Tuesday, January 31, 2012

St. Paul's Cathedral and Wimbledon Tennis Club

On Thursday Dec. 22nd, we tried to get on the Internet in the morning in our room at the hotel and it was down. It had been wonky since the day we arrived. We had called the front desk several times about it and they did what they could. On this particular morning before leaving for the day Frankie mentioned to the hotel manager that it was out again. The manager apologized, said she would look into it, and gave us vouchers for a free full English breakfast at the hotel restaurant! SA-WEET! It was a 13 pound ($20) value for each of us and it was good!

English Breakfast
Sausage, tomato, bacon (although it looked more like ham to us), mushrooms, eggs, juice and coffee!

That got us off our timeline for the day but it was worth it! After eating we went to St. Paul's Cathedral, which we could see from the front door of our hotel.

St Pauls Cathedral (2)

It was beautiful, expensive and I couldn't take pictures inside. Boo! I don't like being told not to take pictures!  There was an audio guide including in the price of the ticket and it was interesting.  They had a short prayer every hour and they also offered communion at one point. We decided to climb the 530 stairs to go to the very top.

Climbing Stairs to the Top
I took some pictures on the way up!  Take that no-pictures-people!
It was worth the climb.  It was beautiful! Frankie thought he was going to die but I was very proud of him for doing it and making it! We actually climbed much more than then quoted 530 steps because there were steps to get in the front door, there were steps to climb back up from the crypt and so on. Check out these views of London!

London Eye from St Pauls
The London Eye from St. Paul's Cathedral
Financial District from St Pauls2
The financial district from St. Paul's Cathedral
Globe and Tate Modern from St Pauls
Shakespeare's Globe Theater, Tate Modern Museum, and  Millennium Bridge from St. Paul's Cathedral

Once we were done with St. Paul's Cathedral we took a taxi, because Frankie wanted to, from there to the Tower of London. The cab driver told us about the Texas Legation. Before Texas became an official state of the United States they had an embassy in Washington DC, Paris, and London. How did we not know about this??  Born and raised Texans, how shameful! He gave us the address to where it was, but we never made it over there.  If you would like to see the plaque marking the spot, you can see it at the Texasfirsthand website.

When we got to London Tower we were told that the tour we wanted to go on would take almost 3 hours, but the place was going to close in about 2 hours.

Tower of London Corner

As pretty as it looked we decided to go to Wimbledon Tennis Museum instead and come back to the Tower tomorrow. We got all the way to the Wimbledon Tube stop, then to the right bus stop and waited and waited and waited for the bus.  We were starting to get worried that would not have enough time to actually see the museum so we gave up and took a taxi to Wimbledon. Frankie was happy!

Wimbledon Logo


Frankie LOVED Wimbledon and he got to see Centre Court.  He grew up watching the Wimbledon championship matches and really likes tennis, playing all the way through high school and even coaching it for a few years recently.  I enjoyed going there too and I am not that into tennis.

Centre Court
This is Centre Court where the finals are played.  There were no lines painted because it was winter.
Growing the grass at Centre Court
There was also no worn places in the grass either, they were growing it!
Early Racquets
Check out the oldest racquet on the right!
Tennis Women Statue
Women's tennis outfits use to weigh almost 11 pounds!
Tennis Scoring
So that is why!!
Rafael Nadal's Signature
Rafael Nadal's Signature
Maria Sharapova's Signature
Maria Sharapova's Signature
Pete Sampras' Signature
Pete Sampras' Signature
John McEnroe's Signature
John McEnroe's signature
Frankie's new BFF
Frankie found some new friends!
My new BFF
They took me in too!  We are all going to Wimbledon together!
Biting it through the glass
I am trying to bite the Champion plate like Nadal does....glass got in the way.
Kissing it through the glass
Frankie trying to kiss the Champion cup!
I found out when we were done visiting Wimbledon that I took almost 100 pictures while there for Frankie.  You are lucky I narrowed it down to the few I posted!  Afterwards, we ate some fish and chips before getting on the tube to come back to the hotel.

