Sunday, March 16, 2008

Day 3 - Rain and the Bridge

We woke up to rain, rain and more rain! Gotta love London! (At least it's not snow!)

We took the tube to the Tower Hill station today and exited right in front of the Tower of London! It was quite an impressive site in the middle of London's modern buildings. Since it wasn't open yet, we walked to the Tower Bridge instead! Unfortunately just as we started the self tour, our camera blinked "low battery". No one had checked that. We very carefully limited the pictures we took all day hoping it wouldn't die at an inopportune moment!

The views from the bridge are wonderful - I'm sure even more impressive without the fog and rain! We could walk along the East side (part of the way) and the West side of the upper bridge expanses. When we got to the South tower, we were able to go down into the steam room where they raise and lower the bridge. This was done with steam in under 1 minute each direction for nearly 80 years. Today it is raised with an eclectic motor.

From the Tower Bridge we headed down river to the HMS Belfast ship. This is an old cruiser ship that served in World War II and the Korean War. We followed an audio tour around the ship up and down lots of ladders. I don't think I'd want to spend much time on a ship like that - too cramped! I think the guys enjoyed in a lot, as I expected. While on the ship we enjoyed our "inside" picnic lunch while it continued to rain outside.

From the ship, we continued to walk further down the Thames River towards Shakespeare's Globe Theater. We decided to go that direction instead of back to the Tower of London because our camera was on its last limb and we still had to come back this way to see St. Paul's Cathedral (since it was closed for visitors today). We got right onto a tour and were whisked into the theater by a very impressive tour guide. This is actually the 3rd Globe that was built. The first one was destroyed in a fire about 14 years after it was originally opened. The 2nd one was torn down. And this 3rd one was built in more recent times (like in the 1990's). Performances don't start until April in this open air theater, but there were students practicing some scene's of Shakespeare's plays up on the stage. It was amazing they could concentrate with all the tours coming through! We got to sit on all levels, including standing in the middle area in front of the stage. I thought this was quite impressive even for a gal who can't understand most of Shakespeare!

After the tour we headed back towards our flat, with a last minute detour to Chinatown! We picked one of the first restaurants we found and had an adequate dinner. We find the difference between service in the States and the UK to be much different. There are no fortune cookies!!

Again tonight we are just sitting around decompressing, charging the camera battery and planning our trip for tomorrow. I think we'll try the Tower of London again - maybe this time we'll get there!!!

For those of you in Colorado - stay warm, I see another storm is brewing!!!


toners said...

Another fun, busy day!! And yep - we have snow! A foot of it here in Conifer :)

plg said...

I feel like I'm right along with you - we've got the same weather here in Michigan today!
This is so much fun Sue!