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England 2005 Trip

I was in England from May 20-26, 2005. I spent about 3 days in London and 3 days in Oxford. While there I did various tourist things documented below.

Click on the thumbnail images to get larger ones (around 100-300K).

Tower of London

Tower of London Tower Bridge Westminster area

* [Tower of London] A view of the Tower of London from across the street by the Tower Hill underground (subway) exit (May 2005)

* [Tower of London [left]] A view of the left side of the Tower. To the left, the glass building is the World Trade Center. Kind of a contrast of old and new. (May 2005)

* [Tower of London [center]] A center view of the Tower. (May 2005)

* [Tower of London [right]] A view of the right side of the Tower. The grassy area is pretty impressive. (May 2005)

Tower Bridge

After the Tower of London, I walked across the Tower Bridge and to the south side of the Thames, looking at some artwork, including the Weee Man, artwork on the waste generated by electronic and electrical appliances. The new City Hall is in this area, a cool looking glass building (but I didn't take any pictures of it). I believe it was designed by the company that did the Swiss Re Headquarters and the Great Hall addition to the British Museum.

* [The Tower of London with the Tower Bridge] The Tower Bridge is visible in the distance beyond the Tower of London. (May 2005)

* [The Tower Bridge] The Tower Bridge. (May 2005)

* [The Tower Bridge] And another view of it. (May 2005)

* [The Tower Bridge] Between the two towers of the Tower Bridge. (May 2005)

* [Right side of the Tower Bridge] The right side of the bridge. (May 2005)

* [Left side of the Tower Bridge] The left side of the bridge, notice the gargoyles at the top. (May 2005)

* [The Tower Bridge] In case it wasn't clear, this is the Tower Bridge. I like the shot, with the narrow depth of field and difference in contrast between the foreground and background. (May 2005)

* [Shwing!] This is a picture of the Swiss Re Headquarters which was errected from 2001-2004. It's highly ecological, efficient, and of course, phallic. I think there's nothing more I can say. (May 2005)

* [The Standard Tower Bridge picutre] This is a nice view of the Tower Bridge from the south bank, to the west of the bridge looking east. (May 2005)

* [] The Weee Man is made from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equiment (hence the name Weee). The teeth are made of computer mice, there are computer monitors visible in the body, and various other electronic stuff. It's just southwest of the Tower Bridge, on the south bank of the Thames. It's rather striking, and looks like something from The Terminator. (May 2005)

* [] This shot is of the London skyline from the south side of the Thames looking north, with the Wee Man at my back. The sun was glinting off the Swiss Re building which caught my eye. The Mister Softee truck was not intentionally included in the picture, but I think it's a nice contrast to the glass building the Swiss 'errected.' (May 2005)

London at Night

I did a lot of walking on this trip. On Friday, I started at the Tower of London and then worked my way back along the Thames, crossing the bridges, back and forth, checking out the south side and then the north side and then back again. I think I crossed the Tower Bridge (twice), the Millenium, Blackfriars, and Waterloo bridges. I think I missed the London Bridge.

I passed The London Eye, the big ferris wheel. Behind it, the square had trees with funky blue and purple lights in them. By the Waterloo bridge, I took a couple pictures of the Parliament area. They're a bit overexposed (5 seconds, 200 ASA film), but are still kind of intersting.
* [Behind the London Eye] After all of the bridge crossings, back and forth, slowly working my way west along the Thames, I came to the London Eye, the big ferris wheel built as one of the millenium projects in 2000. Behind the Eye, there's a plaza with trees lit up by blue and purple lights. Looks kind of cool. So this is just south of the Eye, on the south bank, facing south. (May 2005)

* [Big Ben at night] A shot of Big Ben at night. A bit overexposed. The photo, that is. (May 2005)

* [Parliament at night] Another shot of Big Ben and Parliament at night from across the Thames. (May 2005)

Westminster Area

The Westminster Area is probably what first comes to mind when people think of London. Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street. The London (square) mile, a mile or so to the east, is the financial center of London. Saint Paul's Cathedral is the religious center. And Westminster, to the west of those, is the political center of London, as well as England. Monarchs are crowned in Westminster Abbey, the Prime Minister, as well as other government officials, live on Downing Street, and Parliament, made up of the House of Lords and House of Commons, make the laws of the land.

There are centuries of political history here, visible in the architecture. I took the "Old Westminster" walking tour of the area from London Walks, and it was quite interesting.

