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)

Moving Forward and Climbing

I enjoy thinking of titles for each of these (almost daily) posts. Generally I sit still and wait for the words to come to me. Other times, they get to me before I know it. And based on my activities yesterday (moving forward) and today (climbing) today’s title seemed fine.

Yesterday, I did a lot of walking. Needed to move.  Move forward. Walked to a couple of open markets to check out the wares. Neither were big productions, but seemed to have much character and all the necessary basic items that most people enjoy.  Brought back some small potatoes and veggies and steamed them and “rocket salad” (arugula) and spinach as well.  And some bread.  Went on another long walk to the Peace Memorial Pagoda (from my walk yesterday) that is in Battersea Park, along the River Thames. After some reflection, I continued my walk down to the Albert Bridge and over to the other side and along the opposite side of the Thames. It wasn’t until my feet started to ache a little that I stopped. No need to overdo it.

I decided on Saturday to see the White Cliffs of Dover, over 60 miles away. Also desired to get out of London and see the countryside. In less than 30 minutes outside of London, the train took us through the farmlands and countryside. Nothing large and commercial. Seemed like a number of small farms. Was nice to just to sit and watch from the train to Dover. Before I knew it, with a bus transfer, we were in Dover. But I was hungry (no breakfast) and took advantage of a pub across the street from the station. Great hosts and food – and enough to sustain me on my hike to the cliffs.

I took some pictures of the Dover Castle.  Bigger than Windsor Castle.  Looks over the town of Dover.  What a great site!

Getting to the cliffs by car or bus is easy.  Walking there, which I did, took a little stamina.  It was an hour walk from the station (and pub), and including the time I watched the activity in the harbor and the ferry boats, it took about 90 minutes, including the climb up the hill to one of the viewpoints.  When I got my full-on first look at the cliffs it was like I was watching a movie. Somehow this wasn’t like seeing Big Ben for the first time, and maybe because the cliffs are so vast, and white, but I don’t know…  These pictures do not do justice.  Guess you will have to see for yourself.  I’m going back at a later date and allow more time – perhaps stay at a local B&B.

Tomorrow is my last full day in London for awhile.  I have some more sites to see.  On Tuesday, I leave for Brussels. <grin>  Very excited!!  Belgian Waffles?!?

I’m going to miss my hosts here at this Airbnb.  They have been kind and helpful. Maybe I’ll see them again when I return in December.

Battersea Pagoda 1 Peace Memorial in Battersea Park

Albert Bridge 4River Thames Bridge

Battersea Bridge 1River Thames Bridge

Albert Bridge 1Albert Bridge

Albert Bridge 2Albert Bridge

English Countryside London to Dover 3English CountrysideEnglish Countryside London to Dover 2English Countryside

Dover Castle 1Dover Castle

Dover Castle 2Dover Castle

Pub Meal in DoverLunch before the climb

Walk Up to Dover CliffsClimb up to the cliffs

White Cliffs of Dover 1White Cliffs of DoverWhite Cliffs of Dover 2White Cliffs of DoverIMG_20160717_140958629White Cliffs of Dover

View From Double Decker BusUpper Deck Bus View

Victoria Station TracksTracks!!  Victoria Station

 

Yes, I am an Anglophile…

Perhaps its in my DNA, with ancestors mainly from the British Isles, and primarily from England?  Who knows? Yes I do, I am an Anglophile. Case in point, last night I watched a YouTube of the Queen opening Parliament, from 18th May 2016. Guilty! Haha.

By now I’ve seen, what I believe, are the true (IMHO) iconic sites in London (Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Westminster Abby, and Windsor Castle (with the crown jewels).  Included in today’s update are pictures from my visit to the Tower of London and Windsor Castle, among other pictures of interest. I even went back to Buckingham Palace after seeing on TV (haven’t called it the “telly” yet) the outgoing PM and the incoming PM meet with the Queen.  It was time for my evening walk, so why not check in with Buckingham Place again?

I’ve continue to have fun exploring the various neighborhoods in Kensington and the surrounding area.  Just walking up to Paddington Station yesterday to take the train to Windsor, I passed through a couple of new neighborhoods and watched people headed for work. (Work?  What is that?)  My next neighborhood (also within the City of Westminster) Pimlico, will get me closer to the Thames and an opportunity to explore into South London.  (Update:  After I wrote the proceeding, I met up with my new hosts and was taken on a hike into Battersea Park.)

Besides walking, taking the Tube is a easy way to get around since London is so vast.  Think I have it figured out, but when I have a question there is no problem finding someone willing to offer directions.  Especially if you smile.

Another comment, is the diversity of the people visiting all of these London sites.  Perhaps it would be like being in the cafeteria at the U.N.  All of the languages spoken and English not being primary one. Imagine! What I also noticed is that we were all having a good time, with much laughter and everyone getting along well. I don’t watch the news so much but aware of recent events. Yes, I will be careful, but not afraid. The good in us, collectively, vastly outweighs that which is not.

(Note:  I don’t have the pictures from Tower of London ready.  Also note the pictures of Battersea Park below.  The kid’s “swing” – no nets to catch.  If someone falls… )

Windsor Castle

Paddington Station Paddington Station

IMG_20160714_112253988Outside the State Rooms

Windsor Castle 1Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle and Round TowerWindsor Castle

Windsor Castle 2Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle Round TowerRound Tower – Windsor

IMG_20160714_103859755Round Tower – Windsor

View from Windsor CastleView from Windsor

Faux Brickwork During New RoofFaux castle brick during repairs

Windsor Castle 5Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle 6Windsor Castle

St Georges Chaple St. George’s Chaple

Hyde Park Afternoon 2 Hyde Park

Hyde Park Afternoon 1 Hyde Park

Birds Lined Up Hyde Park – Birds Lined Up

Kensington Garden Evening Walk 1 Kensington Gardens

IMG_20160715_164753037 Me (7 July 2016)

Kids Park 1Battersea Park

IMG_20160715_161248325Battersea Park

Walking!

