London is the capital city of England, part of the United Kingdom, which also includes Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Queen Elizabeth II is the reigning monarch, but Great Britain is actually ruled by Parliament. Its currency, as of July, 2000, was the British Pound, which had a value of approximately $1.50 US. London is one of the largest cities of the world.

On our way to our hotel, we saw many of the sights of London. Probably the most famous of them all is the Great Clock in the tower above the House of Parliament where Big Ben rings. Next to it is Westminster Abby, where most of the official ceremonies, such as coronations, take place.

Our hotel overlooked the London Tower Bridge which crosses the Thames River.

When I first saw it, I thought it was London Bridge, but alas, London Bridge truly was falling down, so it was purchased by Robert McCulloch, dismantled, and reassembled in Arizona.The bridge sparkled at night.

Nearby was the Tower of London, in which are housed the crown jewels of the monarchy.

The tower is served by a group of guards known as the Beefeaters. There is also a collection of medieval armour housed in the White Tower.

We took a cruise down the River Thames and learned about some of the executions that took place at the tower such as that of Sir Thomas More and Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII.

England has had a long-term relationship with India and is well known for its Indian restaurants, so we enjoyed a dinner of Lamb Curry.

London is famous for theatre. We saw a lively production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS at the New London Theatre. The show opened in 1981, and is the longest running musical in British musical history.

One of the best known of Britain's monarchs was Queen Victoria, who reigned around the turn of the twentieth century. Her husband, Prince Albert died at the age of 39, after which, the queen dressed in black for the remainder of her life. A golden statue was erected in his honor in a park across from the Royal Albert Hall where many performances are held.

Many famous authors and playwrights have come from England. We passed a pub where Charles Dickens often spent time with his friends. While we cruised the Thames, we passed by the replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre which was built after the London Fire.

Right next door still stands the Anchor Tavern where he often met with his friends.

We went shopping at one of the world's best known department stores, Harrod's. It has only two sales per year, one in January, and one in July. England is well known for woolen sweaters and Harris Tweed jackets. There is a huge food section in which you can purchase all sorts of teas, coffee, candy, and gourmet meats, pastries, and other delicacies.

The pubs of London often have windowboxes brimming with flowers. We had lunch at The Lamb and Flag Pub. We ate delicious deep dish beef pie covered with flaky pastry. We tried some lemonade, which is quite different from what we call lemonade in the US, and is more like our 7Up.

One of the newest sites in London is the London Eye, an enormous ferris wheel which was erected to celebrate the new millennium. It is a very slow ride of just one rotation of the wheel, designed to give the most scenic views of the city. It may be there for just five years, but will remain if it proves to be popular.

We saw St. Paul's Cathedral, the second largest cathedral in the world, second only to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, in which Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married. Royal weddings are ordinarily held in Westminster Abby, but the cathedral was used to accomodate more people for the wedding of this popular couple.

The next day, we got up early and traveled by bus to Dover, where we would take the ferry across the English Channel to Calais, France. From the ferry we could look back and see the famous White Cliffs of Dover.

On the way, we passed through Greenwich and crossed over the Zero Meridien, which divides the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. This is the town where the atomic clock is housed, which is the official time standard for the world.

To visit each country, click on the flag to the left
FranceGermanyHome Page
ItalyLiechtensteinMap of Europe
MonacoSwitzerlandVatican City