Looking Back on London

Breakfast in London.  Dinner in Ottawa.  Today we head home from a wonderful week, and it promises to be a study in contrasts.  While London has been a thrill and a stunning spectacle, there are certainly a few things that we look forward to at home.

The streets of London seem to be packed with a bubbling, fizzing crowd at every hour of the day or night.  At first the energy was exciting.  After a week we both began to find it challenging.  Lines (“queues”), crowds, the jostling, the noise…it began to make us feel like we come from a small town, which in fact we do by comparison.  Living in London would certainly take some adaptation for our colonial Canadian sensibilities.  London traffic at all hours seems almost lethal compared to even the busiest rush hour traffic on Elgin Street.  One adapts.  I chuckled yesterday to watch Deb crossing Grosvenor Place against the light, winking at me from the median as I cowered on the curb awaiting the light.  At one point a young lady tourist stopped her to ask directions.  Deb set her on course with detailed directions from memory.  I thought she was going to call her “luv”.

Ottawa can certainly learn a few things from London.  After a week in “The City” I can’t remember feeling the need for a car.  Transit works in London.  Whether by tube, by bus, or on foot, getting around London was easy.  Transit is prompt and well organized, although admittedly not cheap.  Depending on the ticket purchased, it can cost about Cdn$5 for a one-way trip on the tube.

We walked our feet off in central London.  We just couldn’t get enough of the sights.  The City is beautiful.  Perhaps that’s the final image and contrast that we will take away from the trip.  Some neighbourhoods look just as they have for the last 300 years.  Many are older yet.  Buildings are monuments.  Perhaps because they were made beautiful, they last.  People will be living there in another few hundred years.  Imagine that when next you drive through Findlay Creek or Riverside South.  I can’t predict the future, but I’m sure that we won’t look back proudly in 500 years at the buildings that we are currently putting up around Ottawa.

Heathrow beckons, via taxi to Paddington and an express train…


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Trains, Taxi, Tube, Boats, Buses…..

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Many forms of transportation get you from Point A to Point B in London.  We know.  We travelled all of them:  feet, taxis, buses, tube, boat. Saturday was our final day of exploring, so we started out by taking the bus … Continue reading

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Mind the Gap!

Friday, another day of Adventure.
We headed down to the Thames River Boat Cruises at the Westminster Bridge to see the city from another view, with plans to travel to Grenwick for some exploring. Unfortunately, the 10:00 tour boat never showed up.  There was some unknown issues with the boats so we had to change our plans.

New Plan:  Off via London “Tube” to the RAF Museum in Hendon. Mind the Gap!

We spent a better part of the day exploring the buildings full of planes, helicopters, and history from WWI to Cold War to space.

Interesting enough I saw a couple of planes I few in with Rob:  P-40 Kittyhawk and the Harvard. There were numerous Planes & Helicopters in which Rob has taken taken to the skies.
I was disappointed that there was no displays for the Air Transport Command Division, who had a major role in the victories of WWII.

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“Mind the Gap”
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Lest We Forget….

On Thursday when I explored Westminster Abby, they were preparing for the Remembrance Day Service on Friday, the 11th.  I was able to walk through the grounds where the memorial was laid out for all the men & women who fought for our country and freedom and who lost their lives.  Unfortunately on Friday we couldn’t get close to any of the Memorials, but still paid tribute.  Here is a picture of the Canadian plot.

Here are some photos of Dad while serving in the RAF during the WWII.

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Thank you Pop, all the men and women!

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Hop On, hop off Tour….

Thursday I decided to give my feet a rest and explored the city by bus. It was great, there was a tour guide on all the buses.

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There was a Remembrance Day Memorial at the Abby, which the Queen attended.

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Here are some pictures:

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On my way to St Paul’s Cathedral, we past the RAF church. Beautiful old church dividing the street.

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St Paul’ was spectacular, well worst visiting. No pictures were allowed inside, over 1400 years old. I did climb 257 steps, 30 meters from the Cathedral Floor to the Whispering gallery. The Crypt was something to see, the burials, memorials, and chapels, I was in total awe!

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Of course there were more protesters!

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I continued my tour to see the Tower, London Bridge, Thames River, then finally off to see Kensington Palace and Gardens.

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We ended our day with dinner and Theatre, Yes Prime Minister!

Another spectacular day.

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Walk & Walk & Walk!

Wednesday was a day of adventure. I left Rob at the door of the Aeronautical Society to give his “Paper” at the Conference.

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I headed off through St James Park to Buckingham Palace to see Royal Mews (stables), and watch the Changing of the Guard. It was similar to Ottawa, except we were treated to carriages and horses arriving through the gates, and the Guard band.

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Then off to see the Guard’s Museum, Westminster Abby and Big Ben, truly magnificent. Upon arriving, I stood in awe, admiring the beauty.

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I then set off to Churchill War rooms, what an experience, exploring the Cabinet War Rooms – London’s Secret Underground.

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I continued to explore St James Palace, Trafalgar Square, then back down Piccadilly to meet Rob.

Trafalgar Square was nuts, traffic jams because of protesters, quite entertaining!

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A lot more pictures to follow when we get home…..my other camera has some beautiful shots.

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Arrived in London…Wow!

Arrived in London around 3:30 pm. All I could say is wow!

We are staying at the Parkwood Hotel on Stanhope Place, just across from Marble Arch, at the northern edge of Hyde Park. Simply amazing!

We took a walk through Hyde Park to see Buckingham Place. Guess what? I jumped up and down clapping my hands like a kid in a candy shop.  Rob warned that the Queen doesn’t like noisy peasants, and might come out and scold us.

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After some excitement, Rob pulled me away and we continued our walk up “The Mall” to Trafalgar, then on to forage for food.

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After refueling we continued our tour. Rob took me for a stroll along Piccadilly and Regent Street. Ladies, now this is the place to shop! Omg! I thought Vienna was great place to shop.

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Well off to bed, new exploring tomorrow, Buckingham Place, the horse stables, Changing of the Guard, Big Ben and on and on.
The question is…will sleep, I am way too excited!

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