Saying good-bye to Calgary
Dov, our driver, Papa, Nan, and me
Packing the car
I am now waiting for my flight at the Calgary International Airport YYC. \240I had A&W for my late lunch.
Dov, our driver, got us to YYC safely. It was snowing very hard and there was a lot of traffic.
Now we wait.
Next post will come to you from London.
Saying good-bye to Calgary
Dov, our driver, Papa, Nan, and me
Packing the car
After a good night’s rest, we ate breakfast overlooking the Thames River. We wandered along the Queen’s Walk Way to the London Eye to buy tickets for a chance to ride on the world’s most expensive ferris wheel. We walked across Westminster Bridge right past Big Ben and the parliament buildings on our way to Trafalgar Square.
Trafalgar Square is home to the National Art Gallery and the statue of Lord Nelson. Lord Nelson was a British Admiral who lived in the late 1700s and died in the battle of Trafalgar in 1804. After forgetting my water in the not-so-public pay-for-washroom, we walked past the Cavalry Museum, which is next door to #10 Downing Street. Who lives at #10 Downing Street? Hint: he combs his hair with a pitch fork.
After a quick jaunt down King Charles Street, past Churchill’s War Room, where we will go tomorrow, we headed back over the Westminster Bridge for a ride on the London Eye.
Calvary Museum, plus apparently rabid horses standing guard.
Trafalgar Square with the Canadian Embassy as my backdrop.
Lord Nelson overlooking Trafalgar Square.
Big Ben which appears to be a bit off the actual time.
British Parliament is quite impressive.
Papa and me by the London Eye.
Today began with a brisk morning walk along the River Thames. We visited the Churchill War Rooms. The Churchill War Rooms are a series of bunkers under Whitehall from where Winston Churchill carried our war operations during World War II. One of the first major decisions made in the War Rooms, was to go to war against Germany.
The War Rooms held during 9 months of the Blitz that London suffered. The War Rooms we’re home to the UK’s military operations from 1939 to 1945. It is hard to imagine how so many people worked in such crowded and cramped quarters. The ceilings were low, the hallways very narrow, and the rooms compact. Each narrow bed came equipped with a chamber pot. \240Now can you imagine such cramped quarters filled with pipe and cigar smoke? Churchill was rarely seen without a cigar and most of his officers smoked. The air in the War Rooms was stale and musty without the smoke, I can’t imagine it filled with smoke. That said, the War Rooms were the highlight of my day.
We then walked to the British Museum. It was an incredibly long walk on which I lost my hat.
We spent our time in three exhibits: Egyptian, Greek, and Roman. The Egyptian was kind of creepy as there were so many sarcophagus. The Greek and Roman exhibits were impressive for their bronze and marble sculptures. I enjoyed looking at the pottery as it told stories of the events of the day.
Our feet hurt and our bodies ached so we decided to call it a day. Wisely we grabbed a cab to take us back to the hotel because we had walked 9.3 km to that point.
Standing beside the Greek and Roman gods in the British Museum.
The marble head on the right looks like he has seen better days.
The bronze at the bottom is a horse harness.
Standing outside the Prime Minister’s office in the War Rooms.
HMS Belfast was my chosen stop of the day. HMS Belfast is Town-class light cruiser that was built for the Royal Navy and served during WWII and the Korean War. \240It was the Flagship of British forces on D-Day. It also saw action in the Battle of North Cape and escorted Arctic convoys.
The narrow ladder to the boiler room was steep. The first thing that greeted me was the smell of diesel. After all these years, it still lingered in the air. It was cramped and you needed to watch your head. After briefly getting lost, Papa and I emerged, glad to see the light of day.
We then headed to the bow. The anchor chain was massive. We went into gun turret “A” which held three guns. We headed further up to the bridge where the Captain and the Navigational Officer sat. The most interesting thing about the Captain’s chair was there was no wheel. The ship was steered by the helmsman who was located deeper within the ship, and who had no way of seeing where he was going. He depended on an officer located on the Compass Platform, where the Captain sat, six decks above him to relay the information to him.
