Sunday Walk (31 July 2016)

Today was to be a day of rest and reflection in preparation for Paris tomorrow and, I guess, for the days that follow. As an aside, yesterday I made French Toast – not because I was going to Paris tomorrow, but because my Airbnb host left me some bread, eggs, and milk – and I brought some raspberry (framboises) jam with me from my last Airbnb flat. And, voila, French Toast.

Today, I started off the day, like most days, with coffee from my aeropress (www.aeropress.com) that is easy to pack and delivers great (and strong) coffee. Very simple this morning. This was to be a R&R day, taking care of a few tasks and heating up leftovers from last night’s supper for lunch. Thought it was going to be a rainy day, but was pleasantly surprised with some sun and cool breezes after the brief morning rain. Perfect for a walk.

My primary goal today was to find a replacement for my phone’s SIM card from BASE. Now I’m trying the Orange card (another, of many, carriers). Found out that the BASE card doesn’t have good coverage (though met my minimal needs) and is not easy to “top off” to increase data. (For those who haven’t been following along, it is a whole new world of phone/data/text when you arrive in Europe.)  Gone is my Verizon phone account ($135 per month) and now I’m trying out various European options < $135 per month).  I’ll report later on how my Orange card works in Paris and Amsterdam.

This afternoon, heading out the door to find an Orange dealership, I just took my time. Was really enjoying the people and shops as I walked along. So many were taking advantage of the day and with family and friends. Below is a picture of one of the avenues (of several I’m sure – haven’t been on them all) that are blocked off for traffic and are pedestrian only.

Sunday 31 July 2016

Of course there were many waffle and frites (french fries) shops along the way and resisted temptation. I found my Orange shop and got a new SIM card installed. While the goal was a new SIM card, my “find” of the day were the wide boulevards and fine weather.

Earlier today, I found a nice flat in Amsterdam right on one of the canals, in the Jordaan area. I’ve only booked it for a few nights and will find a longer term location once I arrive. https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/13331530

But now, looking forward to Paris tomorrow!

 

 

 

Atomium at Night

I returned to the Atomium yesterday evening to capture some night photos. Funny – was waiting for the sky to darken, then at around 10:30, realized (duh) that this was in the middle of a major city – and the sky doesn’t ever get totally dark unless there was a power outage. Really enjoyed being there. There was a dance getting started (Music: House Dance) at the base of the Atomium which added to fun. Made it to and from the location via Metro. Cross off one more item from my bucket list.

Couldn’t decide which photos to include, so added all of them.

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Do You Know the Way to Antwerp?

Now I do. (Know the way to Antwerp, that is.) Didn’t have a clue the day before yesterday, now I know. It is north of Brussels, costs a little over 7 Euro to get there, and has train station that is an attraction all by itself.

On the way to the station to catch the train I found a couple of items of interest that I wanted to share. One I saw the day before, and not sure what it means, but this building had a number of windows that had the Belgium flag displayed. The other is a bronze statue of a women, with no inscription anywhere – it was just there, a life-sized woman. Yes, random.  Enjoy!

Belgium Flags

Bronze Lady Brussels

In an earlier post I mentioned train travel. So, learning from my ticketing experience from the Bruges trip, I purchased my ticket on-line and didn’t get a ticket printed out. On my way to Antwerp, the guy that scans the tickets didn’t even look at mine – I just pointed to my phone and he was on his way. On the way back, no one checked my ticket. I’ll continue to share train ticketing stories so I’ll have a collection of them – just to have documented the variety of methods.

As I get off the train, I had forgotten that my research said that the train station was something of interest. As I got off the train and looked for the exit from the station, I looked up an saw this:

Artwerp Cental Station 4 Antwerp Central Train Station – Interior

Wow! Now sure how I was going to crop the above picture. Wanted to show more of the architecture of the far wall, but also wanted to show the overhead structure. Really, I could have just spent the day at the station, then headed back to Brussels. External pictures later. I’m feeling the need to present the pictures today chronologically.

Having no plan, I decided to let my feet do the walking. I had recalled a building that looked interesting and it was near the water – so decided to head over there. On the way, I saw that Antwerp liked FDR and named a street after him. And to point out that Antwerp attracts people from many countries, a few blocks away from the central station, a Chinese gate and beyond it was a Chinese community.

