Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another Day of Sightseeing in London


Wednesday was another great day sightseeing in London.

St. Pancras Church

I got off the the Tube at the Kings Cross exit to immediately find this magnificent old building that is being turned into a series of luxury condos. I believe this used to be St. Pancras Church.

I love these British headline announcements to grab your attention and get you to buy a copy.

I wonder why the Ventura County Star doesn't go this route?

St. Pancras with the new British Library in the foreground.

In the British Museum's courtyard they have this very large sculpture of the Elephant's starting center, Gilly Cocuzza, in his stance.
 
How could anyone have predicted this great tribute to our landmark first season in the IFL's top league?

WOW!

Since they have monuments to beheadings in London, I did not dare to take any pictures inside the Sir John Ritblat Gallery where they house all sorts of treasures.

Among the artifacts in the Gallery were:
The Magna Carta

William Shakespeare's First Folio

The Gutenberg Bible

Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci

An illuminated manuscript of every schoolboy's favorite, "Beowulf"

Hand written works by John Milton, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, Charlotte Bronte, Lewis Carroll, Dante, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, Joseph Conrad and Virginia Woolf!

Music scores written by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Ravel and even the Beatles!

They also had texts from books from religions from all parts of the globe.

It was a very different and interesting hour in this very well presented Gallery.

I freely admit that I have Heraldry issues 

After finishing my tour of the British Library, I took the #15 bus nicknamed "The Heritage Route", from Trafalgar Square to the Tower of London. This bus takes you past some great sights in the heart of London. The next series are my highlights from the bus trip that I walked by as I walked back retracing the bus route.

The Royal Court of Justice

 If you want to sue someone in the highest Civil Court in the UK, this would be the place!

I loved the Royal Court of Justice's clock.

St. George IS the patron saint of England

He has plenty of work to do in London.

BRAVE SOULS OR JUST PLAIN NUTS?

The heat wave continues  and is all the buzz on TV and in the newspapers.

It got up to an unbearable 78 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday.

People were dropping like flies everywhere but these crazies just sat in lounge chairs at the Victoria Embankment Gardens tempting the fates!

London's EMT's must be nearing the breaking point!

All Hallows by the Tower Church

This is the oldest church in the City of London having been founded in 675 A.D!

This venerable church has seen, among other things, the funeral of Thomas More, the baptism of William Penn and the wedding of John Quincy Adams.

All Hallows has some great stained glass windows with heraldry of a seafaring nature that is featured in the next few photos.

Sir Francis Drake's family crest is to the left.

I like flames on my board shorts, on my T-shirts and now on my stained glass windows!

As I said, they have a very strong nautical flavor in All Hallows.

MAGNIFICENT!

A hundred and fifty yards away from All Hallows is this pub.

Pubs with names like this is why I only take pictures in London where they are allowed... BE AFRAID!

I liked both the color of this random building and the relief at the top of it.

Of all the sun pictures I've taken all over Europe in the last seven months for my good friend, Koreen FitzGerald, this is my favorite one.

Brian and Tom FitzGerald would LOVE this restaurant near St. Paul's Cathedral.

World War II Firefighters Monument

This monument has the name of every firefighter who died battling the flames in London during the Nazi's Blitz in particular as well as the entire 1939-1945 involvement by Britain in World War II.

Londoners trying to beat the INTENSE heat in the shade by St. Paul's Cathedral.

It may hit a scorching 79 degrees Thursday in London according to weather forecasters! I must drink LOTS of liquids or face serious consequences!

Sir Christopher Wren's St. Paul's Cathedral

He completed the building in his lifetime which is VERY unusual.

His goal was simplicity inside the Cathedral but after his death Victorian artists really added a lot of ornate touches to interior of the front half of the Cathedral near he altar.

The back half is still done in Wren's simplistic vision.

NO PICTURES ALLOWED INSIDE THE CATHEDRAL UNDER PENALTY OF DEATH!!!

Tudor Style on the left and perhaps some Cuban influence on the right

That concluded the Bus #15 Heritage Route highlights for me, now it was on to dinner and a play in the West End's Theatre District.

Dinner in Soho's Belgo Centraal

This very cool underground restaurant features food and beer from Belgium. I had a great soup and sausage combination platter (but still not as good as Sicilian sausage) plus a very interesting Belgian beer.

If one of MY parents had been of Belgian extraction, I would definitely have explored their culture's tastes. It definitely beats, oh let's say, Irish cuisine.

BELGIUM, IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THE WAFFLES ANYMORE!
 
At Belgo Centraal the waiters dress up as Trappist Monks for some unexplained reason.

The Trappist Order, who take a vow of silence, were founded in France but after the United States, Belgium has the second most Trappist monasteries in the world with seven inside their borders.

"The Woman in Black" at the Fortune Theatre

I was wide awake thanks to two humongous cappuccino's before entering the theatre. This was a two man play about a ghost, The Woman in Black, haunting a small English village.

It was both very well produced and well acted. This play has been running here for 18 years!

Some parts that had girls shrieking in fear and, I must admit, surprised me too.

This was the third play that I've attended in London since last January, actually the fourth one if you count taking Laurie to "The 39 Steps" a second time. It was another great night in the London theatre scene!

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