Monday, February 20, 2017

London II

If you go to London with a musician, especially a guitarist, don't miss Denmark St. Lots of 1960s and 1970s rock and roll was recorded there. A couple recording studios are still in operation. Nearly every other storefront sells guitars. Jeremy tried out a vintage Les Paul electric guitar with a maple fretboard. We did not spend over £3000 on it, although one of us wanted to. 

I didn't take many pictures inside the Tower of London, but the Tower is well worth a visit. Built by William the Conqueror as a home and fortress, the original walls are fifteen feet thick at the base and eleven feet thick at the top. Great Britain has a bloody history and the Tower has many reminders of that. Yes, the object on the green is a trebuchet. 

The Tower Bridge can be seen from the Tower of London. (This is not the London Bridge.)

Skyline showing the Shard and the Tower of London.

I took this picture of the Buckingham Palace gates in the afternoon after the crowds who came to see the Changing of the Guard had left. 

Are you watching Victoria on PBS? This statue decorates the fountain across from the palace. 

The changing of the guard happens daily in the summer and every other day in the winter. We arrived an hour early, and already the crowds had all the prime viewing locations. Jeremy took these pictures because he's tall enough to hold the camera over the heads of other onlookers. The changing of the guard often includes musical accompaniment. Surprisingly, we heard several pop numbers including Latin-Jazz fusion. 

I heard a few wrong notes, then Jeremy said, "Don't lock your knees! That's band camp 101." Apparently one of the trombonists became disorientated and started to sway. His companions grabbed his arms and eased him down before he or his trombone hit the pavement. 

Finally, a use for selfie-sticks. The only way I could see the changing guard was to look at the screens of cell phones on sticks. 

This guy plays a flaming tuba outside the Tate Modern. In my view, that museum is not worth the time and effort to get there.

We didn't have an opportunity to go inside St. Paul's Cathedral. It's supposed to be lovely, and if you get there in the evening, you can hear evensong. 

I hope my friends who are visiting London soon enjoyed these two posts. 
Again, click on the pictures to enlarge them. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

London I

I recently had an opportunity to go to London with my husband and my younger son, Jeremy. Our older son couldn't go with us as he is in graduate school. I'm planning to divide my pictures and discussions over two or three posts. 

Several of my friends are planning to visit London soon, so I through I'd turn these posts into a travel guide. Get Rick Steves' book, LONDON. He describes where to stay (Victoria Station Neighborhood or South Kensington Neighborhood), how to get around (The Underground) and where to eat (everything from pubs to tea shops). His descriptions of sights, museums and landmarks are detailed so you can choose what interests you. 

We started with Rick's "Westminster Walk." I included the picture of Big Ben to prove that the sky was blue once while we were in London. 

If you've read any British historical fiction, you've heard of Horse Guards.

Westminster Abbey is a wonderful place. Read up on the people and features before you go. The audio tour was excellent. (You can't take pictures inside.)

This is the London Eye (Ferris Wheel) and a view of the Thames. The Thames river boat cruises are supposed to be great. Unfortunately, the weather was mostly cold and rainy while we were there, so we opted not to spend time on the river. 

Trafalgar Square is fun on its own, but it's near the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. The National Gallery has an impressive collection of paintings. We were particularly taken with the Impressionist wing. I've never before seen a Monet in person. The collection also includes several paintings by Van Gogh, including The Sunflowers. See the National Portrait Gallery after you've seen Westminster Abbey and learned about some of the historical figures of Britain. 

The Sherlock Holmes Museum is fun. It's located, of course, at 221b Baker St. Some of the rooms are made up to look like the descriptions of Watson and Holmes' home in the books. They also have mannequins dressed up to depict scenes from favorite stories. 

Of course, I had to take a picture of Holmes' chemistry set.

Abbey Rd is near Baker St. Here's my favorite rock star.

The Abbey Rd. recording studio is still in operation. Jeremy says it has the best compressor in the world. Also nearby are the Beatles Store which is okay, but doesn't have anything out of the ordinary, and the Rock and Roll store which carries Rainbow Rising T-shirts, if you're in desperate need of a couple. 

As I said, there's more coming - after I crop and resize another set of photographs. 

Click on the pictures to enlarge.