To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Monday, June 25, 2012

F and I did quite a bit of walking around and sightseeing that Saturday afternoon.  As I look at my pictures, I realize that I saw a lot more than I got pix of.  The reality of the internet is that you can always find somebody's pictures or videos if you just know what to look for, so it's not the tragedy it could have been.

Here's an arch that Edward VII had built in honor of his mother, Queen Victoria.

If you click on it you might be able to read the inscription, which is in Latin.  F was able to translate it; I would have gotten fairly close on my own.  I guess if you're going to carve something in stone it might as well be in a formal (some might say dead) language.

Here's a monument to Yuri Gagarin, the first cosmonaut.  Unsurprisingly, the  plaque said that when they set it up Prince Michael of Kent was on hand to dedicate it.  It was to stay on the mall (pronounced "mal") for 12 months, don't know where it will be after that.

The Mobius strip with a star on it is a nice touch.

Here's the Queen Victoria monument that Ruth was hollering about at the Changing of the Guard parade.  You see a lot of actual gold on these things.  Gold doesn't corrode, of course, so it will always be bright and beautiful, but Ruth told us on Friday that there's a lot of thievery of metals from all of the ornaments and such.

It's pretty but it is utterly eclipsed by the monument Victoria built for Albert.

And here's the monument to Queen Alexandra ... for those of you who are not the history nerds buffs that F and I are, she was Bertie's wife (that was Edward VII, Victoria's eldest son) and sister to Dagmar, who was Czar Nicholas's mother, and George I of Greece.

We could not figure out the story this piece of sculpture tells.  Not for the life of us.

The Crimean War Memorial:

"That had better be Florence Nightingale on the front," I said, and indeed it was.

Close by was this startling thing:

Startling because at some point I was in an airport Hudson News or something looking for a book to read on my flight, and I picked up Dan Simmons' The Terror.  Read this and then tell me how this man deserved a memorial.

We saw a lot of other stuff.  I evidently didn't take a single pic of the statues at Trafalgar Square, was too busy looking, but they can be found online.  And I didn't take a video of the soldiers at one of the palaces, two of them in their dress uniforms and hats so that they looked exactly like dolls, stepping out of their little guardhouses and patrolling a few feet this way and that as they do every two hours (I think) while they are guarding.  I wish I had but was too busy looking.  Can see them in my mind's eye though.  F and I had happened to step right up to the gate and were looking at the palace beyond for a bit when they stepped out and began, and so we had a good view, but we moved away after a few minutes so the next people could step up.

We had to go back to the hotel before very late afternoon because F was feeling really dreary, and it was cold and bitingly damp.  One fairly horrifying thing had happened that day too, which took a lot out of us:  F hopped onto the train in the Underground and the doors closed behind her.  We had not worked out what to do if we got separated, which was really foolish:  cell phones do not work in the Underground.  F expected me to take the next train and find her at the next stop, and that was not an unreasonable expectation; but from my point of view, I didn't know where she was, but she knew where I was, and it didn't make sense to me to go haring off in all directions.  So I stayed put, and in twenty minutes or so she came back and found me.  Believe me when I tell you that we decided on the spot what we would do if that happened again, and a backup plan, and a backup backup plan.

Also, F lost her oyster card somewhere while we were traveling, and you have to swipe your card to get out of the station.  (Not like her, but her cold was taking her down.)  I picked up one of the "information" telephones and asked the nice man who answered what to do, and he said there would be an agent to whom we could explain what happened, and that he would let us out.  And that worked.  I suppose our foreign accents didn't hurt; not likely that we would be gaming the system.

So we got back to the hotel and that evening I had to dine alone because F was shot.  Wasn't really hungry so I perused the appetizers on the menu.  One of them was called "aromatic duck parcels".  I had that with a side salad and a glass of wine, and that was just about right.  I brought her up a bottle of water and some ginger cookies before I had dinner, and by the time I got back upstairs she was asleep.


CreoleInDC said...

Love that you guys are traveling the world and enjoying it!

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Hi, Monnie!

Yes, we had a blast. Already making plans to go back. I need to get off my butt and finish writing about this trip. We went to Kensington Palace and I need to write about that, and the Prince Albert Memorial which has to be seen to be believed, and some other stuff, and the trip home.

Definitely going back.

Anonymous said...

Pic from your blog showed up in Google Images. Here is the info on that statue from Wikipedia. A verse to the price women born of royal blood paid, and the thanks of a forgetful population.

Laura(southernxyl) said...


I just finished reading a book about her husband, King Edward VII. He ran around on her and so forth, but he also treated her with a certain amount of respect. Different era.