* [Big Ben] Big Ben. What else is there to say, it is one of the landmarks of London. (May 2005)

* [The top of Westminster Abbey] Westminster Abbey, or at least the top half. This is where monarchs have been crowned for the past 900 years and important figures are laid in state for public viewing before their funeral. Princess Diana and the Queen Mother were the last two. (May 2005)

* [Westminster Abbey] The lower half of Westminster Abbey, with people waiting in line to get in. The wait is around an hour, so I skipped it. (May 2005)

* [The Monarch's entrance to Parliament] The Monarch's Entrance to Parlaiment. Funky Parliament tradition: for the State Opening of Parliament, both houses of Parliament attend together. A representative with the title of Black Rod approaches the House of Commons, and the doors are slammed in his face. He must knock and be admitted and issue the summons and then the House of Commons goes to the House of Lords to hear the speech. No monarch is permitted to set foot in the House of Commons. (May 2005)

* [A view of Parliament from college green] College green isn area just across the street from the Houses of Parliament. It's a pretty little rectangle of grass, noted for being the place where people are interviewed for the television news, so they'll have Parliament as a backdrop. (May 2005)

* [A door to a flat] The door to an apartment ("flat") that's a few blocks away from Parliament. They tend to date from the 1800s. Some of them had fire-snuffers to douse the candles they would carry, or boot-scrappers, so they could scrape the mud and filth off their boots before entering. This one just looked cool. (May 2005)

* [Bomb shelter sign from WWII] A remnant from World War II. On Little Smith Street, a block or two away from the Houses of Parliament. It's reminiscent of the faded 'fallout shelter' signs visible on the occasional building of the US, except it wasn't just the threat of an attack, London was bombed. (May 2005)

* [Statues of 20th Century Martyrs at Westminster Abbey] In 1998, Westminster Abbey added statues of 10 20th Centry Martyrs to it's entrance. The abbey is 900 years old and the niches had been empty for centuries. Martin Luther King is the 4th one from the left. For more details on the statues, click here. (May 2005)

* [Status of Abraham Lincoln] A status of Abraham Lincoln. Parliament Square includes status of various political figures, including Lincoln, Churchill, Robert Peel, Lord Palmerston, Ian Christian Smuts, Derby, Disaeli, George Canning, and Oliver Cromwell. For more information, click here. (May 2005)

* [Downing Street] Downing Street, where the Prime Minister lives. Technically speaking, Number 10 is the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury, and Number 11 is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which is to say the number 2 person. Currently, Tony Blair, the prime minister, lives in Number 11 and the Gordon Brown lives in Number 10. The road has been blocked off since 1989, after an IRA mortar attack. Notice the guard with a machine gun just beyond the gate. Different from the lone Bobby that used to stand guard outside of Number 10 'back in the day.' (May 2005)

* [The Horse Guards] The Horse Guards. I'm assuming they are guards on horses, as opposed to the horses themselves being the guards, or the guards who only specialize in guarding horses. A tour guide mentioned the guards tends to be rather young. (May 2005)

The British Museum

I took a walking tour of the British Museum. It's an amazing museum, with so many artifacts from the ancient world. Sure, they've been plundered from everywhere in the world. That's a different discussion. While there, I saw the Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marble, Assyrian temple stuff, the Sutton Hoo man, the Lindow Man, Egyptian mummies, the reading room, and more. Oh, and admission is free.
* [Elgin Marble] The Elgin Marble at the British Museum. This was taken from the Temple of Athena in Greece. (May 2005)

* [The Great Court] This and the next two pictures are of the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, which was opened in 2000. The gridwork on the ceiling was casting a cool shadow on the wall of the hall. (May 2005)

* [The Great Court] Another shot of the Great Court and the dome. (May 2005)

* [The Great Court] A view of people in the Great Court. The sun went behind a cloud just before I took this and the shadows went away. Right after it came out again, I took this shot. (May 2005)

* [The Reading Room] The Reading Room of the British Museum. A beautiful library that was opened to the public in 2000. Before then you needed a 'reader's ticket' to enter. The Reading Room was used by many famous figures, including Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipping, and H.G. Wells. It used to be the main reading room of the British Library, but that was moved in 2000. (May 2005)

* [The Reading Room] Another view of the Reading Room. (May 2005)

* [The Reading Room] Yet another view of the Reading Room. (May 2005)

