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December 17, 2014

England: London, The Shard

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, London, Photography, Travel, Travel, United Kingdom, Writing — Tags: , , , — anotherheader @ 3:38 am

The Shard viewed from the Thames.

The Shard viewed from the Thames.

An embarrassing truth: The first time that Becky and I saw The Shard, London’s new tallest building, we thought it wasn’t finished. To us it seemed like there was some significant work to do to finish up the ragged top. Perhaps, we thought sadly, in the new reality of the post-Financial Crisis days, the builders ran out of money before they were finished. In fact it seems that the subtleties of the Shard’s neo-futuristic design were lost on us. Construction of the Shard was finished the first time we saw the building. After all, though we didn’t know its name at the time, the building is called the Shard for a reason. (more…)

England: London Street Art

Filed under: Europe, London, Photography, Street Art, Travel, Travel, United Kingdom, Writing — Tags: , , , , — anotherheader @ 12:51 am

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With free entry at many of its museums, art is easy to see in London. And in London, as in many cities, art is not confined to the indoor spaces of the museums. Street art, sometimes sanctioned, sometimes not, is everywhere. Walking about searching for street art has become a habit of ours. I don’t think we will break it soon. (more…)

December 16, 2014

England: London, the Statue of Emperor Trajan


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Curiously there’s a statue of the Roman emperor Trajan near the Tower Hill Tube Station in London. The statue stands in front of one of the remaining sections of Londonium’s wall. It is believed that the Romans constructed the wall in the early part of the 3rd Century many years after Trajan’s death. Other than their current juxtaposition, there’s no particular link between the Roman wall and the statue of Trajan. (more…)

England: London, the Greenwich Foot Tunnel


The southern, Greenwich-side entrance to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel

The southern, Greenwich-side entrance to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Did you know it is possible to walk under the River Thames in London? There are two tunnels, the Greenwich Foot Tunnel and the Woolrich Foot Tunnel, that pass under the Thames. These two tunnels are on the east side of London about 4 miles apart. (more…)

England: London, The Cutty Sark


Cutty Sark as viewed from below

Cutty Sark as viewed from below

The famous clipper ship Cutty Sark lies on the bank of the Thames in Greenwich. She’s been restored and is now open as a museum ship. For the admission price visitors get to explore the ship from top to the bottom. And I do mean bottom. Metal pillars support the massive 212-foot long vessel above an excavated hole. Suspending the ship in this manner enables visitors to walk underneath and get a unique view of a clipper’s metal-clad bottom. Exhibits along the way tell the history of the Cutty Sark and the clipper ships. (more…)

December 12, 2014

England: Oxford


Inside the walls at All Souls College:  All Souls has no undergraduates.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Souls_College,_Oxford

Inside the walls at All Souls College: All Souls has no undergraduates. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Souls_College,_Oxford

Hectic and urban, the city of Oxford is an ever-interesting place to visit. Though there’s more to see than the synonymous school, Oxford is first and foremost a university town. With teaching in some form going for over 900 years, Oxford lays claim to being the oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is considered to be the second oldest university in continuous operation on the planet. (more…)

England: Biddulph Grange


The Gardens at Biddulph Grange

The Gardens at Biddulph Grange

Twelve miles north of Stoke-on-Trent in the English Midlands are the extensive landscaped gardens of Biddulph Grange. James Bateman and Edward Cooke created the amazing Victorian garden at Biddulph for his collection of plants from around the world. Today the gardens are tended to and managed by the National Trust. They are open throughout the year for public for visits.

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England: The Swan Upping in Abingdon

Filed under: Europe, Photography, Travel, Travel, United Kingdom, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 4:42 pm

Swan Uppers rowing hard in Abingdon to reach their finish line

Swan Uppers rowing hard in Abingdon to reach their finish line

On the way from Oxford we passed through Abingdon just in time to see the finish of the Swan Upping. The Swan Upping is a curious English ritual where colorfully dressed men in a skiff paddle up the Thames marking the young swans along the way. There’s a 900-year history behind the Upping. By tradition, the British Monarch retains the right to ownership of all unmarked (more…)

December 8, 2014

England: Runnymede Meadow


The ABA's Magna Carta Memorial

Gigi plays ball at the ABA’s Magna Carta Memorial.  She doesn’t seem to appreciate the importance of the site.

Runnymede Meadow is a most unassuming historical site. This modest grassy water meadow alongside the River Thames, several miles downstream of Windsor Castle, is the location of the signing of the Magna Carta. When King John penned his name to the Magna Carta in 1215 it signified the beginning of the limitation of powers of the English monarchy and set the stage for our modern laws and government.

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December 6, 2014

England: Hampton Court Palace

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, Photography, Travel, Travel, United Kingdom, Writing — anotherheader @ 1:22 am

The riverside gardens at Hampton Court Palace

The riverside gardens at Hampton Court Palace

Along with St. James’s Palace, Hampton Court Palace is one of only two surviving palaces of the many owned by King Henry VIII. Full of history and interesting architecturally, the palace is today a significant tourist attraction. The building and grounds receive over a half-million visits each year.

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