David and I went on a grand excursion to see some of the sights of downtown London. We were still a little loopy from jet lag (we realized we technically went to bed twice on New Year's Eve!) but we were very excited to have a look around London (me especially, since I've never been to the U.K. before!)
In a side bar, we had a really neat New Year's from the comfort of Sue and Mark's house (where we are staying in Dulwich, south west London) because from our third-floor bedroom balcony, we could see the London Eye and the New Year's fireworks at midnight! It reminded me of watching the Victoria Day fireworks from my bedroom window at 14 Hambly.
We hopped on the train at Dulwich North station and took it to London Bridge. From there it was a short walk to the south shore of the Thames - wow! Here was my first glimpse of the Thames, and the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral.
David planned the whole walk himself so I would be surprised with that we were going to see. Lo and behold, suddenly I saw a sign that said "Shakespeare's Globe Theatre" - OMG!
It had a really neat gate leading up to its courtyard with various animals and characters shaped in the metal.
Next we walked past the National Theatre. David said this building is a key example of post-post-modernist-barbarism-something-something architecture, and that people either love it or hate it. Neat. We debated whether the accompanying statue of Lawrence Olivier was life sized or not.
Next, we strolled past the London Eye! I knew it was huge but it is HUGE! We will have to reserve tickets and go on it sometime soon. There were lots of people riding it on New Year's Day (and LOTS of evidence strewn around of partying the night before! Confetti, broken bottles, streamers... I didn't get a picture of those.)
Next we crossed a bridge (and looked off to the distance to barely see MI6, home of James Bond) and enjoyed a great view of the Parliament Buildings, and the Big Ben clock tower. Like my Canadian mitts?
Next, we randomly found ourselves stuck in the middle of a series of marching band parades. It was the most random thing. We were like, do they even go in for marching bands in the UK? In the end, we think they were all American!
The bells of Westminster Abbey were pealing continuously - we think maybe because it was New Year's Day? It was an absolutely gorgeous sound. On the side wall of the Abbey a bright blue sundial reads "Let the people praise thee, O God!" I still haven't decided what I'm wearing to the royal wedding this April.
Here is the second marching band that crossed our path just next to the Abbey.
We strolled through Saint James Park...
...which gives way to...
Cue dialogue from Cool Runnings:
Yul Brenner: And after I, Yul Brenner, win the Olympics and become famous, I'll leave the island, and live right down there. [Produces folded postcard. Sanka Coffie erupts with laughter.] What you laughin' 'bout? What you laughin' 'bout??
Sanka Coffie: That's Buckingham Palace. You plan on living there, you're going to have to marry the Queen.
Hilary: So, would that be Queen Victoria there?
David: It says "Victoria" right under her.
Me: Nice wide boulevard... hey, would this qualify as a mall?
David: This is *the* Mall.
Ambling along the Strand! We ate English lamb shank pie at this pub. Yumm.
Cue dialogue from Topsy Turvy:
[rehearsing "Three Little Maids from School" and trying to take choreographic cues from three terribly confused young Japanese women]
Gilbert: Excellent! First rate, thank you very much indeed. Good! Now, Daubin, that is exactly what I want.
Daubin: I do beg your pardon Mr. Gilbert but I appear to have missed the point somewhat.
Gilbert: That is the very effect I need.
Daubin: And what effect exactly is that?
Gilbert: Did you not see what they did?
Daubin: Yes, they walked downstage.
Barker: They appeared to me to be ambling along the Strand.
Jessie Bond: Simply walking.
Gilbert: They walked downstage in the Japanese manner!
Daubin: They walked downstage in the Japanese manner because they are Japanese.
The Savoy Hotel! I have more Topsy Turvy dialogue that would go with this but I will spare you.
Hilary: I am so confused! I don't know where the traffic comes from.
David: Well, Hilary, when a mommy car and a daddy car love each other very much....
P.S., please note that this photo was taken around 4:30 in the afternoon. It was pitch dark by then!
Saint Paul's Cathedral up close. Whew - what a day!