Turret “Y” was located at the stern of the ship. The loading and shooting of the guns was simulated in this gun turret. The precision was impressive. During the simulation, even the floor vibrated when the guns were fired. The guns on the Belfast could be reloaded and fired every eight seconds. This proved invaluable during the D-Day invasion.
The HMS Belfast was yet another highlight of my stay in London.
My hat is now replaced with a HMS Belfast cap, which is my actual highlight 😂
I am standing outside the HMS Belfast
Taking the helm. Behind here was the actual helm.
Me sitting on the bow. The anchor and chains were massive.
This is where one of the officers who directs the guns is located.
I was learning how to signal my name using Morse Code.
Taking control of this ship; however, no wheel.
Inside the engine room.
New hat! The Tower Bridge just happened to be in the background! 🤣
After an early start, our tour of some of the sites of London began. The Trafalgar bus drove us to St Paul’s Cathedral. It was Sunday, and church services were on, so we didn’t go into the church. However, even from the outside it was most impressive. It was one few churches the survived the bombings of WWII. It was saved by firefighters who stayed on the roof and extinguished all flames.
Crossing the Tower Bridge and seeing the Tower of London, we proceeded to Parliament Square, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. From there we walked to Buckingham Palace through St James Park. The tulips and daffodils where in full bloom and the grounds keepers were preparing flowerbeds for planting in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee in June. We arrived at Buckingham Palace in time for the changing of the guards.
After a short 45 minute break back at the hotel, we went to the Imperial War Museum.
After entering the Museum, which was guarded by two \240naval guns that had barrels of 15” width, we went through the First World War and Second World War galleries. That was a very moving experience. From the lower level of the main entry, three planes were suspended overhead. One was a Spitfire, another a Harrier, and the third was a V2 Rocket. In one corner was a Press Truck that was in use during Desert Storm. The Press truck sustained damage as the windows were shattered and it looked like it may have had a bomb or two go off nearby.
As I reflected on my experience in the museum I came to the conclusion that humans have not yet figured out how to solve their differences without conflict.
St Paul’s Cathedral
The Tower of London where a number of people left a head shorter than when they came in.
The 15” guns outside the Imperial War Museum.
Buckingham Palace. The tulips are in full bloom.
The changing of the guards.
We are now in France. We travelled here by ferry. It was the first time I was at sea on a ferry. On the way out of Portsmouth we saw Britain’s two aircraft carriers.
We ate dinner on the ferry, which was chicken and smoked salmon. My Pepsi exploded at the table after I inadvertently tipped it over. There was quite a mess. Fortunately two French waiters came to my rescue and cleaned up the table in no time.
Getting into France was very straightforward. We only needed our passports. They didn’t even ask for proof of vaccination.
Tomorrow, the battlefields of Normandy
Sunset off the coast of France from the ferry.
Our ferry to France.
Today, in the region of Normandy, we saw the beaches that began the allied liberation of France; otherwise known as D-Day. We began at the Canadian Cemetery commemorating the soldiers who died during the battle for Normandy. The graveyard was exceptionally beautiful as many flowers were in full bloom between the grave markers. As we walked from grave stone to grave stone, I noticed that some of the soldiers were as young as 17. Some of the grave markers contained messages from their families. It was a somber experience.
We then drove to Juno beach where the Canadians landed on D-Day. There was a statue commemorating them. The house that is located on the shore was the same house that was there when the Canadians came ashore on June 6, 1944.
Our next stop was Gold Beach, which was one of the British landing sites. At the beach were the remains of prefabricated harbours, also called Mulberry Harbours, which were towed across the English Channel for the invasion. They were at Gold and Omaha Beaches. We ate lunch at Gold Habour.
