Arriving in London
I arrived four days ahead of Amy to attend some meetings in London. I had recently joined Jungle Beat as General Manager and wanted to meet our shareholders and partners. The week so was frenetic that my camera barely left its bag.
Walking the Thames
After a successful week, I packed up my tiny room at the Z Hotel Soho and migrated to the Paddington Hilton where Amy joined me.
The last time either of us had been in London was fifteen years ago and so we had some re-orientation to do. My colleague Rita offered to give us an walking tour along South Bank.
Our circular walk brought us back to the London Eye where we enjoyed a drink before meeting up with our dear friends Laurie and Luc who had emigrated from South Africa the year prior.
We set off across the Hungerford Bridge through Trafalger Square, Leicester Square, and finally into Soho for supper at The Spice of Life.
The next day, a Saturday, we woke-up late and had breakfast at the hotel before catching a bus to the British Museum.
The British Museum is an impressive building to behold. Built in 1753, it now houses some 8 million works. In 2000, a vast court at the heart of the museum was officially opened. It connects each building and is Europe's largest covered square.
I particularly enjoyed seeing the Rosetta Stone, a 196 BC stone inscription consiting of the a decree written in Hieroglyphics, Demotic script and Ancient Greek. Its find in 1799 finally enabled scholars to read and translate Ancient Egyptian inscriptions.
After a break for lunch, we headed to the Science Museum in South Kensington. Along the way we accidentally stumbled into a neighbourhood street market.
Two highlights were seeing the Apollo 10 Command Module, and Tim Berners-Lee's NEXT Cube upon which he invented the World Wide Web.
Greenwich and its famous meridian were one of the things I clearly remember from my childhood trip to London. I was consumed by the idea that the time-of-day was "different" (not really) on either side of this imaginary line.
This time, we went to Greenwich to meet up with friends and ex-South Africans, Robynne and Nico. Greenwich treated us to one of those perfect autumn days. Sunny, blue skies and not too hot. We started the morning at Starbucks –
Buckingham Palace and The Mall
Surely a visit to London isn't complete without a trip to see the Queen?
Doug and Anthea
After a day or two of additional meetings in central London, we hired a car and set off to visit Amy's great-great-Uncle Douglas in Sutton. Amy hadn't seen him since 2000 and I'd only spoken to him on Skype.
Douglas fought in World War II, serving as a tank commander. Over tea in Anthea's beautiful garden, he held us enthralled with stories of the war, and mishaps involving tanks and steep hills.
That night we stayed with Robynne and Nico who generously offered us a place to stay, before setting off on our great British Road-trip. Next stop, The Cotswolds.
Shortly before leaving, we took one last walk around the City of London. We found ourselves at the Tower of London and the special First World War memorial. Some 888,246 poppies, each representing a soldier who died, had been installed in the grass around the tower.