FDR in Antwerp FDR in Antwerp, Belgium

Chinese Gate in Antwerp Chinese Gate: Antwerp, Belgium

After about 30 minutes of walking through the streets of Antwerp, I came to the port area and MAS (Museum Ann De Stroom) or Museum on the Stream, which is the river that provides means for the large Antwerp port. It is the largest museum in Antwerp and contains artifacts representing a variety of cultures and a history of Antwerp. On the top of the building, where I started, you can see Antwerp from all directions. Below are the pictures that I took from the panorama from the 9th floor.  In the last picture, if you look closely, you can see two cooling towers from the local nuclear plant.

MAS Panarama 5

MAS Panarama 4

MAS Panarama 3

MAS Panarama 2

When I got back to the station, I caught another angle of the station, threw the Ferris Wheel. Would have like to have lined up the Ferris Wheel to the building, but it is what it is. Also got another picture of the building from a side entrance.

Artwerp Cental Station Antwerp Central Train Station

Artwerp Cental Station 2 Antwerp Central Train Station

I’ve taken this weekend off from any long walks and acting like a native – doing laundry, paying bills, shopping for groceries, and cooking dinner. Saving up energy for a full-day in Paris on Monday. Now this is just a quick visit, just to get oriented and see a few attractions. I’ll plan to spend, perhaps a month, at a later date – maybe nex year.

Bucket List

If I had a bucket list, what I did today would be on it. Maybe I will write up a list one of these days, but today wasn’t the day. As I was leaving for Bruges this morning – was looking at web sites having suggestions of things to do when you get there. And then I saw a business who offered tours in Bruges on a Segway! I’ve always wanted to learn to ride a Segway, and today was the day! Here I am…

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After a brief lesson most of us figured out how to go forward, back and turn – so off we were. We rode around Bruges in single file like a flock of ducks following mama duck. (Except in this case it was “papa” duck.) Every so often we would stop and heard some history of Bruges. We learned Bruges had good times and, for many years, really struggled. Bottom line: Nepoleon was not good to Bruges. Today, Bruges is a very large consumer-shopping destination with many stores. A beautiful city that has done a wonderful job preserving many buildings and honoring their past. I’ve included some pictures below. I’ll have to label at a different time. Has been a long day, but wanted to publish this post because tomorrow is Antwerp.

Grand Square Building

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Bruges Street

Central Square Church

Municiple Building

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Grand Square

Food  I’ve heard about Belgium mussels, so I had those at lunch. And for dessert, Google lead me to a shop in Bruges who has the best (according to consumer response) chocolate treats.  So you know where I went after lunch. Enjoy!  (I did!)

Mussels and Fries So many mussels!  Enough for 2 (or 3)

Chocolate 2 Chocolate (only 7 Euro – a deal!)

Train Travel:  Thought I’d put in a few lines about getting around on the various rails – at least what I’ve learned so far.  Book early (on-line) if possible, to get the best fairs, take advantage of discount cards, get to the station early to ensure you get on the right track for your train, ask if you are not sure, and be patient while you learn the “ropes”.  In my limited experience, each rail company has their own rules, procedures and policies and once you learn them, traveling by rail is easy and convenient. You’ll be able to go into the biggest of stations and not get swallowed up in their vastness and easily get to where you need to be.

For instance: Last night, I booked (on-line) the travel from Brussels to Bruges for today’s trip. While the confirmation email said I should print out the ticket – I didn’t. I did go to the ticket office this morning and ask if a ticket really needed to be printed and the customer service person said that I should have done so and said she would do it – just this one time. (Think she gave me “the look” to make sure I understood.) I took the printed ticket with me when I boarded, but no one came by to check during the trip. While in Bruges, I booked the return trip on-line and didn’t bother getting a printed ticket to see what would happen. While on the return trip, I was asked for my ticket and showed the PDF on my email confirmation copy. The PDF on my phone was examined and approved.

I’ll continue to add some more information about rail travel as I gain more experience. We can learn together.

 

Ahhhh……

Today is a first. Actually, two firsts.  First day that I didn’t take two or more showers and also, didn’t take one picture. Only one shower means that I didn’t do anything that caused me to perspire, but still, afterward – what a great feeling it is. And not having pictures to organize is a good break. So, yes.  Ahhhh….