Next stop, the American War Cemetery which is located overlooking the beaches of Omaha. It is a very large cemetery as many Americans lost there lives in the fight to reclaim Normandy. Going down to the beach, it was hard to imagine that this was once an active war zone as it is just a regular beach now. There is a commemorative statue on the beach.
We then went to an area where the American Rangers scaled the cliff face to capture a German gun implacement. We toured some of the gun implacements that were captured.
We ended our tour of D-Day with a stop at the German cemetery. It was a mass grave site. It was a reminder that many young soldiers, fighting on both sides, lost their lives.
A map showing the location of the beaches. We were at Juno, Gold, and Omaha.
The German cemetery
Inside the bunker fortifications at Omaha Beach.
A view of the cliffs that the Rangers scaled at Omaha Beach.
German fortification at Gold Beach
Canadian War Cemetery
House at Juno Beach that was standing when the Canadians came ashore and is still standing today.
American War Cemetery at Omaha Beach.
Today we travelled to Paris.
We began the day visiting a War Museum in Caen. It was mostly about the invasion of Normandy. There was a German bunker at the back of the museum that was an actual bunker.
We stopped by a wayside stop for lunch.
In the evening we went for a cruise on the River Seine. Our day ended with a bus ride past a number of sites of Paris.
Our evening drive past the Arc de Triomphe
The Eiffel Tower lit up
This morning we walked around the Latin Quarter of Paris. We visited the gardens of the Palace of Luxembourg Palace. Today this is where the Senate is located. It was occupied by the Germans during the Second World War.
We saw some of the remains from when Rome occupied this area of Paris. It was a mixture of limestone and brick. \240Part of it was a Roman bath.
We rested in a small park across from the Notre Dame Cathedral where I watched some pigeons trying to beg food from people.
The afternoon was spent at the Palace of Versailles. We walked around the gardens of King Louis XIV’s hunting lodge, also known as the Palace of Versailles. King Louis XVI, also lived in the palace, with his wife Marie Antoinette. This was during the French Revolution. Louis and his wife met an unfortunate ending to their lives as their heads were removed.
Outside the gates of the Palace of Versailles
Palace gardens. I am praticising my silly walks
One of the fountains at Versailles
One of the gardens at Versailles
Papa and I having a good laugh while watching pigeons
Luxembourg Palace in the Latin Quarter
Farewell Paris. It was another early start to our day. The alarm rang at 6 am and we were on our way by 7:30.
We spend the day touring World War I battle sites. We began with the Australian War Memorial at Fouilloy, called the Sir John Monash Centre. The interactive exhibits were really interesting. After touring the exhibits Papa and I went up the stairs to the top of the tower. There are 139 stairs to the top.
The cemetery at the Monash Centre also had Canadians buried there. We found a plaque with a letter written to one of the soldiers. We stopped to read it and pay our respects.
We then went to Authuille to see the Thiepval Memorial. This memorial is dedicated to British soldiers who died in WWI. The memorial commemorates 72,000 missing soldiers during the Battle of Somme.
Our third and final stop was at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. This site was very interesting as we walked through trenches. Large portions of the grounds were roped off as they still contain unexploded ordinance from the war. Newfoundland lost many soldiers in the First World War. Out of 800 soldiers only 68 of the were still alive after the first day.
Australian War Memorial. If you look closely you will see Papa and me at the top.
A close view of the top
The plaque with the letter in the cemetery
The Thiepval Memorial dedicated to 72,000 who died.
The Newfoundland Memorial
A poem at the Newfoundland Memorial
I walked through some of the trenches. I am sure they were actually much deeper.
We started the morning at the Vimy Ridge Memorial. This is quite possibly the most beautiful and important memorial of the First World War for Canadians. Vimy Ridge was a coming of age for Canada, as it was now on the world stage.
The Vimy Ridge Museum was a highlight. There were preserved trenches from the First World War. I walked through the labyrinth of trenches, both Canadian and German. I was shocked with how close the two lines were. I found shell storage locations in the trenches and also machine gun posts.
