Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More Europe: Our First Day in London

As Mr. Reynolds checked us into our hotel, I was fascinated by the chandeliers hanging in the lobby. It's hard to tell by this picture, but each one is dangling at a a different angel.

As soon as we dropped our luggage in our rooms, we went on a hunt for food. On the way, this contrast of the old ~ London's traditional double-decker buses ~ with the recent development of rental bikes intrigued my photographer's eye.

We walked around the Australian Embassy in Trafalgar Square, only to discover our favorite restaurant in the area had closed in the last time we were here in 2008. You might suspect that this eatery served some very European delights. But no. The restaurant had been called "The Texas Embassy" and served wonderful Tex-Mex. When we lived in England in the late 1990s, Tex-Mex was very difficult to find. Thus when we'd make a day trip into London to sight see, we'd finish the fun with a bit of "home." Today, the restaurant wasn't nearly so welcoming!

We again rounded the center island of Trafalgar Square and walked past the National Gallary of art. We were eager to get in a couple hours of perusing art, but we were far too hungry to ohhhh and ahhhh over famous paintings until our stomachs were filled.

Happily, just around the corner past the massive museum was one of our favorite pizza restaurants: Pizza Express. Every since living in the U.K., we've loved this chain that stretches across Great Britain serves delicious paper-thin-crusted pizza, and every restaurant is decorated differently. Here we were greeted by a giant prayer extolling the importance of making the best pizza possible.

We were surprised to discover that the other giant wall hanging pictured hay fields that looked just like home in Iowa!

Our jet-lagged crew slowly made their choices.

We were a subdued crew until we finally got fed. This was Nathaniel, Kirsten and Eliana's first European foray.

After getting refreshed, we retraced our steps and walked by St. Martin's in the Field, the church in the background. If you're a classical music fan, you may notice that some of your recordings have taking place in this ancient building with remarkable acoustics.

We continued on toward the front door of the National Gallery. We were surprised to see a statue of George Washington on the lawn that hadn't been there when we last visited.

Apparently the piece of artwork was a gift from the state of Virginia.

Surprisingly, I don't having any pictures of the art work inside the Gallery since photography was allowed in most location in the building. On this Sunday crowds filled the building which made getting tourist-free photo difficult.

On our way back to the hotel, I was enchanted by this building flying so many British flags. Such majesty!

This elegant sculpture hanging on the curved corner of the South African Embassy also caught my attention.

Here's another view of the building flying five Union Jacks from closer to our hotel.

By this time, this mother of 12 was a victim of jet lag and desperately wanted my bed! So we marched by the pretty flowers...

...and into our hotel. I went to sleep about four and slept 'til morning, while the rest of the crew went out to do some more early evening sightseeing new Big Ben.

More to come...

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