January 8, 2007

January 8: Kings Langley and London


Roz and Alan's property is along the left hand side.

Kings Langley, Roz's living room: Tuesday 7:30 am GMT

We took our time getting up and about on Monday. We are, after all, on vacation. So after emailing the kids and the rest of the family, having some tea and eating some breakfast, we headed off for the train station to London.

I took a photo of the canal behind Roz'€™s house. They own a fair little plot of land along the left hand side of this pic. Then we walked past the façade of the old Ovaltine factory (which is being made into ultra contemporary apartments). From the train station in Kings Langley till we popped out of the underground at Charing Cross station was only 45 minutes. I stopped and took a picture of a "Way Out" sign. We got quite a kick out of that. As in, groovy, dude.

Once we were in London, I got the feeling that we weren'€™t really. I believe we spent most of the time in the City of Westminster.

We saw Trafalgar square and got a picture of me in front of one of the lions so the kids could see. The main thing that interested me there was the statue of Charles I that his son managed to save from destruction by Cromwell. I'd love to know the story of how that happened. It'€™s not like he could stuff the thing under the corner of his rain slicker on his way out of the country.

We walked down to Buckingham Palace and saw some sort of pomp (Roz says it was the changing of the guard, though the man with the gun stayed in one place the whole time and didn'€™t change in the least bit). I got a couple of pictures of horses there as that's what the kids would be most interested in. The men with hats came out blurry. And I thought my brother-in-law, Ryan, might be interested in the submachine gun.

From there we wandered toward Westminster Abbey, where I found several lizard type figures that I thought Nathan might enjoy seeing) and, of course, Big Ben, which Garfield saw on his visit so I figured we should check it out as well. ;-)

We were starving at this point and every little sandwich shop I saw Rob went sprinting past so we hopped on the underground and arrived somewhere near the Japanese embassy where we found a yummy Lebanese restaurant that was rather expensive and posh (and here we are with our massive backpacks that looked very out of place there). We ordered up a deal where we got 6 appetizers: hummous, falafel, sausages, tabbouli, spinach pies and something incredibly yummy that I don'€™t have a name for, but it tasted similar to an au gratin and was incredibly yummy. It was 40 pounds, though, which means we spent $80 on appetizers. !!! (The exchange rate just happens to suck pretty bad at the moment.)

We got back on the underground and came out onto Oxford street which was exactly the sort of place Rob had been hoping for. We hit several book shops and then found a cafe (Nero'€™s) and stopped and had some tea and read awhile. We were astounded by how many Body Shops we saw. And we were even more in shock by the English distaste for road signs. Though many buildings had the street names plastered on them, several of the newer buildings had nothing of the sort. And the maps are incredibly difficult to read because there’s not a decent amount of space between streets so all of the lines and words get munched together.

We caught the 6:09 train back to Kings Langley and just happened to see Roz as she coming toward the train so we called her on to join us. We had stir fry for dinner (made with cous cous instead of rice, which was very good) and then were introduced to several delightful little books, the first of which is a travel guide by lonely planet called Micro Nations. I a€™m considering becoming a citizen of Lovely now. ;-) We also discovered Ben Schott€™s three books of Miscellany: Schott'€™s Original Miscellany, Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany and Schott's Sporting, Gaming & Idling Miscellany.

And I had the best night of sleep I've had since last Thursday night. :-)

47 comments:

  1. why, on my explore page, is the title to this "23 photos"?

    grrrr, i had a lot of trouble posting this. it kept changing my "s into other things. and it messed up all of my html. ... very frustrating.

    today we're headed off to St. Albans Abbey. i better go get ready to go.

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  2. When I read your bit about your massive back packs I had visions of bobbies hauling you in for being terrorists rofl...sorry couldn't help it had to add that. So it looks rather cold there. Not many people around.

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  3. wow that would be creapy on a dark foggy night, or better still on a moon lit night rofl...look out for the vampires and ghosts meg rofl...

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  4. That looks like our Caltex service station signs hehe. so how much is petrol over there meg, in $ please and also litres if you can. Our prices vary from town to town and state to state but its around $1:30 per litre here was just told that 1US gallon = 3.07854118 litres...wow that means our petrol costs around $4:93 per gallon.. Is that cheaper than in America?

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  5. Well now I know why they call it the tube hehe

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  6. Wonder who cleans up their business that is on the roadway???

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  7. The changing of the guards no? I would love to go to England but there is no way I could afford it. Things are very expensive compared to Australia and America. sigh one day I might get there.

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  8. Aww Meg its a traditional ritual.

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  9. Hey where are the bobbies on bicycles two by two. Westminster abbey, the tower of big ben, rosey red cheeks of the little children..or something like that hehe just love that song.

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  10. Were you able to go inside? That would be awesome to see.

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  11. That is awesome. No wonder Ian says London is the best city in the world. It sure is one of the oldest by the looks of the buildings...green with envy here Meg...

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  12. lizard? are you sure its a lizard, it looks like a dragon with fire coming out of it's mouth hehe but then I have a very weird imagination tho. hehe

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  13. Meg? that isnt very nice. I think its beautiful.