We then proceeded to Dunkirk and an event that occurred at the beginning of the Second World War. After the Germans had pinned the French and British armies using a pincer movement, the British staged an evacuation to save both the British and the French. 350,000 men stood on the beach, where I stood today, waiting for ships to rescue them. They were successful but at the cost of many human lives, all their heavy equipment, and most importantly France.
We went to several Australian memorials from WWI. The Australians played a critical role in both World Wars. The Australian cemetery we visited was the newest of the WWI cemeteries. Bodies of soldiers were exhumed from a nearby mass grave site. Using DNA they were able to identify many of the soldiers and give them their own grave.
As I reflect upon my day, I think about how young so many of the soldiers were. Some were only 16 and 17 years old. I wonder what it will take for the young people of a country to not be the ones who have to solve the world’s leaders problems.
At the entrance to the Vimy Ridge Memorial.
Papa and me peering over the wall at the Memorial.
In the trenches.
An observation post.
An angle from inside a German observation post.
We are standing by the Canadian trench. The people you see are standing by the German trench.
The beach at Dunkirk
It is May Day. This is a big celebration holiday, here in Belgium. We spent the day learning about and visiting the World War I battle for Pashendale.
We made many stops along the road to Ypres at graveyards, memorials, and monuments. The were four battles of Ypres. During the second battle for Ypres, the Canadians encountered the first gas attacks. The battle that the Canadians are best known for was the third battle. This was the battle for Pashendale in 1917, also spelled Passendale. During the Battle of Passendale, the Canadians made the final assault on the city. With 16,000 casualties, Canada paid a high price.
A German bunker near Ypres.
Even in the trenches you can sometimes see poppies blooming in the fields. I am standing in a trench. Look above my head.
A small shelter at the front line, nicknamed “the baby elephant shelter”.
The memorial commemorating the Canadian capture of Passchendaele (notice third spelling of Passendale) Ridge.
A plaque commemorating John McCrae outside his casualty centre.
The poem in Flanders Fields, while I stand in Flanders.
In the casualty centre.
The gravestone of a soldier in a Commonwealth cemetery. Notice the age of the boy. Someone left teddy bears.
We are now in Amsterdam. We had a long bus trip here. Along the way we stopped in Brugges, Belgium. Brugges still has medieval buildings as it is was not bombed in either the First or the Second World War. Brugges has some of the best chocolate in the world.
The rest of the afternoon involved the trip into Amsterdam.
In the evening we went on a canal cruise. We went past the house that hid Anne Frank. We learned that the picture that Anne Frank cut out of a magazine and pasted into her diary was a picture of the mother of the captain of the canal boat we were cruising on. He said he had the original picture of his mother in his home. I found that really interesting.
The houses in the older sections of Amsterdam are very narrow and tall. Some of the houses were leaning. This is because most of Amsterdam in on land that was reclaimed from the sea. As the pillars under the houses rot, they begin to lean. Some of the canal walls are also sinking due to the weight of the traffic. The city has a big task of rebuilding some of its canals. Just one section will cost 150 million Euros.
A building in Brugges.
A monument in the Centre market square in Brugges. It depicts a Dutch victory over the French.
Lunch in the town square in Brugges.
There are many bicycles in Amsterdam. Behind me is a three storey bicycle park.
See the green door in this picture? This is the door into the house where Anne Frank and her family hid. We are going to visit this house in two days.
We visited a medieval castle today. The castle is named Muiderslot. Built in 1285, it served as a defensive fortress until cannons were invented. We toured through the castle.
I was amazed at how short the beds were. People in the Middle Ages did not lie down, rather they slept in a half sitting position. The entire family slept in one bed.
Papa and I walked up the tower. The tower contained defensive positions at various heights. There were narrow holes for arrows to pass through and larger ones through which steaming oil could be poured. The murder holes over the front gate through which larger barrels of hot oil could be poured on those who managed to get to the front door.
