Thursday, May 24, 2012

England, Part One

I got back from England a couple days ago. It was kind of a spur of the moment trip, which meant a lot of scrambling around the two weeks beforehand, getting everything in place, and therefore not a whole lot of blogging. So, if you've been wondering why I haven't posted much in the last while, that's the big reason. I'd have said something about the trip, except you're not really supposed to tell the internet about your travel plans. 

But I can share pictures of the trip after the fact, so here goes. Easy blog posts ahoy!

Here's the Dutch coast, about half an hour after my transfer in Amsterdam: 

And here's a mostly-Victorian graveyard in Manchester…

… that contained an intriguing gravestone. I'm voting time travel.

Make that two intriguing gravestones. I'm not sure what the symbolism means here.

I was in Manchester for my sister's wedding. I'd post pictures, except she'd probably kill me. It was good, though. Nothing to complain about and everything to rejoice over.

The day after the wedding, I hopped a train for London. I had big plans to stare out the train window and absorb the many variants of England as they rushed past me, but it turns out that the only variant of England along the rail lines is the farmland-and-stone-village one out of James Herriot and Beatrix Potter. That got kind of dull, so I stuck my nose in a book pretty quickly. Sixty-One Nails is absolutely fantastic British urban fantasy—it's blurbed as "Neverwhere for the next generation" and they're right—and I completely struck out finding the sequel in the UK. It's not out in North America yet.

Anyway, London, Day One!

Saint Pancras Station, on my way to discovering the British Library wouldn't allow my duffel bag inside and I'd have to come back a different day.

King's Cross was on the other side of the street, but I didn't get a picture of Platform 9 3/4. I didn't want to push through the crowds to find out if I had to buy a ticket or not.

After dropping my bags at the hostel, I headed downtown again. I hit The Clink museum first, which was interesting but not nearly as much as I'd hoped. Would be good for kids who didn't know much about the early British prison system, but didn't have a lot of advanced material or artifacts to keep a knowledgeable adult engaged. But! in the same neighbourhood there were:

the ruins of Winchester Palace (1100s),

Southwark Cathedral,

and the Golden Hind (replica):

There are lots more pictures of Southwark Cathedral, but I thought I'd spare you. :) After that, I crossed a bridge and saw this:

On a building I found a (18th-century?) notice, proving that prosecution signs go back a long way. I can't read the whole of this, unfortunately, but am assuming it's for loitering, because it amuses me to think so.

Also spotted were a church showing damage from the Blitz…

… a baroque water fountain …

… and, of course, St. Paul's.

I've always heard about the beauty, majesty, and perfection of St. Paul's and said, "Ha! No building could live up to that hype! I don't believe it!" Except that this one does. It's flawless and tasteful, in a baroque sort of way, and in the early evening, took my breath away. I have a lot of photos of St. Paul's.

And then my legs were really tired and it was late, so I went to the hostel again.

Next up, the Victoria and Albert museum! In which I went overboard with the camera again and a lot of the photos are blurry!

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