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  14. Why do you think its worth making fun of? I think it's a master piece. Much better than the modern buildings that are all glass and nothing else. 'That building is a work of art, absolutely awesome and boy do I want to go see it all...

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  15. That's pretty cool. Christene and I just watched a Travel Channel show on England, and the presenter went along the canals for part of the trip. Pretty interesting how intricate the canals are in England and how they were the shipping routes before there were trains.

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  16. Did you know that Big Ben isn't the tower or the clock, but is the name of the main bell inside? The building is St. Stephen's Tower.

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  17. Hey Meg, did you tell those Brits that they have a Bear on their heads ;)

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  18. I thought they were dirty Q-Tips (our would they call them Line Tips there?)... :)

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  19. My sister almost got a nannying job in there. As in actually within the Abby itself (one of the parents worked for the school and got to live there with his family).

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  20. Those are the greatest mugs ever!

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  21. I became a citizen of Lovely in July or August of 2005, before it was called "Lovely" Man, I feel old...

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  22. No, bad Darryl, bad! No more talking for you! :-P

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  23. LOL They aren't called exits there?

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  24. I had to wear one of these while in my HS marching band. They were called shakos and they were friggin' hot...as in "make-you-sweat-like-a-pig-hot"!

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  25. Oh so that is what you meant hehe. I was thinking you were saying it was cool. rofl

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  26. rob's wanting the internet connection back to i'll try to answer things all in one go.

    it's not really very cold here. a fall jacket is plenty when we've been out. it's been drizzly, but not bad at all. roz told me it's supposed to be cold tomorrow. we'll see. i'm not going to hold my breath. i'm guessing that "cold" here is like "cold" in SF. anyone like me who has lived in michigan simply doesn't understand what all the fuss is about.

    as far as the architecture, barbs. its not that i didn't like it. it's just that it was so much! and it wasn't spread out so you'd have a little to look at here. it was all piled up on itself over and over again. it's like, to enjoy it, you'd have to stand in the exact same spot for three times as long as anything else you'd want to look at.

    yes, D, i did know that it's the bell named big ben. but i didn't know the name of the tower itself. thanks.

    as far as the way out. i did mean that we thought it was rather groovy as in cool. but it was there in place of an exit sign so i suppose the english don't like the word exit, just like they don't like having decent street signs on the corners of their streets. the turds! ;-)

    we tried to figure out the price of gas and roz's folks were guessing that it would be about equivalent to $8/gal. the last time i got gas in Colorado i spent $2.22/gal.

    the exchange rate is wickedly uncool at the moment. that has nothing to do with the price of gas, but i just want to say that again so you all know how i feel about it. ;-)

    as far as telling the musicians that they had bears on their heads, billy. well there was a police woman there that was stricter than your average high school principal. she wouldn't even let us cross a little itty bitty street to go stand with all the other stupid tourists.

    and otherD, what in the world was lovely called before it was lovely? and did you, as a citizen, get a vote in changing the name of the place?

    oh, and no. barbs. we didn't go in westminster. we thought there was a 10 pound fee and we weren't about to pay $20 each just to see the inside. but roz told us that's just a suggested donation. so perhaps we'll check it out again tomorrow. although we've been told to also check out saint paul's and the tower. so i don't know what all we'll get to.

    ok, off to bed with me. i need to put my feet up for a bit.

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  27. We don't need street signs! We either know where we are going or....no wait, we always know where we are going ;)
    It's either that or we use maps. It works for us.
    As for Way Out/Exit, they both get used and are in common usage, it depends of the company to use which one they prefer.

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  28. Yeah we use exit and way out over too. Ivy I like the look of London it looks soo homely really nice. Have you been on the big wheel. I dunno what you all call it. They are going into put on in Melbourne, though I dont think it will be as big as the English one hehe..

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  29. No, I haven't been on it, and don't intend to. Waste of money, just like the Millenium Dome.

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  30. I would think it would be pretty scary for anybody acrophobic. I think I would probably be okay till it was coming down...

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  31. I agree with Ivy, a total waste of money.

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  32. I'm the exact opposite, I can't do going up on those things, going down I am fine :)

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  33. I think the thing that gets me is when I'm facing outward (which is usually on the down side of the wheel) and can't see what is holding me up. I get a wee bit freaked over that. Not like someone with a fear of heights, but like something with a fear of plummeting to his death... :)

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  34. I have no idea what it is for me, I just really panicky about going up, and hate any movement of the seat and stuff.

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  35. Maybe something to do with not having reached the midpoint? For example, when I'm running for 30 minutes, I do horrible mentally until about 15 or 16 minutes in. Then I'm good because I know it's mostly done...

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  36. looks like fun:-D

    for half the pictures im seeing, my immediate reaction is "i was there!"

    so have you seen any british ducks yet? ;-D

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  37. are you going anywhere outside of london during the trip?

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  38. They are planning to come see me for a day, in Nottingham, which I am thoroughly looking forward to (not only because of the excuse to not revise...hehehe).

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  39. yes, in fact. and i took a picture just for you. (it's the one labeled "for the captain.") ;-)

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  40. we leave today for cambridge. we're hoping to see ivy on tuesday. :-)

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  41. I hope Rob takes tons of photos of you two lady's together.

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