Yesterday was the Tower of London followed by some city walks (over 22,000 steps), including Buckingham Palace (again).  Today was Windsor Palace and Kensington Gardens with over 24,000 steps.  So where are the pictures?  Tomorrow my friends.  I’ll have some free time before I check into my next Airbnb location to upload pictures.

Finding Balance

Still so much to see here in London.  Every day is a few learning experience.  Doing ordinary things is a new learning, such as going to the post office, dropping off cleaning, or taking a shower in a new bathroom and adjusting the valves so I don’t get scalded or freeze.  And my new living experience where I share one bathroom and one kitchen with three other rooms.

Learning, adapting, and balance.

The balance comes in when I do too many activities in one day.  I have to remember that I have all the time I need and not on a schedule. I’ll be back in London towards the end of the year and don’t need to do everything now. I’m great at planning activities.  Not so good at kicking back. My evening walk yesterday (pictures below) through Hyde Park was amazing due to the weather, sites, and people I met along the way. The new flat is across the street from the park, with the idea that I’d take walks there. Weather permitting, I’ll start a walk earlier this evening and take my time.  Captured an excellent picture of the Prince Albert Memorial, across from the Royal Albert Hall on Kensington Road down from where I’m staying. Had a nice chat with some people as they were feeding the swans.  The wide boulevards in the park are amazing and hard to believe that this is in a very large city.

Earlier in the day I went to the V&A (Victoria and Albert) Museum and explored until I reached my saturation point, but I’ll be back.

Taking care of business in the U.S. is still a struggle.  Haven’t got in self-maintenance mode yet.  I just have to know that it will happen.  Limit myself to no more than an hour each day and what doesn’t get done, doesn’t get done.  Ha!

Today I wanted to see Tower Bridge, the other icon of London. (Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are my other two.)  Since I knew that afternoon showers were expected, I was out of the flat early and headed down to the river.  Made easy connections via the Tube and was there in 45 minutes, door-to-door.  And there I saw the Tower of London and nearby the Tower Bridge.  I’ll save Tower of London tour for tomorrow.  I did walk across and back on Tower Bridge and enjoyed the sites in each direction.  Many school-age youth, with their energy, were also walking  (and bouncing) along.  So many languages and smiles.

There was a building that I wanted to see up close. I’ve seen it in movies and TV and wondered what it was like nearby.  It is nicknamed The Gherkin (real name is 30 St Mary Axe).  And if you saw it, you would agree with the nickname.  I’m also interested in The Shard, but that will be another day.  I included a picture below (western Europe’s tallest building).

Balance.

IMG_20160711_171345684Current Flat, 36 Hyde Park

 

IMG_20160711_141851897Victoria & Albert Museum

IMG_20160712_155138Victoria and Albert Museum

IMG_20160711_152335387_HDR V & A

IMG_20160711_142039003_HDRInside V & A

IMG_20160711_150948602Inside V & A

IMG_20160711_150717823_HDRV & A  (Glass Sculpture – who dusts this?)

IMG_20160711_201658425_HDRPrince Albert Memorial

IMG_20160711_201714709_HDR Royal Albert Hall

Hyde Park Walk

IMG_20160711_202241640_HDR Hyde Park Boulevard

IMG_20160711_201443916_HDRIMG_20160711_203213438_HDRHyde Park & SwansIMG_20160711_203219761_HDRHyde Park and Swans (Like the swans!)

IMG_20160711_203524324_HDRHyde Park Swans

IMG_20160711_204415962_HDRHyde Park Boulevard

Visit to Tower Bridge

Financial District IMG_20160712_155318IMG_20160712_104416210 Tower Bridge (not London Bridge)

IMG_20160712_102507152_HDR Tower Bridge

IMG_20160712_102526728  The Shard

IMG_20160712_113013349_HDR  The Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe)

IMG_20160712_113459261_HDR  Interesting Building in Financial District

IMG_20160712_154901 Queens Gate (Nearby)

IMG_20160712_111045025_HDR  Pub Sign Near Tower of London

Exploring Neighborhoods and Looking Around

One of my cousins asked if I wouldn’t mind checking out, and taking pictures, of a couple of places where a family member (in-law) lived in London – just “down the street” from where I’m staying.  So today was the day I decided I was now experienced enough to go exploring and away from the main thoroughfares.

I took the tube from near my location, Gloucester Road, to Hammersmith.  Still learning how to read the subway / underground / tube maps (guess the proper name is “tube”).  If I’m not sure, I ask, and if I’d like to roll the dice and take a chance on where I might end up, I get on the next tube that enters the station.  No rush.  I did manage to get to the Hammersmith stop and found the two homes from the addresses I was given.  The first location was a little odd, at first.  The home was in a row of houses, but it was like the homes in the middle were not of the same vintage as the others on either side of the block.  Perhaps they were rebuilt because of a fire, or perhaps bombed during WWII?  I’ve wondered what parts of the city were impacted.  The next home was about 30 minutes away by foot.  One of the streets I went down was named Askew Road, but it didn’t seem that it was askew.  So now may have two questions to research: 1) Possible site where an area was bombed during WWII, and 2) How Askew Road got it’s name.

Earlier, I saw an interesting building when I got off the tube in Hammersmith.  Discovered that this building has a name:  “The Ark” and and found this:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ark,_London

GE Building in Hammersmith   The Ark (GE Financial)

Tomorrow I move to my next location.  Here is the listing: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/11038035

Need to confirm when I’m to be out of this place on when to meet my host at the new place.

Tomorrow I’m treating myself to a shave and haircut.