First off, about showering. So nice to only take one shower today. Between being very active and also the warm, humid weather at each of my destinations, I’ve been taking a lot of showers. This wouldn’t really be anything to write about, except that in my travels so far, staying at 8 different locations, I’ve had to learn the mechanics in each of the showers.  Plus, I’ve never used one of the snake-like shower apparatus that you find in Europe and beyond, I’m sure. Just another one of those things you take for granted.

As for the pictures, one of my tasks while traveling is finding a catalog software and format to tag the photos and select a permanent on-line home. Right now, I’m having Amazon upload from my phone directly when I’m on Wi-Fi, then I also back up on my external hard drive. The hard drive is backed up to OneDrive. It seems a lot of bother, but being so mobile as I am, its easy to lose photos.  And yes, I’ll look for a way to streamline the process.

Today was a day of rest, for the most part. I went shopping this morning to make my Skinny Lasagna Soup http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-fox/skinny-lasagna-soup_b_8338312.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve made, but I can eat this for both lunch and dinner and don’t get tired of it. And it has a bunch of good stuff in it.

Another waffle today. Came across a street vendor and ordered a waffle with Nutella – got a sugar high again. Maybe I should stop eating them.

Have some more pictures of Basilica of the Sacred Heart to share. Also, a picture of the Brussels–Charleroi Canal, that I crossed on the way to the basilica yesterday.

I’ll make plans tonight to visit Paris, I think this Friday. Also, will fit in a trip to Antwerp, Bruges, and maybe Ghent.

IMG_20160725_162049Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Basilica of the Sacred Heart 7Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Basilica of the Sacred Heart 8Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Basilica of the Sacred Heart 3Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Brussels–Charleroi Canal Brussels–Charleroi Canal

 

Zupan’s, Where Are You? I Miss You!

I’ll admit that I miss, very much, shopping at Zupan’s. My store was the one on Macadam. Knew where everything was, knew people who worked there and most of them knew me. No one knows me in Brussels. In many cities and towns, globally, have neighborhood markets – those places where you go and meet your neighbors and shop for your groceries. Comfortable and familiar. I miss that. And I am here – and that’s a fact. Zupan’s is still where is has always been. Just in case anyone from Zupan’s is reading this blog, please know you are missed.

National Basilica of the Sacred Heart

I had a nice long walk yesterday to find the church I could see out my window. National Basilica of the Sacred Heart. What I didn’t know is that to see it up close, I’d have to walk for nearly an hour (4.4 km).  It looked so close, but my smart phone’s Google map said it was 57 minutes away. Yes, I read yesterday that it was largest Art Deco building in the world. Seeing is believing! The walk was very pleasant, though a blister on my right foot made the walk a little uncomfortable, and the cobblestones. (More on cobblestones in another post.) I did enjoy going through several neighborhoods and watching the people going about their daily routines of shopping (not at Zupan’s though), going to work, unloading goods, washing postal boxes, garbage collectors, gardeners trimming hedges, officers patrolling the streets, or a man standing in a doorway.

I was a doubter, because I kept checking my phone along the way to see if this really was the shortest way to the Basilica. Again, I reminded myself that I was retired and who cares if I was taking the shortest route. Right?

IMG_20160725_162049   Basilica of the Sacred Heart

It is one of the largest church buildings in the world as well (#15) and bigger than St. Paul’s in London.  This is why it looked so close, even from several kilometers away. Perhaps I was a builder or engineer in a past life where I’m curious about how a building this large can be built. Who decided on the design, where did the building materials come from, how many people did it take to help build . . . and the list goes on. There were very few visitors when I was inside. A very different experience from when I visited St. Paul’s. The inside was cavernous and the alter was very simple, and the chapels were as well. Many stained glass windows. The interior volume was an expression in itself, no more was needed. Thoughtful messages from Pope Francis were placed at regular intervals and read them as I walked the perimeter of the interior. Out of respect and inspiration, I made a donation.

After I returned from my outing, I got to do laundry. Woohoo! This is an opportunity to do something productive and to meet new people. I generally need a little help with getting the washer and dryers in the laundromats to work, yet seem to find someone to help me. Yesterday, I had to opportunity to return the favor and help someone – only because I had been in the laundromat before and knew how everything worked.

Two new subjects:

Am I Well?  Yes, I am. Thought I was coming down with something a couple of weeks ago – was sneezing for about a day, then stopped. Been getting sleep (and naps) and plenty to eat. Only thing is the blister on my foot, but that seems much better today.  No serious walks planned for today.

