Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Taste of London, Part One


Last year while perusing the Cunard catalog, I noticed an interesting trip that we have talked about taking "one day."  We have decided that "one day" should be soon as we are getting older ( if the good Lord is willing, older )  and take those trips while we are still able.  The Norwegian Fjords have always been on our bucket list.  We both looked at the trip and decided to book it for June of this year.  It was a perfect alignment of transportation there and back home.  As you know we have been to Great Britain a couple of times already on the Queen Mary 2.  Once you've taken her to cross the Atlantic, you never want to fly there again.  Yes, it takes time, but we are retired and have that!  


The above photo of the Queen Mary 2 was taken by Grayden on the Queen Victoria in the North Sea on our way to Norway. 



Would you like to go to Afternoon Tea?  Scones and clotted cream, tea sandwiches, and cakes are offered and of course tea or coffee if you are like Grayden.




As I've written before about our crossings, there is much to do on the Queen Mary 2. You can attend interesting lectures and visit the on board planetarium.  Evening entertainment always follows dinner in the evening. 



We love taking morning walks on the Promenade to get our two miles in.  There was a storm chasing us and one ahead of us the whole way, but the Atlantic was calm and beautiful!  As Captain Wells pointed out to us, the Queen Mary 2 is an ocean liner and built for ocean crossings.

After being spoiled for a week we arrive in Southampton, England.  We have a couple days before the Queen Victoria sails to Norway.  We decided to take a trip to visit London.  Of course, one could never see it all of London in a couple of days and we knew it!  


Our coach transfer to London drops us off at Victoria Coach Station.  We looked at maps at home and notice that our hotel in Trafalgar Square is only a mile and a half from the station.  Silly us, decided we could walk there and take in the sights and sounds of London along the way!  Remember we had our luggage trailing behind us.  Two large roller bags and one small roller was packed for our 23 day journey.  We excitedly began walking our way to Trafalgar Square.  


Grayden rolled the two large bags and I had the smaller one.  London was crowded with many folks as we began to get closer to Buckingham Palace.  The Royal Mews houses the state coaches, carriages, and horses.  Also the coachmen, chauffeurs, and groomsmen have apartments here.


Closer to Buckingham Palace the crowds around the Victoria Memorial was interesting pulling our cases. 



As you can tell by the Union flag, Queen Elizabeth II is not in residence.  If she were in residence, the Royal Standard would be flying.  


Did you know that Queen Victoria was the first monarch to live at Buckingham Palace?  The sculpture dedicated to her was designed by Sir Thomas Brock in 1901.  The statue of Victoria faces northeast toward The Mall.



We continued our walk down the Pall Mall toward Trafalgar Square. 



The Admiralty Arch commemorates the death of Queen Victoria.  Commissioned by King Edward VII, the Latin reads--In the tenth year of King Edward VII, to Queen Victoria, from most grateful citizens, 1910.  You may remember that King Edward VII was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  The arch links The Mall to Trafalgar Square.  As you can see there is construction that we encountered quite a bit of while in London.  



Walking through the Arch we see Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.  Admiral Horatio Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.  Yes, the sky is looking quite threatening.  Rain is beginning to fall as we approach our hotel. 



After placing our bags in our room we venture out for some lunch at the local pub that was recommended to us by the hotel.



After a tasty lunch we ventured down to the Victoria Embankment to catch a ride down the Thames on the Clipper boat.



The boats on the Thames give a good overview of the city sights surrounding the river.  We had a short walk to buy our tickets and board the boat.



The tide must be high as the Thames is flowing quite swiftly.



As you can see the rain is beginning.  The skyline in London is a study in contrast with the ancient and the new mingling together.



The dome of St. Paul's Cathedral rises above the skyline.



Shakespeare's Globe is on the south bank of the Thames.

  
The Tower of London looms ahead!  I must admit to feeling the power of the spot.  So much has happened in The Tower throughout history.  A guide mentioned to us that most folks living on our planet today were directly affected by the events that happened in The Tower! 


I'm excited as we pass under Tower Bridge.  Most folks refer to this as London Bridge, but it is not!  The skyline boasts the famous Shard in the center.  The Shard is the tallest building in the UK and stands at 1,016 feet.

