Friday, September 12, 2008

London: Sept. 1- Sept. 3

After Bath, we drove to Dad's company in Northampton and then we continued on to London. I walked around London until late, as Dad was in business meetings. Here is Big Ben at Parliament that night. The London Eye, located on the other side of the Thames, is in the background.

This is the exterior of Westminster Abbey. The day I actually went through the abbey, I forgot my camera in the hotel room. The Abbey is awesome... Many monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth and her arch rival Mary, Queen of Scots, are buried in tombs inside the abbey. The poet's corner was also really interesting. Many famous authors are entombed at Westminster, but there are also many tributes to authors buried elsewhere. Some names I remember: Jane Austen, the Brontes, Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott, Dryden, Chaucer (bleh), Hardy, Tennyson, etc. etc. As for non-authors, Sir Isaac Newton, Darwin, and Handel are all buried there as well.

Westminster is where the majority of English coronations took place. I saw the coronation chair, last used at the coronation of the current queen, and it is super old. There is an empty compartment under the seat where the Stone of Scone sat for hundreds of years until it was returned to Scotland.

Me in front of the British Museum. The museum is amazing and FREE. Unfortunately, they have so much to look at that it is quite overwhelming and really should require more than one day. Here are some photos from the museum:

The center of the museum... all of the display rooms branch off from here

This is a huge stone bust of Pharoah Amenhotep III from 1350 BC.

Ancient Egyptian tomb entrance

Ancient Greek pottery. It is hard to believe they could make such detailed work way back then.

The frieze from the top of the Parthenon in Athens. Somehow and for whatever reason, they moved it all the way to London.

Statues also taken from the front of the Parthenon.

Roman sculpture of a goddess

A bunch of old men

The actual Rosetta Stone! This stone cracked the mystery of the ancient Egyptian heiroglyphics. The same words are carved into the stone in three languages, including heiroglyphics. As a result, linguists were able to determine that it is actually a language and not merely pictoral depictions.

Cats, or mius, were sacred to the ancient Egyptians. This one is covered in gold and I think some kind of stone.

An ancient Egyptian coffin. You can see the outer coffin underneath it.

A mummy... creepy!

"Ginger," the oldest known Egyptian mummified remains from 3300 BC. The dry sands where he was buried dried the body out so it is well-preserved.

A crystal skull like the one in the new Indiana Jones... sans elongated alien head and magical powers. I would say it's real, but apparently recent tests have discovered that it isn't from ancient Peru or whatever, it's actually a fake made in Europe in probably the 1800's.

Here's another video... This one was filmed sideways and so you'll have to tilt your head to watch it. This will only make sense if you've watched the Harry Potter movies... and maybe not even then haha.

The biggest, baddest department store ever. It is also very expensive!

Another photo of a photo... This is an aerial shot of Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace... I did not see the changing of the bearskin capped guards, but I did see the changing of some regular guards. They walked with stiff legs and arms and they went through a bunch of seemingly pointless routines.

The golden coronation carriage. This carriage is pulled by six gray horses in full regalia. The carriage is so incredibly ornate with golden carvings and painted frescos on the sides. The royalty use this carriage to drive to coronation services and royal weddings. For other functions, they use one of the other numerous carriages kept with the horses at the Royal Mews.

Dad and I saw a ton of shows on our trip. In addition to the others mentioned, we saw Les Miserables, Wicked, and Spamalot in London. My favorite was Les Mis, but Dad's favorite was Spamalot. I have to admit, that show was absolutely hilarious. Tap dancing men in chainmail and armor, the Trojan rabbit, the knights who say "Ni!" and of course the sounds of horse hooves made by coconut halves all made the Monty Python play hilarious.

The famous Picadilly Circus

That's all for Europe! Now, on to Dubai!

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