Fish and Chips Outside

We could have had Pukka-Pies, but was not sure what it was!  We asked and the guy at the counter said it
was some kind of meat pie.  I think I will stick with fish and chips!  Especially because I wasn't not
sure if it was puke-a, puck-a, or pook-a pies and none of those words sound appetizing!
When we got back to the hotel we washed clothes in a European washer/dryer.  The hotel offered this service for free and it was our first experience with this type of washer/dryer combination. It took us a second or so to figure out which one was the washer (bottom) and which was the dryer (top). Frankie almost ripped the door off the dryer trying to open it when all we had to do was push that little orange button.

European Washer-Dryer

We found out after 4 days of being at the hotel that they offered free coffee drinks (lattes, cappuccinos, etc.) in the hotel lounge! That made me look forward to the next couple of days!  I hope you are looking forward to them as well!  Until then!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

British Museum and British Library

Continuing our adventures from Wednesday the 21st, we left Buckingham Palace and took a taxi to the British Museum.  The only reason we took a taxi was because Frankie wanted to.  He said that being in London meant that we had to take a ride in one of the black London cabs at least once.

We arrived at the British Museum and headed in.  One of the nice things is the fact that it is FREE! I love that!  There is so much to see here too.  The age of the relics in the British Museum is astounding!  It is hard to even wrap my mind around the age of  some of the pieces.  Let me share some of the things we saw while there.

British Museum
The entrance to the British Museum is rather plain considering how much stuff it has from all over the world!

Great Court
Great Court with its glass covered ceiling.
Lion of Knidos
Lion of Knidos (modern day Turkey) from either  170's AD or 390's AD
Rosetta Stone
THE Rosetta Stone- Three different language saying the same thing.
This allowed Egyptian hieroglyphics to be understood for the first time in the modern world.
Statue of Ramesses II - Ruler of Egypt starting in 1279 BC and ruled for 67 years
Giant Egyptian scarab from what is now modern Turkey from around 330 BC
Winged Lions
Winged Lions from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II about 883-859 BC
Dancing Woman
Ancient Greek or Roman Woman that was beside....
Drawing Statue
....this other statue.  The lady was sketching this one.  Want to see what she had drawn?
The Drawing
Er....I don't see it...do you?  I stood over this poor lady's shoulder to get this picture.  She had no clue I was there!
Gun Show
I have no idea what this one is called. I could look it up or I could tell you my title.
You are getting mine!  I call this, "Welcome to the gun show"!
Horse Head
We must have been getting hungry because we started to get silly.  Zoom in and you can read the
real description or you can go with Frankie's which was the bloody horse head from the Godfather.
Frankie Giving a Look
Show down at the British Museum.  Yep, hunger had really set in.
Wing Head
I wish I could give you more detail on this besides the fact that I liked it.
The museum is huge and winding and full of articles.
 I tried to retrace our steps using the British Museum website,
but with  my limited knowledge it was hopeless.
Molossian Hound
Molossian Hound - The Mastiff is a descendant of this breed.
Hound Head
But really, all I saw was a puppy (all things cute are called puppies in my world)!
Awwwh!!  He looks so happy!
Man and Wife
Together for eternity....double awh!
Temporarily Removed
Drat!  That was the one thing I really wanted to see!
The Gneiss sphinx of Ammenemes IV...didn't you want to see it too?
Granite Lion
I took this one because this is the face my cat makes when I scratch him under his chin.  So cute!  
Very very interesting or very very scary....I can't decide.
Baby Rattle
It is amazing that this baby rattle has survived as long as it has.  I am sure that
babies threw things like they do today back in the 3rd and 2nd century BC!
Baby Feeder
And then they used it as a neti pot....
Boxing Vase
The guy with the big butt on the right got a good punch in on the guy on the left.  Look at the blood!
I did find out that this was from around 520-510 BC by the Nikosthenes painter from Greece.

Acrobatic Statue
Umm...yeah.  This one I was able to capture the description...thankfully.
It is Roman statue of an African acrobat on a crocodile from the 1st century BC
or 1st century AD. That time period where it went from BC to AD had to
be a very confusing time...just look at the art it produced!

