London -- The first 4 Days

Thursday. The two pictures below show us leaving at 9 A.M. a very pastoral East Sussex on a pleasant road where sheep and cars compete on an equal basis -- to a busy, hectic London in the Earl's Court section of the city where we finally found our Alamo rental drop and deposited our car of two wonderful weeks.
We were actually sorry to leave our adopted Vauxhall.
Our hotel had a pleasant balcony facing the street. We had a nip of duty free here before dinner.
Friday, July 27. London enthusiasts will recognize the structure on the right as being right across the street from the Royal Albert Hall. We walked there the next morning and bought tickets for the evening proms concert since we couldn't get into the orchestra. We saw this ad later in the week  
The proms are a wonderful English tradition. We scanned this out of the program.

Welcome to the BBC Proms 2001

This annual summer season was founded in 1895 by Sir Henry Wood to bring the best of classical music to a wide audience in an informal setting, and his aims continue today. From the outset in the old Queen's Hall, part of the audience has stood in the 'promenade', and the programmes have always mixed great classics with what Wood called his 'novelties'. The BBC took over the promotion of the Proms in 1927, and the season moved to the Royal Albert Hall during the war. The Proms are now famous for their adventurous programming, bringing together the BBC's own orchestras, British ensembles and major visiting orchestras in an international festival that is accessible to all through BBC Radio 3 and BBC Television broadcasts, and now through the BBC Proms website too. We hope you enjoy the concert and return often to the Proms.

Nicholas Kenyon, Director, BBC Proms

(People can go to these concerts for as little as three pounds.) We heard Rubbra, SymphonyNo.4, Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major, and Elgar's Symphony No.2.

Of course -- we are standing in front of the British Museum where they are having a Cleopatra exhibition. 
We had a battle with the London Tube officials. We needed I.D. photos for our 7 day tube passes which cost so much, it made 5 1-day passes a better buy. But, NEVER do that. The long queues every morning to buy a 1-day pass would cause more delay than it would be worth.
We finally got our passes, and tubed into Leicester Square.
It was a pleasant room, and since it was hot, Elaine could write email letters from the balcony after dinner where it was cool. The first night was terribly noisy with all the cars roaring down the street until the wee hours in the morning. The hotel manager was nice enough to move us to a back room where the only noise was the District line tube a whole street away.

What is this?  Well, if I step back a bit, you might see.
It was a fabulous display of some of the oldest things we have ever seen. The whole exhibition moves to Chicago next.

This entire courtyard has been recently covered.

Of course this central domed area is the famous reading room.

It used to be open to the rain and other elements.

Had we time, we might have checked out something to read.

Our next goal was the Tate Modern. Joan said the art is wild and ugly, but it's a good picture taking place. Our map supplied by Virgin Airlines had a Tate Museum, so we took a tube there. Alas, Tate Modern is a totally different place. We were told to cross the Lambeth bridge and take bus 341.
This is a view from the Lambeth bridge. We will see many pics of the Ferris wheel later. It's called the London Eye. The 341 took us to the old power station, according to our map. It now is the Tate Modern.
And from the top floor of Tate Modern, from the windows of their restaurant, we see the reconstruction of William Shakespeare's Globe Theater. We meant to come back here, but we never did. They perform his plays here.

This is the new Millennium Bridge with St. Paul's behind it.
Saturday! After Elaine sent some mail, we boarded the Picadilly tube from the opposite tube entrance, which gave me an excuse to photograph the exhibition center that gave this whole region it's name.
After the matinee play, we walked around Piccadilly Circus.
We ate dinner at Addie's, the best Thai Restaurant in London. Walk north on Earl's Court Rd. on right almost to Cromwell.
We went to Leicester Square to buy a half price ticket to ...
The Witches of Eastwick, in case you can't read it. It was a silly musical with some fantastic staging -- like the three witches being hoisted by wires all around the theater. They had trouble getting one down during the interval.
The steps around the statue was covered up for some reason.
Sunday morning view from our new room at the back. The District Line tube we hear is behind those blue roofed houses.
After church, we had a lazy afternoon and decided to try to ride the London Eye. Here is a picture of it from across the river. 

Sunday Morning. We decided to take the tube to St. Paul's We broke Rule 1. NEVER take two tubes if you can get there in one -- even if you have to walk a bit. The two tube combination had a bus arrangement taking persons from Holburn to the three next stops, including St. Paul's. So, we took two tubes to avoid that. Another mistake. The bus arrangement was very efficient -- we were told later by a couple that got there in time. We were 20 minutes late, but missed none of the music or the sermon. 

St Paul's Cathedral
29 July 2001


Mass in G Franz Shubert
Aurora Nova Choir and Orchestra

The music was wonderful. Choir consisted of 14 women -- no little boys in frilly collars. We chatted with a cello player afterwards and found out that it was a substitute choir because of the summer holiday season. No pictures, however. They don't allow any photography inside. That put me off so much, I took none outside as well! You'll have to settle for distant shots from across the Thames and from the London Eye.
Please visit our next London site, entitled London Eye. It has lots of pictures from the top of that wheel.