Tower of London #TuesdayTravels

Tuesday Travel button

Our first full day in London we got tickets for the Hop On Hop Off bus and rode to the Tower of London. I was struck by the sight of hundred of thousands of ceramic red poppies surrounding the tower in commemoration of the centennial of World War I. Since I was still without a camera, I used my remaining credits to download today’s photos from

Almost 900000 ceramic poppies are installed at The Tower of London to commemorate Britain's involvement in the First World War.

London United Kingdom – 16 November 2014: Almost 900000 ceramic poppies are installed at The Tower of London to commemorate Britain’s involvement in the First World War

The site was quite crowded, and we decided to pass on a visit to the Crown Jewels, since the line was quite long. Instead Linda and I walked through the Fusilier’s Museum, which tells the story of an infantry regiment raised at the tower in 1685. One of the highlights of the museum is the Eagle Standard of the 82nd Regiment of the French Line, captured during the Napoleonic Wars. Capturing an Eagle was quite a feat for any regiment to be proud of.

Next stop was the Beauchamp Tower, where prisoners were kept, some with a view overlooking the spot where executions took place. Famous prisoners were kept her, including the husband of Lady Jane Grey. One of the interesting parts is the prisoner graffiti carved into the tower walls. My traveling companion, Linda Prine, located a possible ancestor named John Prine, said to have been a Catholic priest who was a prisoner in 1568 during the reign of Elizabeth I. (Well, obviously not a direct ancestor, but perhaps related.)

Tower of London

Famous Tower of London, United Kingdom

After leaving the tower, we grabbed a bite at a nearby spot, then took a boat up the Thames from the Tower pier to Westminster Pier. Val and I did the same cruise back in 2003 and I have some of my own pictures from that.


London Eye 2003


Houses of Parliament 2003


Houses of Parliament from top deck of Thames cruise boat.

More from London next week.


Welcome to London #TuesdayTravels

Tuesday Travel buttonLondon was the first stop on the July vacation I took with my brother Mac, sister-in-law Renee, and my friend Linda. Yep, Linda and Linda. We flew out of Los Angeles on Saturday, the Fourth of July. Now that might seem like an odd day to travel, but it was a fantastic choice. Because it was a holiday, there was little to no traffic on the freeways that afternoon, and the airport was practically deserted. It took me about ten minutes to get through security, instead of the usual 45+ minutes. The plane wasn’t entirely full either, despite the summer travel season. Note to self: travel on July 4th whenever possible.

After ten hours of (for the most part) no sleep, we landed at London’s Heathrow Airport. United got us there ahead of schedule, a nice surprise until we got through the airport and found no one waiting to transfer us to our hotel. And that was after what seemed like a two-mile hike from the landing gate to Customs and Immigration, etc. A very nice gentleman let me use his phone to call the tour company, and a few minutes later, someone showed up to drive us to the hotel. (Figuring that we had too much luggage for one taxi, I had arranged for shuttle transfers through Golden Tours. They are very nice to deal with.)

London street

The neighborhood around our hotel looks much like this.

Our hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton Westminster is situated in a mostly quiet neighborhood between the Tate Britain and Parliament, so it was a great location for sightseeing. Walking distance to Parliament and Westminster Abbey, close to a tube station and even closer to a bus stop.

Big Ben at nightWhen we arrived in the room, I realized that I had goofed up royally. I left my camera at home! And after I’d made a point of charging two batteries, so I wouldn’t be without juice. Sigh. It has been a long time since I’ve taken a really long trip, and this was the first one without Bob to remind me about the important things, and I was pretty frazzled in the days leading up to departure. He used to do a good job of keeping me organized and grounded.

Late in the afternoon I went for a walk with Linda and Renee, to scope out the neighborhood and find a place for dinner. (Mac was too tired to care.) I bought apples at a grocer’s and looked for a pharmacy where I might buy a disposable camera of two, but none were in sight. After wandering around a bit longer, we had dinner at a local pub then returned to the hotel thoroughly exhausted. We were all asleep by 9PM GMT after being awake for about 30 hours. I sure wish I could sleep on airplanes.

Next stop: Tower of London