We also headed to the dungeon where they tortured prisoners. They had logical punishments for crimes, such as for spying one’s eyes might be gouged out, for running away one’s feet would be cut off, and for swearing one would have a hole drilled through their tongue.
In the evening we headed to a farm to have dinner with a local family. They served many dishes of potatoes and meat.
We said good-bye to the rest of our tour group. We will remain in Amsterdam one more day before heading to Italy.
Inside the castle courtyard
The guests’ room with the bed to one side
In the tower
Look at the three holes above the main gate. These are the murder holes.
I have been banished to the dungeon of the castle
The entrance to the castle gardens
The herb gardens of the castle
Today we went to the Anne Frank house.
We went through the museum into the house where her family hid for four years before they were discovered and sent to concentration camps. A narrow staircase took us up one flight of stairs to an office area. From there we went up another narrow steep staircase into a room that contained a bookcase. The bookcase had been moved away from the wall to allow us through the hidden doorway into the Frank’s family hiding annex. Once in the annex I saw the first small dark room. We then walked into a small, dark adjoining room. This room had pictures on the walls. These pictures were the ones that Anne Frank cut out of magazines and put on the wall. When the Nazis raided the house, they did not consider the pictures of value so they didn’t take them. I then walked up another narrow flight of stairs to the Frank’s kitchen area. This was a very small room as well. As I walked out of this room, I was able to see into the attic area where Anne was able to go to see daylight. I walked all the way down the many stairs and left the house.
It was a very moving experience being in the Anne Frank house. Going into the house was like stepping into a time machine. You could almost feel the fear and desperation. The house acts as a reminder of the Nazi extermination of non Aryan people during the Second World War.
I am standing in front of the house where Anne Frank hid. As no pictures were allowed inside, I have no pictures of the inside.
We made it to Rome today.
We are staying in a very nice hotel that is close to the Vatican and also within walking distance to the Pantheon. Once we were settled into our room we went to scout out restaurants for dinner by looking at their menus. I think we found a good one. We also went for gelato. I had my first gelato.
Gelato is Italian ice cream. \240It is the best.
For dinner we went to a great restaurant. Nan and Papa celebrated their delayed 53rd anniversary with a great meal and an exquisite Tuscan Amarone. As for me, I ate steak. It was soooo good, I ate it all. \240
The best steak and potatoes, ever!!!!!
Built in 139 AD, the Castel Sant’Angelo was originally built as the Emporer Hadrianus’ tomb for him and his family. Parts were added throughout the years; however, the original core of the building still stands. In 608 AD, Pope Boniface IV consecrated Hadrian’ burial chamber to the worship of the Archangel Michael.
The castle has the most stunning views in all of Rome. We walked up many stairs to get to the top of the castle, but the view from the top was worth it. From the top of the walls we could see the Vatican, but it wasn’t just that, it was the stunning views of the city.
Overlooking the drained moat of the castle.
Outside the entrance to the tomb.
A model of the castle.
St Peter’s Basilica and the buildings of the Vatican in the background.
An excellent view of one of the castle’s turrets.
A great view with me in the way.
Another view of the Vatican.
Inside the reception area in the castle.
A Roman aquaduct on top of the arches
A view of the River Tiber and the city
We began our day with a visit to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museum contains many artifacts, a fair number of which had been acquired by borrowing without asking, i.e., they were stolen. Many were taken from Greece and represent the finest sculpture and paintings.
Garden inside the Museum.
The Sistine Chapel is somewhat overwhelming. The paintings of Michelangelo were incredible. I can’t think of any one painting that stood out as they all blended together for me. No pictures were allowed.
We then went to the Coliseum. This was a cool experience. I could see where the animals were kept and where the gladiators entered the arena.
The Coliseum was once all covered in marble, but the Pope of the day had the marble removed to build St. Peter’s Basilica. Even in its current state the Colesium is magnificent.
We went to St Peter’s Basilica. The Swiss Guards were guarding the premises. The Basilica is also the work of Michelangelo. There are two dead popes on display in St Peter’s Basilica. I found that the most interesting thing.