Am I Safe?  Yes, I am. Though I don’t watch much news, I do see occational updates from what I read online or Facebook. I do what I’ve always done while traveling in unfamiliar places – and just be aware and careful. No need to change this routine. I have no fear, but I appreciate friends and family who care. Thank you.

 

Viewing Brussels

Today I woke up with no particular plans. Needed some extra sleep due to neighbors coming home late and having a little after-party in their rooms – at 3:00 a.m. Don’t they know people are trying to sleep? Then I remembered when I was their age (or a little older) doing the same thing. Heck, I don’t have to wake up early – let them have fun. (But I really did want to tell them to knock it off. Ha!)

When I woke up later, and pulled open the curtains, I saw a very large building off in the distance. (More about this later.) Then remembered that I was going to see Palais de Justice (Palace of Justice) first. After breakfast of scrambled eggs (non-refrigerated) and a baguette with butter and raspberry jam, I headed up the hill to Palais de Justice. My Airbnb host gave me some background information on the building’s restoration work, with scaffolding (currently has been in process for 10 years) that probably is in the courts, within that very building. Ironic. From the little research I did – it is the largest court house in the world, which I have no doubt. The pictures I took do not show the massive size of the building. I’m sure there are Brussels children who do not remember the building not having scaffolding. It may be another 10 years before restoration is completed.

Palais de Justice,2  Palais de Justice

Palais de Justice 4 Palais de Justice

Palais de Justice 1Palais de Justice

So why the focus this building? Other than it dominates the skyline of Brussels and is kinda cool with the scaffolding, I found myself getting caught up in the business side of how the restoration got so out of whack. It isn’t any of my concern. I’m retired and I don’t live here – just passing through. Don’t need to worry about these things – other than a mild interest. There are people who are responsible – and it isn’t me. Somehow I know this isn’t the last time I’ll have this discussion with myself.

Back to my day and the view of Brussels…

After a little hike, I got up to the Palais de Justice via an elevator. (I’m sure there is a story why there is an elevator, but it isn’t any of my business.)  The weather had cleared and now I had a great view of the city.

Elevator to Palais de Justice Elevator

View from Palais de Justice Central Brussels

The view above shows the general area where my Airbnb is located – near the tall building just off center. Very easy to get around the city.

Back to the beginning of today. The building I saw when I woke up. I knew approximately where it was located and didn’t do any further research as to its address or even its name – just headed off in the general direction. I didn’t find it – just had a good walk through neighborhoods that are not on the way to an attraction. Which is another topic that I’ll bring up in a future post.

Later, I found out the building I saw in the distance was the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and according to Wiki – it is the largest building in Art Deco style in the world. I’ll get a close-up tomorrow.  You can barely see it in the photo below.

Basilica of the Sacred Heart

The Waffle of My Dreams

I found my waffle: warm, and topped with caramel and whipped cream.  So much sugar – got a sugar high. Maybe a waffle once a week. Next time: chocolate?

Belgian Waffle

Getting around Brussels has been fairly easy, so far. Most of the main historical attractions are centrally located and the city grew around the center over the centuries. Though, some of the side streets really start looking the same. I took a picture of a sample side street. Interesting to walk down these streets and you find yourself in front of an old (I’m talking 13th century old.) church, such as the chapel below or landmark, Halle Gate that follows.

Brussels Street  Sample Side Street – Central Brussels

Eglise Notre-Dame de la Chapelle Our Lady of the Chapel

Halle Gate The Halle Gate

While taking my clothes to the laundry, I came upon the Halle Gate (above). It was part of a medieval fortified city gate. And the turrets were added later, perhaps to make the appearance less austere from medieval times. (At least that is what I got out of reading the Wiki on this structure.)

One of the feature attractions in Brussels is the Grand Place. It is very grand, and the square in the middle is vast. Like most of my visits, I try to arrive early in the day. This is tourist central and many, many tourists visit and shop here. I took pictures of each of the buildings that line the square.

Grand Place 3 Grand Place

Grand Place 4 Grand Place

Grand Place 1 Grand Place

Grand Place 2 Grand Place

Nearby, is a covered shopping mall.

Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert Les-Galeries-Royales-Saint-Hubert

Perhaps a hundred shops in Les-Galeries-Royales-Saint-Hubert. Many chocolate shops! I found something that caught my eye. It was a mosaic made of 11,000 pieces of women in what looked like swimsuits or lingerie, that made the picture of the nun. The name of the piece is “Adoration” and was LED backlit. The picture below doesn’t capture the impact, but thought I’d include anyway. Just because I wanted to.  🙂

Adoration 11,000 individual images LED backlit

Tomorrow I’ll kick up the site seeing again. Only got in a little over 10,000 steps today. When I move to my next place in Brussels, I plan to do a one or two day trip to Paris to “check the vibe” – certainly not the full experience which will happen when I plan a month (or more) long visit later next year.

Brussels was the perfect place to take a little break. With my car being transferred to the new owners, as of today, that is one less thing to think about. Still a few items left on my departure “to-do” list that I’ll address over the next few weeks. In a few days, it will be a month since I left Portland. I’ll probably write more about I feel about that now that I have some perspective between then and now.

 

Welcome to Belgium

I was ready to leave London and see what was happening on the other side of the channel. On my last day I made a quick trip to Westminster Abby to pay my respects to Queen Elizabeth I who is buried there along with many others. The site and the building are very ancient with much history. Saw the coronation chair, which looks like it has been through the wringer, and has been part of the coronation ceremony from the early days without interruption – now that is consistency!

I’ll be back to London in December, or late November, and will continue to visit the many attractions and learn the history. I’d like to spend Christmas in London. And also enjoy the city when the heat and humidity are history. I could live in London for years and not take in all there is to see, do and learn. This visit, I just touched the surface.

After the visit to the Abby, I made it back to the flat and my hosts (very thoughtful and kind) who served tea and light snacks before catching a taxi to St. Pancras, where the Eurostar begins the journey to Brussels. Even with a stop in Lille, we were able to reach Brussels in 2 hours. The trip through the Chunnel was not quite what I expected – though wasn’t sure what I expected. After seeing a documentary on how it was built, thought there would be more to it. Anyway… We left St. Pancras and went through a series of tunnels, then the open fields leading through Ashford (England) before it enters the channel tunnel. Without any announcement, there is darkness for a little less than 20 minutes, then we find ourselves in the open fields of France to Lille.

Side note: I see many, what look like, small farms on the way to Brussels. Saw also small farms when I took my day trip to the cliffs of Dover. Not sure why I like that, but I do.

So now we begin “Welcome to Belgium”. Maybe some who are reading this assume that I’ve been to Europe. Actually, this is my first trip here. Being in Brussels, I’m now at a location where not everyone speaks English and I need to really pay attention. My French is very limited, but can read signs and get the drift. I’ve been here a day and now just go with the flow.

As of today, I had to go to “Plan B”. The weather in London, and also Brussels, has been hot, along with high humidity. The Airbnb that I checked into yesterday had no air conditioning. Last night, I maybe got an hour or two of sleep. I opened the window to let the minimal breeze carry in some cool air but it also brought with it mosquitoes. I had already taken two showers and was still hot and very uncomfortable. To pass the time, I looked for a hotel with air conditioning. I’m now in a nice hotel, centrally located, with air conditioning and room service. I’ll stay here for two nights before my next Airbnb, which will be a flat that I’ll have to myself. The one I stayed at last night was with 5 people sharing a kitchen and bath, which I didn’t mind so much, but the heat!

This morning, before moving to the hotel, I walked up to the Atomium, an attraction from the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, one of the reasons I was attracted to Brussels. I had, as a pre-schooler, a Viewmaster disk of the 1958 fair and remember being in awe of the picture of the Atomium. It was so amazing, I didn’t think it was real. So today, I saw it in person and it is truly amazing. Looks like something from another world and you wonder how it supports itself. As a footnote: it was designed by the engineer Andre Waterkeyn and architects Andre and Jean Polak and it stands 102 meters tall. The Atomium is a giant model of a unit cell of an iron crystal (each sphere representing an atom).  As an added note, the fair, the first worlds fare since the end of WWII, was opened with a call for world peace and social and economic progress.

The pictures today are of mainly (naturally) of the Atomium and also a church (Brussels’ Notre Dame from the 15th century) that was a couple of blocks away from where I spent the one night at the Airbnb.

Tomorrow will be more R&R. I’ve been averaging 20K steps (plus!) per day for the last couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to two nights with blackout curtains and air conditioning. 🙂  And room service!