* [Bird of Paradise plant outside of The
British Museum] An art exhibit was in the garden, just outside of The British Museum. I took a picture of a Bird of Paradise plant with the museum in the background, out of focus. I like the shot. (May 2005)

The Tate Modern

The Tate Modern art museum opened in the year 2000 in an old, closed power station. There is no admission, only suggested donations. What can I say, it's a pretty cool and hip art musem. I only took pictures of the building and its views, not the art inside.
* [The Tate Modern Art Museum building] The building used to be an old power station, and looks like it. It has a large tower that used to be the smoke stack. (May 2005)

* [Outside the museum, facing the Thames] Outside the building, facing the Thames, the Millenium Bridge connects the Tate Modern to St. Paul's Cathedrawl. The bridge is a pedestrian foot-bridge and looks like large power cables. The locals call it 'the wobbly bridge' although it's pretty sturdy. (May 2005)

* [The view of the Thames from the Tate Modern Musuem] The fifth floor has a few galleries that overlook the Thames. The view is absolutely amazing. This gallery has comfy couches to sit on and coffee table books about the exhibits and the artists for people to peruse. I asked the museum guard if I could take this picture, and she said that was fine. Taking pictures of the art is prohibited though. This was between 8 and 9 at night. (May 2005)

Buckingham Palace and the Parks

On Sunday, my last day in London, I started wandering north, passing Victoria station, then happened to wander by Buckingham Palace just before noon. There were hundreds of people gathered in front of the gates. It was the Changing of the Guard. I must admit, I didn't feel like being that much of a tourist, so I wandered around St. James park, the gardens by the palace. After that, I walked by Green Park, and then, eventually, Hyde Park. I think I stopped short of Kensington Gardens, decided it was high time for lunch and left Hyde Park around the Hyde Park Mews area. I've no idea what a "mews" is, but they seem to be here and there. OK, I guess it's a "back street."
* [St. James Park] St. James Park is right next to Buckingham Palace, on the grounds. It's a fairly large area (kind of like the reflecting pool area in DC) that's immaculately maintained. St. James Park lake is in the middle, with lots of weeping willows and various bright, colorful flowers and cool birds. I'm not sure if it's considered the cannonical English Garden, but it is a pretty cool place. Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention that it is a royal park which mean that it's like other parks, only better (sort of like anything associated with the Elves in Lord of the Rings). (May 2005)

* [St. James Park] Another shot of St. James Park. At the time, the Changing of the Guard was occuring at Buckingham Palace. Too many people for me. I decided it would be better to wander around the park. (May 2005)

* [Pelicans in St. James Park] Pelicans in St. James Park. The pelicans were first presented in the late 17th Century as a gift from a Russian Ambassador, and have been there ever since then. I guess pelicans became the sort of standard gift. It should be noted that these are pretty damn big birds. There was a child standing next to the birds right before I took the picture who was significantly smaller than the pelicans. (May 2005)

* [The road to Buckingham Palace] The road to Buckingham Palce. In England the traffic lights show yellow, in addition to red, just before they turn green. This is visible on the traffic light near the fountain. (May 2005)

* [Front gate of Buckingham Palace] The front gate of Buckingham Palce. Like Mel Brooks said, "It's good to be King." (May 2005)

* [A guard in front of Buckingham Palace] A guard in front of Buckingham Palace. There was another one, about an equal distance off to the right of the picture. He's sort of like a screen saver. Generally stands still, but occasionally switches arms that he's holding his gun, then occasionally takes a step, and every once in a while, he'll march to the right, then back to the left to the hut, repeat the process, and then go back into suspended mode. Perhaps they have to change them because they lock up... (May 2005)

* [A ROYAL street cleaner] Well, someone has to clean up once the party ends, or in this case, the guards change and the thousands of tourists move on. I should note that his bin has the ropes that cordon off the area, as the tourists crowd around the gate for the changing of the guards. He's not hauling garbage. In addition, since he's working for Buckingham Palace, he is a royal street cleaner, which means he's essentially the same as a normal street cleaner, only better! Not sure how that would rank against an Elf street cleaner, but if you had a royal Elf street cleaner, well, phew, that'd pretty much beat anything in anyone else's hand. (May 2005)

* [Green Park] Green Park is just beyond St. James Park. It has grassy fields where English kids can play games that are either of little interest or completely unintelligible to Americans. I must admit that I sort of stole the idea for this picture. I saw someone with a camera setting up the picture. Once he left, I took a similar one. I had to wait a few minutes until several people had walked and joged by and were out of the frame It was quite a pretty area. (May 2005)

