Jan 14, 2012

Hello Ben

After a nice sunny day of strolling around, we ended up at the Westminster Tube stop where we strolled along the Embankment and then across with bridge to get a closer look at the London Eye, the aquarium and watch the boats on the Thames (did you know the Thames is the second longest river in the UK?). The views were impressive, but we thought, "Wouldn't it be more dramatic at night?" and so we popped into a pub.

After eating fish and chips with mushy peas and downing a pint, we strolled outside to this lovely view.

Big Ben, which everyone believes to be the tower, clock and bell, is actually the name of the bell. The clock is the Great Clock and the tower is the Clock Tower. It was built in 1859.

For those of you who like to be creative with your cell/mobile phones, download Big Ben ringtones here.

For more photos, click the "Scrapbook" tab at the top of the window under the "Mouse Tales" title or click here. If you click on any photo in the scrapbook, you will get the slide show feature.

Big Ben
Wikipedia Big Ben

Jan 12, 2012

Tower of London

First stop on the site seeing tour is ... The Tower of London!

We have William the Conqueror to thank for this bit of history. He started building it in the 1080s, so I guess you could say part of this fortress is, well, old. As the years passed, other monarchs added their own touches to the famous/infamous fortress, palace and prison.

Yeoman Warders, the ‘Beefeaters’, as they are nicknamed, have long been symbols of London and Britain. It is thought their nickname is derived from their position in the Royal Bodyguard, which permitted them to eat as much beef as they wanted from the king's table. They stand guard and give tours here at the Tower.

King Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn was tried and executed within the walls of the Tower on May 19, 1536. She is also buried within the chapel inside the Tower walls. Lady Jane Grey was also executed here and Guy Fawkes was tortured following the failed plot to assassinate James I and blow up Parliament.

You can also see the Crown Jewels here at the Tower. They reside in the jewel house under armed guard.

Don't forget to look for the ravens! It is said that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the ravens ever leave! You'd think this would be difficult since they have one wing clipped, but apparently being one-winged doesn't stop them from hightailing it out. My theory is that they have left to get their Starbucks, which just happens to be across the street!

There are seven ravens at the Tower, the required six plus a spare ... I'm thinking he's the one that goes for the coffees ... these birds are quite large buggers and members of the crow family. There have been some ravens that have been sacked (apparently they have to follow a rather stringent work ethic) One was let go because he like to eat television aerials and another because he frequented an East End pub. I'm guessing he didn't like coffee?

There is so much more history at this spot ... if you come to London, you must come here.
Find more photos here

Tower of London

Cabana Boy rides the Tube

The Cabana Boy is minding the gap as he waits for the next train.

Trying to figure out where to get off the train.
The Cabana Boy finally made his appearance at 0dark30 at Heathrow Terminal 4. After waiting an hour and a half for him to make his appearance at the arrivals area, I gave him a hug and drug him down to the Tube to rush back the hotel. There was no way I was missing breakfast!

Cabana Boy on the Central Line

So from the Picadilly Line to the District Line ending on the Central Line, we made it back to the hotel with plenty of time to eat breakfast and then venture out!

Off the train and headed to the Way Out.

Jan 10, 2012

Read and imbibe

Would you call this a bar or a library?

Actually it's both! Since I have to wait for the Cabana Boy to arrive, I thought I could at least partake in some refreshment in this literary spot. If I have to hold back on sightseeing until he arrives, I might as well do it in style. Right?

So here I sit with my Kindle in this room of old world tomes and a Magners and a plate of nachos. Only this plate of nachos isn't exactly what was envisioned by its TexMex creators.

Nachos are corn tortilla chips topped with salsa, melted cheddar cheese and jalapeƱo peppers. Mmm mmm mmm and an easy snack that any kid armed with a microwave can make. Hey, minus the microwave, just shred the cheese! Even those from the east coast of the US know how to make them. Okay, they generally use super mild salsa and skip the jalapeƱos, but we can't help their sensitive pallets.

But here in London, well in this establishment anyway, they managed to get the corn tortilla chips but that's about it. Okay, there is something that resembles salsa, but ketchup is definitely spicer. And this "salsa" wasn't served atop the chips but in a small dip bowl. I also got two more dip bowls filled with ... Can you guess? No. Not cheese. Ranch dressing. There's no cheese in sight! Interesting.

So, I polished off the chips and dip and am almost through with my Magners. Then I shall return to the room and try to sleep. My internal clock is bit mixed up. Hopefully the Irish cider will help my eyes close.

HURRY UP, CABANA BOY! I'm not saving you any munches! ;-)

Jan 8, 2012

On my way!

Have arrived in LA and now await the long flight across the pond. I'm proud to say I successfully awed the TSA folks with my packing abilities. My shoulder bag was pulled for additional security search and it was like a magician's hat as things kept coming out. They were very amazed at my ability to put it back to rights and in under three minutes.
I was a bit upset that my Premier Boarding didn't make it onto my boarding passes. I have ticket agents at both SM and LA try to get it to print on the ticket. I was smart and kept my receipt and showed it to Shane at the counter. He gave up trying to get the system to print it so he did it himself. My boarding pass now says "1 per Shane." I feel special now!
Now for the hope that no crying child is sitting anywhere near me. I plan to sleep. Well, after they serve me dinner!