First View of Atomium First Sighting: Atomium

Atomium 1 Atomium (South View)

Atomium 2 Inside Atomium

Atomium 3 Inside Atomium

Atomium 4 Atomium (North View)

Notre Dame Front Notre Dame Brussels (Front)

Notre Dame Brussels Side Notre Dame Brussels (Side)

Monument in Brussels Royal Garden Monument by Royal Palace

 

 

St. Paul’s and The Shard

On my last full day in London, for awhile (back in December), I decided to visit Westminster Abby, St. Paul’s and “The Shard”.  Thought this was going to be too much for one day, and it was.  When I got to Westminster it was packed, with many people arriving early and with tickets already purchased on-line.  Because I didn’t want to obligate myself for this site, I decided to not purchase ahead of time. Guess it worked out for the best. I then hoofed it down to St. Paul’s and had a good walk along the river.  Along the way, took a couple of pictures of Cleopatra’s Needle (a gift from Egypt).

Before I get too far along, I need to explain why I was going to St. Pauls. Remember Mary Poppins, the scene with the woman feeding the birds and Mary sang the lullaby song? That really stuck with me. I’ve been waiting to go an visit St. Paul’s where the “tuppence for birds” was to have taken place. Funny how some things stay with you after so many years.

The little old bird woman comes
In her own special way to the people
She calls, “Come, buy my bags full of crumbs”

“Come feed the little birds, show them you care
And you’ll be glad if you do
Their young ones are hungry, their nests are so bare
All it takes is tuppence from you”

“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag
Feed the birds”, that’s what she cries
While overhead, her birds fill the skies

All around the cathedral, the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares
Although you can’t see it, you know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares

Though her words are simple and few
“Listen, listen”, she’s calling to you
“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag”

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHrRxQVUFN4  (Have a listen.)

This song is with me when I’m inspired to share my good (another way to say “giving”).  So now you know.

Okay, so I only have a few pictures of St. Paul’s since cameras are not allowed inside. This is the main Church of England, and the Queen’s church, since she is the head of it. And yes, this is where Charles and Diana, and many others have been married and where state funerals are generally held. Westminster is where some state functions happen, but I don’t know the particulars.  St. Paul’s is filled with so much art and history. Wellington and Nelson are buried here and are greatly honored along with tributes to those who served in the two world wars. Our guide (a volunteer) was so well-versed. Though I had the option of a pre-recorded audio presentation, but wanted to ask questions. One question I was glad I asked (and assumed by his age he would have been young during the war) was if he found himself in any of the bombing raids. He answered that he was, at about the age of 4 – then was very serious, when he told of the sounds and smell.  Something you never forget he said. And you could tell by the way he said it, he was there, and he remembered. His town of Plymouth was completely destroyed. During the war, this church was a beacon of hope to those in London, and England as well.  Churchill said that above all else, this church much survive the terrible bombings, and with the help of many volunteers, it did. This is the heart of London.

Down the road, so to speak (give or take a mile or so), was The Shard.  It is the tallest building in the EU, at 800 feet. It does look like a shard of glass. I waited for a clear day, and today was the day. I tried to zoom in on some of the pictures below, so some of the London sites could be seen better. The views are really amazing and give you a good perspective of the size of the city. The River Thames, as it snakes through the city is the star of the show. Also some pictures of London Bridge (not Tower Bridge which looks like it should be London Bridge but it isn’t).  The bridge is not fancy, but seems very sturdy and gets the traffic and people from one side of the river to the other in the busiest part of the city.

Very warm today – mid 80’s.  And tomorrow it will be very warm – both London and Brussels will be pushing 90s. No air conditioning is needed. Cools off very quickly in the evening.

Buckingham Place Again Buckingham Palace (Yes, again!)

Bird Cage Walk Buckingham to Westminster “Bird Cage” Walk to Westminster

Westminster 1 Westminster

Westminster 2 Westminster

Cleopatra NeedleCleopatra’s Needle (next to the river)

Cleopatra SphinxSphinx (with Cleopatra)

St Pauls 2St Pauls 3   St Paul’s (Big!)

IMG_20160718_130249626 St. Paul’s Steps

The Shard and London Bridge London Bridge and The Shard

IMG_20160718_135332637City of Westminster

IMG_20160718_141643016  Tower Bridge and Tower of London

Loo with a View Restroom at The Shard  A view from the “Loo” (Shard Humor)

St Pauls  St. Paul’s from Shard

Churchill  Churchill (near Westminster)