  
The gold topped monument above is a memorial to the Great Fire of London.  The monument was designed by Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke.


Cleopatra's Needle was a gift from the Egyptian ruler commemorating Lord Nelson's victory at the Battle of the Nile.

 

The London Eye has a large presence on the riverside.  It opened to celebrate the Millennium and used to be the world's tallest Ferris Wheel standing at 394 feet.  


Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament are shrouded in scaffolding.  We were told that Big Ben (Clock Tower) was leaning and I'm certainly glad its foundation is being repaired!  We also learned its official name now is The Elizabeth Tower, marking  Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.


Getting off the boat at Victoria Embankment we walked back to our hotel stopping in Whitehall Gardens along the way.   


Grayden and I both enjoyed seeing the lovely trees and shrubs in this unique garden. 



One statue caught our attention of William Tyndale.  I'm sure you are familiar with him translating the New Testament to English.


His last words are recorded on this sign.  The Lord answered his prayers as you can see what happened a year later after his execution. 



As we headed back to our hotel, we were tired and ready to go to bed.  We have a full day planned up next, so I hope you will join us as we continue to get a taste of London. 








 













28 comments:

  1. Well, you have to know these will be my favorite posts! I'm so glad the rain didn't spoil your day. You were pretty brave to do the hike to your hotel with all that luggage! So glad you beat the rain by and large. I wish we'd done the river cruise in London. We did in Windsor and Oxford but as I see all you saw from your tour, I would have loved to have that view! Can't wait to hear what is next. (And OH! The Queen Mary! Sigh...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rain really cooperated with us, Jeanie. The Clipper allowed us to see so many sights that we wouldn't have seen otherwise considering our time was short! Thanks for coming along with us! It's lovely to have a kindred spirit along.

      Delete
  2. Martha Ellen, you are Grayden packed a lot into that day! And after dragging those heavy bags for a mile and a half! Your daily walks must have built some endurance for you both.

    Oh, the sights! So many buildings, statues, and markers with historical significance. Bekah would have loved eating in the Sherlock Holmes pub. (She is a big Sherlock Holmes fan and has read every one of the Sherlock stories.) The story of William Tyndale is inspiring. I love how you pointed out the answer to his prayer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheryl, we were so silly (stupid) to drag those bags all that way. But yes, the sights and history of London warmed our weary souls that day. It was a great surprise to see William Tyndale in the garden. Bekah would certainly enjoy London since she's a Sherlock Holmes fan. There is evidence of his presence everywhere we turned. ♥

      Delete
  3. OK.. I'm jealous! I would love to sail to England on the ocean liner and see the things you're seeing. You're smart to do it while you can still get around well. Thank you for letting us tag along.
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teresa, I'm so glad you are joining us on our voyages. I know you love the ocean like we do and there is much to see when we head up the North Sea. ♥

      Delete
  4. What a wonderful trip, may God bless you on your journey, I look forward to to reading about your adventures..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting with us, Lynn. Our journey was wonderful and it's so nice to remember it all here with friends. ♥

      Delete
  5. My goodness I must admit Martha that you were very brave pulling along luggage in London, but good for you. You took us on a delightful tour and brought back some lovely memories for me, it has been quite some time since my last visit. Looking forward to the next leg of your journey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lorraine, hindsight is 20/20 and I certainly wouldn't recommend pulling cases through London again! This is our first visit to London and I'm happy to bring back memories for you with our photos.

      Delete
  6. Well, my friend, you certainly hit the ground running! Then, having sailed over there is no jet lag from which to recover. I can see those gathering rain clouds too, and I know what we had, weather wise, in those few days! It's been a very long time now since I visited London, so I am curious as to what you will do next as your time there is so short! I know you will make the most of it. Last time I was there it was purely for a shopping trip on Berwick Street, a great place for fabrics of all sorts! Needless to say, I ended up in both John Lewis Flagship store for buttons, and Liberty's for other haberdashery and trims.