* [The Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park-left] The Serpentine Lake goes through Hyde Park. It was created by Queen Caroline in 1730. This is a view looking to the left. (May 2005)

* [The Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park-right] This is a view of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park looking to the right. People were renting row boats. A number of people were rollerblading in the park. A few had set up some serpentine slalom courses made up of paper or plastic cups, but I didn't see anyone actually SKATING through them or even attempting it. I'm sure someone does or did at some point in time. (May 2005)

* [Hyde Park Mews] What the hell is a mews? Well, this street was called Hyde Park Mews. I believe it's back street sort of area. I just liked the way the houses looked. (May 2005)

* [Light pole fish] OK, this is a light pole with some sort of ornamental fish wrapped around it. I guess it's more of a sea-serpent. It looked pretty cool, though someone freaky. (May 2005)

Arriving in Oxford

The next stop was Oxford, England. I took the train from Paddington Station in London to Oxford. They have an express train that makes one stop and takes an hour. That was not the train I took. The one I took made 15 intermediate stops and took around 2 hours. By the time I got to Oxford, the sun was going down and it was starting to rain. At that point, I was irked enough with British transportation (yes, it always is someone else's fault, not mine for having taken the wrong train), that I decided to walk to the hotel. It was about 1.5 miles away and I had a suitcase (with wheels) in tow and it rained at points. However, I must say that it gave me a chance to see Oxford at a slow pace and kind of get a better idea of where things are located.

* [Outside the Paddington Train Station] This was outside of the Paddington Train Station, which is a Grand Central Station of London. This is where I took the train to Oxford. (May 2005)

* [Inside the Paddington Train Station] This is what the Paddington station looks like from the inside. The trains come and go from the tunnel in the distance. (May 2005)

* [Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford] The Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford. It had just rained, hence the reflections in the stret. And it was late in the day, so the cathedral was just catching the end of the day light. The glow was pretty cool. (May 2005)

* [Sunset on the Thames] Sunset on the River Thames on the Folly Bridge. As I was walking the mile and a half to my hotel, I passed over the Thames, just as the sun was getting low in the sky. As irked as I was about taking the non-express train, I had to admit, it was pretty damn beautiful. (May 2005)

* [Sunset on the Thames] Another picture of the sunset as I crossed the River Thames on the Folly Bridge. (May 2005)

Oxford, the City and the University

I spent Wednesday, my free day, wandering around Oxford. I walked by some of the buildings, and passed various places in the city and on the University campus. I generally didn't go into the campus because you have to pay to get in. Well, that's not completely true. The first evening I was walking by the Thames, watching the teams of rowers row row rowing their boats. Then I found myself in Christchuch College, trying to figure out how to get out. I eventually managed to escape.
Wandering around town, I took some pictures of campus, some of the museums, like natural history and science, some of the main streets like Magdalen Street and Abingdon Road, along the Thames, and more. Oxford is a pretty, though surprisingly crowded, place.
* [Oxford Ashmolean Museum] The Ashmolean Musuem of Art and Archaeology. I've no idea what's acutally in it, but it looks cool. I was standing across the street from it, near the theater (I saw Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Wednesday night) and wound up having to wait about 5 minutes to take the picture, because of traffic and people walking and biking into the frame, as well as delivery vans ("lorries"?) pulling up in the middle of the picture. Anyway, I thought it was a cool looking building. I'm sure the museum is also nice. (May 2005)

* [Looking towards the main square in Oxford] The main pedestrian roadway in Oxford is quite crowded and has various street performers. I was suprised at how busy and touristy Oxford is. I figured everyone would be at the library studying or something. (May 2005)

* [Cemetary on Magdalen Street] A shot of the cemetary by Magdalen Street. I liked the effect of how you almost can read the tombstones, but not quite. And also how there is a bus in the distance. Kind of the modern world intruding upon the old. (May 2005)

* [Bicycles chained to a fence on Magdalen St.] Magdalen street is a main road going through Oxford. I just liked the look of all the bike chained to the street. Oh yes, this is the cemetary from the previous shot. That added to the oddness about it. (May 2005)

* [Martyr's Memorial, Oxford] The Martyr's Memorial in Oxford. I don't know much about it. Look it up yourself! (May 2005)

