Saturday, 22 May 2010

London... again.

So, I totally forgot to post from when Christopher and I went to London on May 8th. We haven't really had the chance to do anything just the two of us lately, and with all the stress of baby stuff and work, we needed to get out. One of Christopher's friends had family coming in that day and wanted his friends to meet them, so we got invited to dinner at the Hard Rock in London that night... perfect opportunity to sneak away! So, we left early and spent the afternoon wondering around London! I seriously LOVE this city... its so amazing. We've been here for a year and a half now and have been to London almost a dozen times and we are still seeing things we've never seen before!

Our day started out on the hunt for some sushi. I'd been online the night before trying to hunt a place down and found that on one street, there were quite a few, so we headed down to Soho and ended up running into China Town. I always find China Town by So, we walked around China Town for a while and contemplated just eating Chinese... it all looked and smelled amazing... but, we were on a mission. We finally found a little hole in the wall type place that had everything we were looking for on the menu. And it was awesome! We had TONS of sushi.... definitely satisfied our craving for a little while, anyway.

After China Town and walking around Soho, freezing our butts off, we headed down to The Victoria and Albert Museum (or the V&A). It was pretty awesome. We got off at the train station at Knightsbridge, and we walked down a Public underground (its like an underground walkway thing) and the entrance was right off the walkway... it was pretty neat.. we just walked into all these marble statues! It was an awesome entrance!

This statue was awesome... it was HUGE first of all, and incredibly life like. Its entitled: Samson Slaying A Philistine. It was created in 1562 by Giovanni Bologna and was sent to Spain as a diplomatic gift in 1602

We walked around the museum for a couple of hours. It was filled with all kinds of thing. The displays ranged from Japanese and Chinese art, to a history of textiles, to an entire hallway dedicated to wrought iron-works, to a gallery of all things theatre. There was tons to see.

This was the glass sculpture at the main entrance... I wanted to take it home with me! LOVED it!

A Choir book from 1380. This book is part of a set that included songs that were to be sung on feast days of different saints. The detail was absolutely gorgeous on it!

An original sketch of one of the Phantom's costumes for Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Phantom of the Opera"
After the V&A, we headed down to Harrod's and wandered around there for a while; killing some time before we had to meet Christopher's friends. We had an awesome dinner at the Hard Rock and then headed home since I had to work the next day. We didn't take as many pictures as we normally do... it was cold and rainy that day so Louise (the Nikon) stayed in the bag most of the day.

As we were walking into King's Cross to get on our train home, we saw these guys... we were pretty stoked that we found not one, but 4 Waldo's!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

London and York

On Friday Mom and I headed up to London. We started our day in Camden Town... its this funky market town and one of my favorite haunts in London. We had lunch and walked around the markets and then headed to down town London and to the Tower of London.

Once we were within the Fortress walls, we had the best view of the Tower Bridge!!!
The tower is most known for the white tower that's in the center of the whole fortress. It was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror.

Its so much more than just a tower though. There were tons of buildings and courtyards surrounding the tower, creating a powerful fortress.

The Queen's house and courtyard.
Back during Charles II's reign, his astronomer complained that all the ravens flying around were interfering with his view of the sky. Charles II ordered to have the birds destroyed, but then heard a prophecy that once there were no ravens at the tower, it and the kingdom would fall. So now, there are ravens held captive at the Tower to keep the prophecy from coming true.

The Tower has been used for many things over the years; Fortress, palace, prison, place of execution and torture, armory, the royal mint, observatory, and since 1303 its housed the Crown Jewels. We got to go in and see the crown jewels, but we weren't allowed to take pictures. It was amazing though! As you walk through, they had video of Queen Elizabeth's Coronation, so that was really neat to see. The crown jewels themselves are absolutely GORGEOUS! We also got to see swords and scepters, some of the gold plates, platters, and other things that were used in the Royal Banquets. It was so cool... I wish we could have taken pictures!

Inside the White Tower is the Armory. That was awesome to see. They had armor from lots of kings and their horses.
Henry VIII and his horses armor
A close up of Henry VIII's armor... I'm not saying anything other than this; either we now know why the man had 8 wives, or he had something he needed to compensate

We got to see some of the prisons and torture devices used.
Here's the Rack
After walking around the tower, we headed to the Adelphi Theatre to see the sequel to "The Phantom of the Opera"... "Love Never Dies"! It just opened in London in March, so we got to see it with its original cast! It was absolutely FANTASTIC!!!! We had our reservations, because, having to live up to Phantom was going to be difficult, but it was really, really good.

On Saturday we got up early and headed up north to York. The city was founded by the Roman's in 71AD and is now known as "England's Favorite City". And I can see why... its surrounded by huge stone walls and the River Ouse and is filled with cute, narrow streets, lots of shopping and great food, and lots of history.

Walking into the Walled city
We had a great time. We had lunch at a place called Betty's Tea Room and it was amazing! When we got there, there was a line out the door, but I'd read online it was worth the wait, and we only stood in line about 10 minutes or so before we were seated (and we were seated just in time... the sky opened up and it started raining right after we got inside). We had a great lunch and headed out into the cold and the rain and walked around the town. We made our way to the York Minster and were greeted with the amazing architecture of the church.

The building was huge and I couldn't get a good shot of the whole thing, so this is the front of it with the rose window there at the top.

The inside was just as beautiful

We walked up the 278 steps to the top of the tower and were greeted with this view. I was not feeling great, and therefore not in the best mood, so there aren't many pictures. It was rainy and cold, but really pretty. I dont know if it was worth the 278 steps My knees were killing me by the time I made it down.