    ~~~Waving~~~From Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb, the joy of sailing to Europe is not having jet lag as you say. Our time in London was so short we were unable to visit shops that you speak about. The condensed visit to London was enjoyable, though. Have a lovely weekend! xoxo ♥

      Delete
  7. Goodness, you may be retired but you pack plenty into your days. I live about 20 miles from London, yet haven’t visited there for many years! Reading this, I think I shall have to put that right. Looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FB thank you for stopping by my little corner. I can identify with not visiting London since you are close. We live close to Washington, DC and rarely visit as well. ♥

      Delete
  8. How exciting! I can’t imagine the walk with pulling your luggage behind you but you did it! You packed a lot in that first day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz, that was not our finest moment pulling luggage in London! What were we thinking? Silly Americans! ♥

      Delete
  9. My husband enjoyed your post along with me. Such a nice trip and those scones and clotted cream! I am going to make some now.
    Do you ever go on these trips and think about not wanting to come home? I know after seeing these gardens and gothic architecture, I would want to stay.
    Steve is still talking about an Iceland trip and he wants to go. Have you and Grayden ever traveled there?
    Great post
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you both enjoyed this post, Betsy! I certainly am sad when we have to come home. Grayden and I were talking about that today, in fact. Of course, life can't be a vacation. I really enjoyed not cooking and cleaning for 23 days! Missing my family at home would tear at my heartstrings, though. We've never been to Iceland. Our two youngest grands have and everyone loved it there. The photos from their trip are amazingly beautiful! Get your passport ready and go!

      Delete
  10. Wow, what wonderful photos and it was so nice to see some of you and your husband in there as well! My dad really wants to take a cruise to England on the original Queen Mary... I keep telling him we need to figure it out and go. It would be such a neat experience! Have a wonderful weekend!

    Blessings,
    Jill

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jill, the original Queen Mary is permanently parked in Long Beach, California. She now is a hotel that I'm sure your dad would enjoy visiting. We did that last fall. You can check out my post at https://thejoyofhomewithmarthaellen.blogspot.com/2018/11/our-celebration.html

      Delete
  11. Wasn’t it Tyndale who said that he translated the Bible so every ploughboy in England would be able to read it? (Or something like that.) Lots of history there! I think you were brave to head for the hotel a mile and more away toting your luggage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was Tyndale, Vee. It was a lovely surprise to see his statue in Whitehall Gardens. His contribution to the hope and faith of the ages should not be forgotten.
      As far as lugging our bags all that ways, dumb, just dumb.
      Praying that today is good for you, my friend. xo

      Delete
  12. Oh dear girl. I can almost feel the sea of humanity as you trudged along with your luggage but...glad you had the energy to drop off the luggage and see all you could see while in London. Thanks for pointing out the Tyndale monument and what he is credited for in putting the Word of God in every Parish church. Glory to God. Looking forward to the rest of your trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The streets of London will forever be etched in our minds, Ellen. What were we thinking? It was really crowded as we trudged along as if we had good sense. Oh well, live and learn.
      Tyndale's contribution to us is enormous. It was so nice to see his statue in Whitehall Gardens. Yes, Glory to God in the Highest!

      Delete
  13. I had a suspicion that you were on a trip when I missed your presence on social media! What an amazing time! I still hope to make it across the ocean! One of our daughters and her family have been on a trip, first to Ireland, then to London, and now in Paris! They return on Tuesday. xo Nellie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nellie, it sounds like your daughter is on a grand adventure! I think it is your turn now to do the same. I hope you are having a good summer. xo ♥

      Delete
  14. What a wonderful trip, Martha Ellen. You're getting to see all the places you desire. Those scones looks so Yummy. I love how they cut the edges on the sandwiches for Afternoon Tea. The garden with the red flowers is gorgeous. That is a lovely close-up picture of you on the water. Wow, that ferris wheel is SO TALL - not sure I'd want to go on that haha. Yes, you can tell that the clock tower is leaning. I hope they start the repairs on that soon.

    So glad you enjoyed your trip, Martha Ellen. You will have wonderful memories to look back on and special moments spent together. : )

    ~Sheri

    ps.....I think I mentioned me and the girls went on the Queen Mary in California. We had a beautiful day and we all brought back tea cups to remember the day by.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sherry, I do remember that you and your girls visited the Queen Mary. Such a special memory I'm sure and bringing back teacups to remember it by was a great idea.
      We enjoyed London, even though it was a short visit. So much history, I'm sure you could spends months, if not years, trying to see it all. ♥

      Delete

Your comments will show after moderation. Thank you. ♥