I don’t know who they made these ceilings. You would have to see it to belive it.
Waterloo Chamber, now this room was the best of any I have seen for a long time. The Queen, every June holds The Garter Luncheon for the Knight and Ladies of the Garter. The China Worcester Porcelain service comes from the China Museum-throne Room .
Then into the Ante a small Audience Chamber. On the walls hang tapestries and famous painting of family members.
King’s Drawing Room, where he received important visitors. A lovely room.
Kings Bedchamber, also a room full of 1700’s furniture and painting. Silks hung around the bed. Just beautiful
Kings Dressing Room, which also has wonderful paintings hanging on the walls.
Kings Closet. A very small room somewhere he could go away from court life, just to relax.
Queen’s Drawing Room. To day this room has hanging painting of the Tudor and Stuarts royal portraits.
The Kings Dining Room, this is where the Kings and Queen ate together.
Queen’s Ballroom, this room has marvellous chandeliers hanging from the ornate ceilings. This room has portraits from Anthony Van Dyck exclusively.
Queen’s Audience Chamber, this room is very ornate, the walls have tapestries and paintings.

We had a walk around the town which is very quaint.

We caught the bus back and would be you believe I went to sleep. I slept most of the way. I didn’t realise I was so tired.

After dinner we decided to go for walk up to Buckingham Palace, which we did. It was a lovely walk and walking back I decided to go a different way back. Well, I thought the bus went this way when we were on it, but it didn’t and we got ‘in a place we didn’t want to be’ in other words lost. So I had to ask someone and finally we got back to the hotel. Relieved again to be back, showered and in bed by 8.30pm and probably asleep by 9pm. Holidays are wearing me out.

th June

It was raining, in fact pouring when we left today. We caught the NO 24 bus out to the British Museum. I thought that there was a lot of people at Windsor Castle but there were three times as many at the museum. We spent the whole day there, our feet were aching when we left just before closing time. I think we saw everything, whether we remember what we saw and read is another thing. One will have to visit the museum to realise what a wonderful museum it is. There was object going back to 1500BC. Now that is a long time. Getting back to the hotel was an adventure in itself. We couldn’t find the Bus Stop. Would you believe it? After about 20 minutes we saw a bus with the number 24. So off we raced to the bus stop and waited for the next one. We got back to the hotel tired but not as exhausted as other days.

17th June

To day is special, it is my birthday.

We caught the Underground to Portobello Road Markets. We walked down the street looking at all the things there. We decided not to buy anything, as we would have to get it home and anyway there was nothing there that we needed. - wanted maybe but not needed.

I found the little cup cake shop that Hannah told me about Hummingbird. The cakes were delicious; we bought two and had them when we got back to the Hotel. Then it started to rain. Funny everyone just puts up an umbrella and keeps walking. They are used to the rain, I think. Therefore, we did the same. I have never used and umbrella so much as now, even James had his own. Funny when someone comes towards you with an umbrella up, one person raises their umbrella so the umbrellas do not collide. I found this very amusing, just like a ballet of sorts.

After visiting Portobello Road, we walked down Kensington Palace Road. We thought that the Palace was in this road, but no, it was not. There were a lot of Embassy’s in this road and we were not allowed to take photos. There wasn’t anything to take photos of anyway.

We finally come to a path that leads to the Palace. It was not as I would have thought. Queen Victoria thought that all the people should be able to visit The Royal State Apartments so she made them open to the public in 1754.

There were seven Princess who lived here in the Palace Apartments. They were. Princes Mary, Ann, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret and Diana. There was another Princess but I can not find or think of who it was. In these apartment. There was a sort of exhibition there about the princess.

I was not impressed with this palace at all. When

William and Kate come to London tney stay here in one of the apartments. It is thought that when they move back to London they may take up residence at Kensington Palace.

Walk then walk to the Royal Albert Hall and the memorial over the road. We could see the memorial from a distance and thought it to be a church that is how big it was. After taking photos and it started to rain we then walked through the park to Princess water memorial which was not going as it was being cleaned. Just our luck again.

We then decided to go back to the hotel and eat our cakes which we did.

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