We went on an evening walking tour of the city centre of old Rome. It was exhausting but so worth it. We saw many sights of the old city which included many pillars and columns from antiquity.
We saw the famous Trevi Fountain. This is an aqueduct fed fountain. It was built in 1762. It is said that you will have good luck if you toss a coin in the fountain. I tossed a coin in the fountain but I forgot to make a wish. \240But… I did remember to have a big gelato cone while admiring the fountain. I appreciated the fountain because it had Poseidon.
After a bit of a walk we came to the Pantheon. The Pantheon was a Roman temple built in 118 to 125 AD. It is the most intact Roman temple. It was not destroyed during the fall of the Roman Empire.
We concluded our day with an authentic Roman meal. The pasta is served before the meat, and each are served as different courses. The meat was good, so was the Coke.
My canal trip into the city of Venice met all my expectations. The buildings were old and their front step was the water. The architecture was quite magnificent. I thought that once again the ancient Romans had created a masterpiece; imagine the complexity of creating a city on the water.
We went on a gondola ride through a few narrow water streets. I thought we would crash a few times but the Gondola driver was really good and he managed to maneuver us through. That was a good thing because the water is not the kind you would like to go for a swim in.
A view of the \240streets of Venice.
A view of one of the streets from the gondola.
On the gondola. We had a couple with us from California.
We spent the morning walking the streets in Venice. We went into St Mark’s Basilica. It was a Byzantine temple before it was a church. It was built with marble on the floors and pillar walls. The murals on the walls and the ceilings were 24 oz gold.
After lunch and a great gelato we went onto Verona. I am finding that I cannot seem to have enough gelatos.
Verona has a mixture of Roman and Medieval architecture. One of the buildings by the Romans is the Arena. It looks much like the Colosseum in Rome, but it is in better shape and smaller. It holds concerts today. \240Did you know that the word “arena” means “sand”. Sand was used on the floor to soak up the blood during the gladiator fights.
Verona is also the city of Romeo and Juliet from Shakespeare’s famous play. We saw both of their houses and we went to the area outside of Juliet’s window, where it is said Romeo went. However, we all know it is just a story. There really never was a balcony in the play, but the city of Verona gave in to the tourists who came looking for a balcony. They built a balcony to satisfy the tourists.
One of the four domes in St Mark’s Basilica
Outside the gelato shop
The Bridge of Sighs in Venice
In Verona. Outside Juliet’s balcony
In front of the Arena in Verona
Eating dinner beside the Arena
We began our day in Verona and travelled to Florence, with a side trip to Pisa.
I was surprised how much the tower is leaning. It really looks like it could fall over at anytime.
I thought I would try my hand at supporting it.
Giving the Tower a bit of support.
Trying with two hands.
Okay, I tried a bit of foundational support. \240After no luck, I thought I would expedite its fall.
Once in Florence, we went to a museum that housed some of Michelangelo’s finest work. Among the best was his statue of David. The statue of David was much larger than I expected. The right hand and the feet of David are out of proportion to the rest of the body because it was meant to be positioned on a pedestal and to be viewed from below. They are also large because Michelangelo wanted to show David’s strength.
In the evening we went to the Villa il Leccio. The owner who greeted us said that this villa had been in her family for 400 years. Grape vines and olive trees filled the hillsides in this Tuscan villa. We had our “be my guest” dinner in the villa. It was a very good meal and a great day.
Overlooking the vineyards and olive groves.
The morning began with a walking tour of the old city centre of Florence. Florence was a Roman military colony in the first century bce.
There are a number of medieval buildings still standing; however, most of the buildings are from the Renaissance.
The architecture of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore was incredible. It was white, green, and pink marble.
The oldest bridge in Florence is the Ponte Vecchio. It is the only bridge in Florence that wasn’t bombed during WWII.