* [Abingdon Road, Oxford] No, not Abbey Road, but Abingdon Road. This is what one of the main streets in Oxford becomes, south of the city. The row houses had a certain feel to them. (May 2005)

* [Folly Bridge over the River Thames] This is the folly bridge over the River Thames. I don't know why it's called Folly. But it is pretty. (May 2005)

* [Door on Oxford] A door in Oxford. It's on Broad Street, if that's of any help. The statue of the guy on top is what caught my eye initially. (May 2005)

* [Strange English street sign] I took this picture to show the cool, curving street. I didn't even notice the weird "don't jump motorcycles over cars" sign until I saw the pictures. In theory, it probably means only buses can go down that street or something similar. (May 2005)

* [A big dor in Oxford] A big door in Oxford. The open door-within-a-door is what people use. Not sure which college in Oxford it is. (May 2005)

* [Gate in front of Oxford Campus] This might have ben Trinity College,b ut I'm not sure. It was an impressive gate on the front of this palacial driveway. (May 2005)

* [Oxford Campus] Another shot of a building in Oxford. This is the same as the previous shot, except that I took the picutre through the bars and made it a lower perspective. Still, it's kind of cool. (May 2005)

* [Oxford Museum of Natural History] As might be expected, Oxford has a cool looking building for Natural History. (May 2005)

* [Oxford Museum of Natural History] Anotehr shot of the natural history musem, head on.. I didn't actually go into the museum. (May 2005)

* [Along the River Thames] Another shot along the River Thames. This was a bit north of the Folly Bridge, as I was walking back from the train station area of town. (May 2005)

* [Frank in a mirror] A picture of a store front with a mirrow, and me in the mirror. I didn't realize the words would obscure me. (May 2005)

* [Frank at Frank Research Ltd] Me in front of a sign for "Frank Research Ltd." Hey, I thought it was cool! I also had to wait 5-10 minutes for someone to pass by who was willing to take my picture are 11 o'clock at night. (May 2005)

A Flight Over Oxfordshire

Wednesday afternoon, I managed to find the appropriate bus to get me to Kidlington, which is where the Oxford Airport and Pilot Flight Training are located. I rented a PA-28, Piper Cherokee and flew with Ian Day, the chief instructor. We flew around the area, seeing various things including Oxford, the factory where the Cooper Mini is built, The Cotswolds (Dedham, and others), and the Brize Norton RAF base, and more.
* [Frank in front of a Piper Cherokee] Here I'm standing in front of the plane I flew, registration number G-BCGJ, a Piper Cherokee, PA-28. The control tower is visible in the background. (May 2005)

* [Oxford University from the air] A photo of Oxford Univesity, and city, from the air. It's about 5-10 miles south of the Oxford Airport, in Kidlington. (May 2005)

* [Oxford University from the air] Another shot of Oxford from the air. Just to clarify, I was flying with a flight instructor, the chief instructor, actually.. When I wanted to take a picture, he took the controls of the plane. And we did the "positive exchange of control" so it was always clear who was flying the plane. (May 2005)

* [Blenheim Palace] Blenheim Palace from the air. Where Winston Churchill was born and the area in which he is buried. (May 2005)

* [Blenheim Palace] Another shot of Blenheim Palace (May 2005)

* [A small town in the Cotswolds] A small town in the Cotswolds. I know not the name. The yellow fields are a relatively new crop that's changed the appearance of the English countryside. It's rape, where rapeseed oil comes from, which Americans call canola oil, as that product name sounds less like a violent crime. (May 2005)


Ann Arbor and Ithaca.
* [Frank at Frank's Restaurant] Me in front of Frank's Restaurant in Ann Arbor. Someday I'll make the Frank-as-a-dork-in-front-of-a-sign series. I should note that this picture occurs right after the Frank Research Ltd. photo earlier. (May 2005)

* [John and Lisa] My friends John Kasab and Lisa Henn. Lisa worked as an operator in the computer science department at Ohio State while I was there for grad school. They live in Ann Arbor now. This was taken in their back year. (May 2005)

* [Lisa, Frank, and John] A photo of Lisa, me, and John in their back yard. (May 2005)

* [Cornell Business Park] I had a couple shots to burn at the end of the roll, so I took a picture of the pond by the business park at sunset where I work. (May 2005)

* [Cornell Business Park] A cool shot of a bridge by the pond where I work. (May 2005)

This page last modified Jul 08, 2009.
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