FC: England 2009 Vol. 2
1: The great London adventure began when we left the house about an hour late with 8 of us in the 7 passenger van. It didn't really matter because when we got to the tube station in Epping we waited about 45 minutes for day passes to go to half price. | We left the van at the tube station there and got on the tube for St. James Place. I enjoyed the ride and keeping track of how far along we were with each stop. | October 2
3: From St. James Place we had to walk to our first destination. Along the way we saw quite a few double decker buses. Later on in the day we saw two women almost get hit by a bus. While it was not funny it was comical because they had each other by the arm and one was trying to go to one side of the street while the other was pulling the opposite direction. They didn't get anywhere too quickly. But quickly enough to avoid getting hit.
5: Our first stop was Buckingham Palace. We arrived at 11 in hopes of seeing the changing of the horse guard. Apparently we arrived in the wrong spot for that. We stayed for the changing of the guard at 11:30.
6: Seth | Matthew | Caleb | Somehow I get the impression they might be related?
9: Finally the ceremony started. It may possibly have been one of the longest waits for one of the most disappointing things in my life. We really couldn't see too much of what was going on. I got some good pictures when Matthew let me get on his shoulders. I even took pictures for a couple other people. But it was much more like a battle of the bands than a military maneuver.
10: We all had the same thought when we came to our second stop, "This looks a lot different from the pictures I've seen of Westminster Abbey."
11: The reason might have been because we had found Westminster Cathedral. We found that out on Sunday night- two days later. It was a cool looking building though and we took some good pictures.
13: Seth was trying to look like a Cold War victim. Then he was trying to show off in front of our next stop.
15: The Victoria & Albert Museum
16: An altar gate made of iron
17: One of the first areas we explored in the V&A was the ironworks exhibit. Matthew was quite interested in the locks on display. I think one of Seth's favorites was this mahogany and iron bench.
19: After the Ironworks we (Kristel, Matthew, and I) headed for the Jewelry and Fashion displays. We had to go through several other areas first. Each one contained wonderful creations. One area was detailed replicas of famous architectural feats. The jewelry section was very interesting. Pictures weren't allowed. The fashion section was not as interesting as I had hoped it would be. While we waited for everyone to reconvene I explored the gift shop and got presents for my sisters. This is another place that I could easily visit again.
22: What an adventure to get here! We took the tube directly to Baker St. and followed the arrow pointing to the Sherlock Homes Museum. After four blocks we stopped and bought drinks and chocolate. We also | discovered we were on the wrong street. So we turned around and went back to Baker St. We walked about 5 blocks before we noticed the house cumbers we going in the opposite direction of the address we needed. So we turned around again and finally arrived across the street from the museum. I greatly enjoyed this stop. I recognized all the items from the books. Kristel and Matthew posed with Dr. Watson.
25: After visiting Sherlock we got on the tube. Once we got off and back on going in the right direction, we arrived at our last stop.
26: The Thames River
28: London was a city of contrasts. Modern glass architecture stands next to ancient stone buildings. And it really does not seem so odd.
29: For all of the pain and suffering its walls have seen, the Tower of London does not look so horrible from the outside. Of course, the moat is drained and there are no soldiers pacing the walls but it looks so innocent for all its evil.
30: The great and awful Tower of London
31: We were hoping to arrive at Tower Bridge in time to see the bridge raise to allow a ship underneath but I think we were a few minutes too late. We did walk out to the middle of the bridge and the view of London was very impressive.
33: After visiting the Tower we took the tube back to Epping and drove back to Lakenheath from there.
34: Saturday afternoon found us on the move again. We headed for Castle Rising Castle and the Wash. It was a bit drizzly and windy- the first bad weather we had during our trip. Mr. Engineer is trying to figure out how to open the baby stroller. Kristel seems somewhat unimpressed with the audio tour. | October 3
35: Our first glimpse of Castle Rising Castle. The castle was situated in the center of great earthen fortifications. I think there used to a moat around the whole of the areas.
38: We entered the castle at the basement level and explored from there. The sign by the well was funny. I'm not sure what else they expected from a well- apple juice?
43: Most of the windows were simply narrow slits in the very thick walls. | The kitchen was very interesting. Below is the chimney.
44: On either side of the castle proper, but inside the fortifications was a chapel. The chapel on the one side was built after the castle for the use of its inhabitants while the church on the other side existed before the castle.
49: Somebody bought a kite at the gift shop and the boys were busy flying it from the top of the fortifications.
50: From Castle Rising we drove to a rectangular bay along the coast known as The Wash. It was even windier at the coast then it had been at the castle. There were steps down to the beach. The waves had reached the bottom of the stairs by the time we left.
51: The view was wonderful. The wind contributed to wild waves and the sun peeked through the clouds a couple times while we were there.
55: Did I mention it was windy?
56: We are so small in comparison with the waves and the expanse from which they roll. | A few of us came away with damp feet. The waves were very sneaky and attacked most often when your back was turned for a picture.
60: Cold and wind are good motivators for family snuggle time.
61: After the wind and cold of the beach we found refuge in a little pub. Titus was definitely enjoying the hot chocolate.
62: Sister bug all dressed us for church on our last full day in England. This building was on the church property. After church and a delicious meal of grilled cheese and tomato soup, all the girls went to a bazaar that was happening on base. The most popular purchase was fudge. A light in one of the booths really messed up my eyes so I wasn't in a picture taking mood. The evening was spent packing up and hanging out. | October 4
63: Time zones will mess with your head. We left England at 2:00 PM on October 5 and after almost 9 hours of being in the air we arrived in Minneapolis at 5:30 PM on the same day. Kristel led the way to a "quiet" lounge (if you ignored the construction going on) and they all crashed. | October 4
64: Farewell to England!
65: This trip was crazy, absolutely crazy- and absolutely amazing. In Minneapolis I again separated from my companions and boarded my plane to Helena. I slept most of the flight. The plane arrived about a half hour early. Tassie arrived not too much later. She took me to her apartment and I crashed on the couch. In the morning Kristel came and got me. We returned to the Salusso homestead and my family collected me from there. There are so many events and memories which cannot be expressed in pictures or even adequately in words. This is a trip I will always remember.