Traveling to London to see monuments at night

On the morning of July 17th, we departed York for London via Windsor Castle. Our tour manager, Stan, had told us that we would probably be out late that in London so that we could see as much as possible in the day and a half we would be in the city. Many people took the opportunity on the four hour drive to sleep and were eventually awakened by…

We arrived in the Windsor area at about 1:30 and went through security to begin the tour. 

In the “Battle of Helpful Signs,” Windsor is clearly superior to any American airport.

Windsor is a massive complex, with walls and gates that have been updated through the years to make them look more “castle-ly.” There are a number of gardens spread throughout the castle. 



Importantly, multiple sources report that the ice cream at Windsor is excellent. 

Audio guides were provided for tours of the inside and outside of the castle. The audio devices looked as awesome as they worked.


The best part of the visit was going inside; unfortunately, no pictures were allowed of the ornate doll house, the dolls with fur coats that cost more than my car, 

Instead, I present you with this picture of the Windsor sprinkler.


There is so much to see in Windsor that we had to move fast even though we were give over two hours to tour the place. At four, the group left on the hour drive to our hotel, which was located in the Kensington area of London. 


This hotel was massive and in some ways massively incompetent. On the bus, several travelers could hear Stan phoning ahead our room assignments to the hotel, which the hotel then scrambled. And about 2/3 of the door keys were miskeyed. All of the stress from these misadventures could only be relieved by…

A phone fix.

London is a huge city, by far the largest we visited on this trip. Even compared to other large cities, the main features of London are spread out; while individual parts of London can be seen by walking, the only way to see as much of the city as possible is to use the Tube. 

So guess what we were doing!

Stan is a veteran tour manager who understands that only by repeating instructions a dozen time can he ensure that those instructions have a chance of being absorbed by the teenaged brain.

 

Arthur was almost excited by the Tube ride. Almost.

Our first stop was Westminster, with views of the Eye and Big Ben


We even had some time for some forced perspective and posed shots. Because posing makes everything better. 

Getting everyone to make the “Cosby C” in the correct direction emerged as the greatest challenge of the night.


We walked to Westminster Abbey to see the exterior of the cathedral. 

We got a picture of our whole tour group, including the travelers from Michigan, our tour manager, Stan, and…

Portions of Ford and Marcia’s faces. Always remember that Marcia and Ford sacrificed half of their faces appearing in this picture so that others in the group could have their full faces photographed.

Next, we were off to the Tower of London via the Tube. At this point, we were clearly experts at London mass transportation.

No hands! NO HANDS!!!

In spite of our daredevil Tube riding, we made it to the Tower of London.

A few feet from the tube stop for the Tower is a segment of the old Roman wall, built when London was known as “Londinium.”

It remains unclear in this picture whether our travelers mistook this wall for Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, were being placed under arrest, or really revered the Roman wall.


 

Like vampires, many of our travelers only came fully to life after the sun set.

To the dismay of this Roman centurion as well as any native Londoner we encountered on the Tube.


 
Taking advantage of this renewed energy, we moved in for a closer look at the Tower.

Which was less a “tower” than a collection of “towers.” I’ll have to employ my teacher pen to correct all of the signs in bright red ink.


Just around the corner from the Tower of London is the famous Tower Bridge. 


Having travelled from one end of the north side of the Thames to the other, several people now had to go to the bathroom, and they lucked out when we ran across this:


I’m not sure what the inside was like, but Ethan took one look in and quickly backed away. This was a striking response given that Ethan has seen the restrooms at Cosby, where people sometimes treat toilets as optional depositories. 

To end the night, we rode on a London double-decker bus. 


Next up – London in daylight and our return to the United States. 

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