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Showing posts from August, 2015

Bucket List - Crown Jewels

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I loves me the jewelry. The more bling, the better. So, I was very excited to visit The Tower of London and see the Crown Jewels.

First up on our visit was a lecture by one of the Beefeaters also known as Yeoman Warders. Those are the colorful guards who must have served at least 22 years in the military, reached the rank of Warrant Officer and been awarded a good conduct medal.

Our Beefeater is not one of the guys pictured above. He basically threatened anyone who took and published his picture. I chose not to mess with him about it. He seemed to be a pretty cranky Welshman. He did give a thorough and entertaining tour and answered many questions from the crowd. It was certainly worth the time.

It was amazing to think that we were standing in a structure built by William the Conqueror and housed too many famous prisoners to list here.

History lesson complete, it was off to see the pretty stuff! The line seemed long and we were getting antsy since we were on the tour's schedule. B…

The National Gallery

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My Sunday in London was spread over two places, British Museum and The National Gallery. They were both within walking distance to my hotel and I got the bonus of checking out Trafalgar Square in the process. And, I checked out several side streets as I took more than one wrong turn going to and fro. Natch.
Per usual, I rented the audio tour and made my way through the list of highlighted pieces. You can check them out here if you're interested. Several of them were on loan to other institutions but I did get a feel for the quality of work in the Gallery.

I also learned I was a Philistine. After an hour so, they all really started to look alike to me. Not in subject matter but in "Oh, look another classic painting by a really famous artist. Next!" It was probably a combination of lack of sleep, physical exhaustion (17K steps that day was way above my norm) and frustration with continually getting lost but I was jaded. The thrill was definitely gone.

There were definitely…

Bucket List - Rosetta Stone

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I've always been fascinated by the story of the Rosetta Stone. Just thinking about how this slab of rock moved around over a couple of centuries until someone figured out it was the key to understanding Egyptian Hieroglyphics is amazing to me. I would have loved to have worked on a team deciphering it but I would have had to been born in the mid to late 1700s. No thanks on that.

While I was planning my London visit, seeing the Rosetta Stone was number one my list for what to do in the city. Apparently, it's number one on the list for everyone going to the British Museum as well.

I was politely waiting before the official opening time right outside the door that led in to where the Rosetta Stone was on display. I should have plastered myself to the door to ensure I was the first one in because a group of tourists with a guide moved ahead of everyone. I'll let you guess where they were from but some stereotypes are based in fact.

The doors opened and the crowd swarmed in. Fl…

The Omens Were Ominous From The Start

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I had to go to Germany last month for another corporate integration. I decided to add on a stay in London on my way home.

All by myself.

Eek.

I'm a huge extrovert but I'm also a scaredy cat so it was pretty brave of me to plan four days in a foreign country without a companion. A companion who might not know anything more than I do but will at least have a better sense of direction than I do. Which is to say, any sense of direction.

To make it easier and less scary, I decided to take some structured tours. I found a company online and was persuaded not only by the itineraries but by the fact that they picked up at hotels. Again, no sense of direction but getting to a lobby is doable. A very thorough search at Hotels.com to find a hotel on the list that had A/C, a lift and wouldn't cost a million dollars and I was set. It only cost me a half million dollars. London ain't cheap!

Here's the itinerary for my first day's tour:

Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Lacock and B…