  Yours for 1650 Pounds
Remeber the Godfather horse head?  You can have your very own replica for only 1650 pounds ($2595)!  I think
that is a bargain! Seriously, they had this for sale in the gift shop and I wasn't the only one who took a picture!
After all the excitement and giddiness at the British Museum we left to find something to eat.

Onion Restuarant

I think the London city air did something to my brain.  I ate a place called Onion.  I HATE onions and avoid them at all cost!  But let me tell you what, it was a nice sandwich shop!  Not sure why they would call themselves something so disgusting, but they made up for it with some good food and the fact that they served Lavazza coffee (Italy's #1 one brand of coffee)!

Tuna Cibatta
Tuna Melt on Ciabatta Bread
Lavazza Latte
Caffe latte made with Lavazza
With our bodies nourished and the giddiness wearing off, we took a bus to the British Library. When the bus pulled up we saw the coolest gate leading into the library's outside courtyard.  I want a courtyard at my house like they have at Middle Eastern houses.  I love those! Ok, back to the library.

British Library

Using a Compass
Eduardo Paolozzi's rendition of a print by William Blake titled Newton.
The sculpture and the print illustrate how Isaac Newton's equations changed
our view of the world to being one determined by mathematical laws.  I heart Newton!

Book Bench
Seen in the library foyer. It's a book.  It's a bench.  It's a book bench!  Awesome!
I couldn't take very many picture inside the library, at least not of any of the cool stuff that I wanted to take pictures of that is.  So let me give you are run down of the magical things we saw.

We saw original works of literature, musical scores, and lyrics written in their own handwriting by George Frideric Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, The Beatles, Jane Austin, Leonardo Di Vinci, Lewis Carroll, Charlotte Bronte, Sylvia Plath and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbery Tales. If you would like to see some of these online, follow this link to the library's Turning the Pages system.  We also saw the original Magna Carta and some of the earliest Bibles.  You can see more about the Magna Carta and other artifacts from the library's Treasures in Full link.  It was an amazing place!

We saw a lot of history today and not just London history!  We called it a day and headed back towards the hotel.  I wanted to eat supper at the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub because of the history of it and it was close to the hotel.  Plus, having the word "cheese" in the name didn't hurt!

Cheshire Cheese

There had been a pub on this site since 1538!  Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was destroyed in the great fire of 1666, but was rebuilt by the next year.

Cheshire Cheese Years
This is the list of all the Kings and Queens that have ruled since the rebuilding of the pub!
We tried to go in but it was packed.  I am not a fan of large crowds so we backed out to find somewhere else.  I am glad my husband understands my strangeness and doesn't try to fight me on them! 

We went to Itsu- a healthy Asain inspired restaurant instead. I had the superbowl which had spinach, French beans, mushrooms, peppers, bean sprouts, carrots, leeks, tofu, cashew nuts, seedweed, and brown rice, in a fragrant Thai sauce and a cup of cold thai basil lemonade. It was so yummy!  AND I even ate it with the chopsticks!  That was the first time I was able to do that.  I felt so worldly! 

Wait, not worldly in the sense of sex, drugs, and rock and roll!! But more like....well...I can't think of the word!  So let me do this...  I felt so cultured!

Frankie ordered some sushi and prawn potsu (whatever that is) which had prawns (shrimp), seven vegetables, a free range egg, and udon noodles in a broth.  He didn't really care for it.  I think that it might have been because the noodles where much thicker than we are use to and it turned him off from it.

Basil Lemonade and Super Bowl
My yummy meal!
Sushi at Itsu
Frankie's sushi.  Do you see the tiny little bottle of soy sauce?  So cute!  He said these were good.
Prawn Potsu
Frankie's Prawn Potsu
Now that we were full of history, culture and food; we called it a day.  The next blog post in this series will be our visits to St. Paul's Cathedral and Wimbledon Tennis Museum.  Stay tuned!  :)