Jan 4, 2009

London with Christina

I went to London with Christina and spent the day along the Thames near Westminster. Given that I've blogged so much on this area of London already, I'm going to keep the commentary light and make this mostly a photographic entry. 38 posts in I hope you won't mind.

Boone and Kenzie of Scottie Tails in front of Westminster Abbey.Hey! Those people ruined my photo!That's better.Churchill overlooking the Houses of Parliament.On a completely different sidewalk near the Thames...It seems England has their own Queen Mary, and a bridge full of red Double Decker buses. We can match'em on the boat, but they're way ahead of us on the buses.
Street art is alive and well.Christina looking at me like I'd just asked her to swim the English Channel, not cross the Millennium Bridge.FYI - That white thing on the side of the building is their street sign. Trying reading it when you're five feet tall.Down to the tube...This would have been so awesome if it had turned out.


Somehow in history class I missed the fact that the Romans were ever in England, which is why I found the idea of the Roman Baths in the town of Bath to be interesting and just a little bit odd. I mean England is England, since when is it Roman?

Anyway, the school planned a trip to Bath that I couldn't make for one reason or the other, so I decided to go on my own. Once again I caught a train from the Falmer station and was on my way.

The stairs of the Falmer station to take you over the tracks. The brick building of the station is reflected in the mirror.
I still had my rail pass... best idea ever... and just sat down in a quiet, mostly empty car. It wasn't until the guy taking tickets started kicking people out that I realized I was sitting in first class. I figured my pass wasn't good for first class, but I didn't think it would hurt to sit there until he made me move. He checked my pass, said have a nice trip, and kept going.

I rode first class all the way to Bath. Ladies and gentlemen I give you first class.
I got to Bath and was immediately greeted with some beautiful architecture.
I'd been told it wasn't difficult to make it to the Baths, and so I was exploring sans map. It was awesome.

I have no idea what this is, but I know it was part of a garden that I didn't want to pay to enter.
More of the same garden. It was pretty, I just didn't think it was worth 6 pounds.
So I continued walking, and I came across the Bath Abbey. Did I mention it wasn't hard to find my way around? More of the Bath Abbey... It was free to enter the Abbey and photos were not prohibited. Free and camera friendly, my favorite. An American flag. What? I'm quite certain this is the first and only flag I saw during my trip. The Abbey was small but detailed. The exterior was just as intricate.No surprise, very close to Bath Abbey is the Roman Baths.
The Baths were a bit pricey, but they are one of kind. I believe they are also a World Heritage Site, and they are trying to restore the location as best possible.
Part of the cost of admission was a audio tour, that I thought was actually very well done and quite informative. I started on the top terrace of the baths and eventually made my way down to the lower level.This guy was my favorite, he's the typical Roman. He's what I see when I think ancient Roman.
The signs were cool. Unobtrusive but with lots of information. I learned that the water is only green because the roof is gone and algae have grown due to sun exposure. I also learned that you weren't supposed to touch the water. Fun.
And this explained how the baths worked.Between the top and bottom levels was a indoor museum with the stones they had recovered from the entry to the temple that once stood next to the baths, as well as the golden head of Minerva. Partially behind glass was the famous hot spring that is so important to these baths. Like so many before me I tossed a few pennies into the water, made a wish, and was on my way. I eventually left the baths and began to wander the town. Immediately outside the baths in the square was a very talented violinist that had drawn quite a crowd. I listened to her play until she packed up her things. She was good.

I don't even remember if I was following signs to important "tourist" locales, or if I just walked and got lucky.

I came across a popular local pub, The Pig and Fiddle... which I thought was far too cute to be a pub. Even better is the "No bare chests" sign to the left of the stairs. Seriously out of place.
Anyway, I eventually found the Circus, which is really a building built in a circle, divided in three parts by three main streets. It was built in the 1700's and is considered to be some of the premier architecture for it's day.
Bath is big on circles, or semi-circles, and not long after the Circus I came across the Royal Crescent. It was built in the 1800's and is supposed to be the best of it's kind. I couldn't get very close, but I also couldn't get far enough away to fit the entire building in one shot. Since when does that happen? They say every thing's bigger in Texas... no, every thing's bigger in Europe.
Very close to the Royal Crescent is the Royal Victoria Park. Below is the entrance to the park from Marlborough Lane. The obelisk was a gift to Princess Victoria from Prince Albert for her 18th birthday. Only royalty.

I walked around the gardens, saw men lawn bowling, and decided that it was time to go back to town and catch the train. It was a nice little day trip, and I think I saw everything I wanted to see.