Saturday, February 17, 2007

-London Part III- Shakespeare, Crown Jewels, and St. Pauls Cathederal

Tower Bridge - Click image for more pics

We woke up to a pretty beautiful day. The sun was actually sunny outside (partially) so we decided to explore the eastern part of London and headed over to the Tower of London . We walked across the Millenium Bridge which drops you of right in front of the St. Paul's Cathederal. What a breathtakin' view of this church and the Thames River. On our way to the Tower we also passed by Shekespeares Theatre. We took a tour and got to actually walk around the inside of the theatre. Even though this is a recreation of the original theatre that burned down centuries ago... it was pretty authentic down to every detail. And even in the contruction of the building they used only material and equipment that were available in the time of Shakespeare. The tour guide also walked us up to the booth in which Queen Elizabeth II sat to watch the very first play when the new theatre opened a few years ago in the late '90's. pretty cool indeed.

After the Shakespeare Theatre we took a long and cold walk to the "Tower of London". We passed several bridges along the way and froze our tails off as you'll see in some of the pics. ;) The coolest by far was the "Tower Bridge" It has so much detail and a brillian blue pinstripe detail along the whole edge. It looked more like a castle than a bridge!

At the Tower of London we got to tour around all the different sections of the castle. From the bedrooms to the small cathederal. They even had a section dedicated as a armory. The castle has been used for so many different purposes encluding beheadings and jails that it's rumored to be haunted... boo! HAHA!

By far however, the best part of the Tower was being able to see the Crown Jewels. They are all being displayed permenantely in this area everything from crowns to orbs to swords you'll find it here! Again.... I couldn't take pictures... but you can catch a small glimps of them here.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

-London Part II- From Manet to Picasso

Westminster Abbey - Click image for more pics

Our second day found us in the halls of Westminster Abbey. We spent the better part of the morning exploring the resting places of England's many Kings and Queens. This was a pretty amazing building and the detail was exquisit and breathtakin'. Unfortunately, the only picture we were allowed to take was outside the building. In this same area we got to see a great view of Big Ben and the "Eye" of London.... we thought of going on it... but decided we'd rather take a closer look at all the neighborhood instead of the birds eye view.

Later in the afternoon we headed off to London's National Gallery Museum located in Trafalgar Square.
We got to see so many iconic paitings and drawings by all the masters from Manet to Picasso. We got to see Vincent VanGogh's "Sunflowers", DaVinci's "The Virgin of the Rocks", and Raphael's "The Madonna of the Pinks", Rembrant's "Self Portrait", Michelangelo's "The Entombement", and my all time favorite, DaVinci's "The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist". I think this one moved me the most because I'm facinated with pencil sketch and line drawings. It reminded me of a rough animation drawing. Very very amazing to sit and take a real close look at these paintings.

We were also able to explore the city a little more by taking the tube, London's undergroud subway. I was amazed at how accesible the whole city was with just one railway ticket. And remember to "mind the gap" as they say. ;)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

-London Part I- Parthenon, Rosetta Stone, and Cleopatra... oh my!

This being my first trip out of the US I was a bit nervous and excited to be seeing a part of the world I had only read in books or seen in movies. The first place we arrived was the Kennsington Train station out of Hethrow airport in London. We hopped on one of the "black" taxi's and headed toward our hotel. In the cab ride we got to see some cool sights, but what freaked me out the most was the simple things, like driving on the opposite side of the road. I kept mentally trying to adjust, it took me all trip to get use to it... the good news is that we didn't drive at all while in London. Thier public transportation is just amazing and blows LA's out of the water. We stayed in the "SoHo" area near Picadilly Circus. I later realized this is the most centralized area to all the great landmarks and museums.

In short, on our first day we got to head to the British Museum where we got to see so many amazing pieces of art, a section of the actual Parthenon taken from the temple of Athena in Greece, the Rosetta Stone, and the mumified Cleopatra. Here are some pics of our first day in London.

......Cleopatra's Mummy...............Entrance to Tomb.....

..The Rosetta Stone.......British Museum....