Today was a travel day. We flew from Rome, which was 30 degrees C, to Belfast, which was 12 degrees C and what felt like hurricane force winds, through Heathrow.
We made it to Belfast.
Today we went to the Titanic Museum which is right next to the Titanic Hotel where I am staying. I can see it right outside my window. The museum was a very interactive experience. There were different activities to do, and all kinds of simulations that allowed us to experience the building of the Titanic. There were some exhibitions that were more like amusement park rides. We got into a cart and experienced what it was like to spend one day building the ship. We saw the various roles of the workers, we felt the heat of the furnaces heating the metal and rivets, and we heard how noisy it was. We learned that some workers went stone deaf. We spent 3 hours looking through the museum.
A model of the Titanic in our hotel that took 20 years to complete
One of the interactive experiences. This one is projected blueprints of the ship
This is the ride inside the museum that tours you through the day in the life of a worker
A scale model of a portion of the deck you can walk through
After we got out we went to the slip right beside the museum where the Titanic and Olympic were built. The slip had white stones mapping out the promenade deck to give you sense of the scale of the ships.
Looking at the slip from the harbor
Looking into the harbor from the slip
Upon reflection it was a great experience overall.
Goodbye Belfast. We are on our way back to London.
We made it back to London.
We started with a early morning taxi ride to Victoria Station, as we were going to Windsor, Stonehenge, and Bath.
Windsor Castle is about an hour from London. We walked around outside of the castle. It is a magnificent castle—jolly good.Then we went inside and visited a few of the state rooms. The state rooms had some great art pieces and also a great display of swords, guns, and armor. This was the wing of the castle that burned in 1992, but it has been restored.
Outside Windsor Castle.
When we arrived at Stonehenge there was a bit of a walk to the stones. We could not walk among the stones due to damage tourists had previously done to the stones. The stones are a protected UNESCO World Heritage site.
It is shocking that people that many years ago managed to pull and place such large stones to this location. At the main entry to Stonehenge, the one used by the people who built it, there is a large stone called the Slaughter Stone. We were wondering why it was called a slaughter stone.
Trying to budge a Sarson stone.
The Roman Baths in city of Bath are a testament to Roman skill and ingenuity. The hot water still flows into the pools and the stones around the main pool are still the original ones the Romans placed there and walked on.
The main pool at the Roman bath.
After a one hour leisurely cruise down the river Thames, we arrived in Greenwich. This is where the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory are located.
The National Maritime museum held artifacts from historical naval exploration. There is really nothing that stands out in particular. It was interesting.
Standing just outside the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
The Royal Observatory holds the history of John Harrison’s discovery of longitude. I looked at some of the Harrison clocks. I also stood on the prime meridian with one foot in the East and one in the west.
Standing in the East and the west at the same time at 0 degrees longitude.
On the way back, we toured the Cutty Sark. The Cutty Sark was a merchant clipper. It was the fastest clipper ever.
Outside the Cutty Sark
Taking the wheel
On the deck
This was an interesting day overall. I had the chance to stand in both the East and the West of the world at the same time.
I had one last thing on my bucket list, the Tower of London. Upon entering we were met by a Beefeater. Beefeaters are called that because when the Crown occupied the Castle, they defended it. As part of their payment they were served beef or venison. The commoners didn’t like that so they called them beefeaters. Beefeaters still guard the Crown today.
We saw everything from the tallest towers to the dungeons. The Tower was built by William the Conqueror, who won the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
We also saw the Crown Jewels. The Crown Jewels were a display of crowns worn by various monarchs at their coronation. They contain some of the rarest gems in the world.
This now ends my tour of Europe. Tomorrow, I fly home. This has been a once in a lifetime experience that I have been fortunate enough to experience. After all my planning for this trip, it exceeded my expectations.
the entrance to the Crown Jewels. No photos were allowed inside.
Standing in front of the White Tower, which is the site of the original tower.
Saying good-bye to Tower Bridge.
Enjoying time with my Papa.
We made it back to Calgary.