Our time in London was to make contact with a few friends. Hayden and Andrea were also there for a wedding, and for Hayden to put in a few days in the Titan office.
We could see Tower Bridge from our apartment, so it seemed appropriate that we visit there. It was a cold and dull Sunday afternoon, but tourists were busy with their sight seeing as well as bunjy jumping from cranes. We were lucky enough to see the bridge open as a Brazilian navy boat went through.
We visited the British Museum to follow up on some sites we had seen.
First was the real Rosetta Stone – the source of understanding the hieroglyphics in the ancient Egyptian scripts. We had seen a copy in the sad Cairo museum.
The other must see was the Elgin Marbles, or as presented in the museum ‘The Parthenon Sculptures’. These are the bits of the Parthenon in Athens that were whisked away by Lord Elgin between 1801 and 1805, and sadly destroying more of the sculptures in the process.
The debate about who should house these magnificent sculptures still rages and the beautiful new museum in Athens has left space for them should they be returned.
First friend was ‘Pete from Antarctica’ as Hayden and Evan had called him when they first met him Australia. Pete had just visited Antarctica and that sounded very exotic. Tales of snow, penguins and walruses were intriguing to our young teenagers.
Now Pete has a young family, so it was delightful to meet them. Then it was off to a local pub for a pleasant evening meal and a catch up of 7 years.
Next visit was the Olympic Park where the 2012 Olympic Games were hosted. Disappointing, as they are in the process of disassembling most of the stadiums, to provide open space in East London.
Our last bit of culture was a visit to the beautiful Natural History Museum. I had never visited this grand old building before, and felt bad about that. Prime interest of course was the fossils that Mary Anning found on the Dorset beaches around Lyme Regis near where we stayed with Pat & Graham. We also wandered through the dinosaur skeletons and the Darwin Centre. It was a very interesting day.
We met Pete and Josh Schooling, who were on a whirlwind tour of Germany and London. Josh had been working hard with Hayden testing the Dambusters iPhone ap, so there was a lot to discuss. We met at the Blue Anchor in Hammersmith, a nice pub by the Thames.
We took a drive to Southend to see the longest leisure pier in the world, at 2.3km. We walked down it and rode the train back. It is an old underground train, given a new life, shifting tourists on the pier. The drive gave us the opportunity to see some of the Essex countryside.
We visited Mandy, Alex’s cousin and her gorgeous family. It was nice to meet such a special part of Alex’s family.
Such a quick tour of England. We treated ourselves and put the car on the Chunnel. Quite an experience to drive into a railway carriage and sit in your car for the 25 minutes that the crossing takes to Calais.
And writing this page was a test to see if I can update this page off line. Seems to have worked!