London - day 5

Sunday, October 4

Our last day in London started at the Tower of London. We were there bright and early so the ticket line wasn't very long.  Once we got inside, the wait to see the crown jewels was minimal.  We were underwhelmed by the jewels and the other museum items in general. We were in and out of this section pretty quickly.  We found the grounds more interesting.

The castle was originally a royal residence and at that time common gifts from visiting royalty were live exotic animals.  Over the years a large menagerie was established and this sculpture represents that menagerie.

Nearby is the Tower Bridge which we did not tour, just walked across:

One of the places I wanted to see was St. Dunstan in the East so after lunch we headed that direction. On the way we came across a couple of cool finds.

All Hallows church - the oldest in London. A small, charming, old church.  Its claim to fame in addition to being the oldest is that it houses the oldest existing Saxon arch (from 675) and Roman tesselated flooring from the 2nd century.

Continuing on we found the pub with maybe the coolest name in London - we stopped in for a drink.

St. Dunstan in the East is another church built by Christopher Wren that was bombed during WWII. They left the damaged walls & tower and created a little park.  It's calm and quiet in the middle of a busy city - a great little surprise of a garden.

in camera sepia setting
This little garden was one of my favorite sites in London. After all the elaborate, intricate architecture, it was a relief to enjoy something simpler.  Dan said he'd seen enough stone and concrete and wanted some green, so we took the tube across town to Hyde Park.

Speakers Corner was in full swing - lots of religious speakers and more than a few hecklers.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that all the planting beds were still in full bloom and pretty - arbors, paths, rose gardens, a lake - the park has it all!

We walked FORever through this park - didn't realize how big it was.

It was time for a rest.  As we finally moved on, we were surprised by this monument - somehow my research overlooked this.

The Prince Albert monument built by Queen Victoria in 1875 is 176 feet tall, and literally glows in the sun with all the gold detailing.  Around the base are 169 individual composers, architects, artists, poets, etc.  On each of the 4 corners is a large sculpture representing Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas with figures and a central animal.  This is one detailed and amazing monument!

We're starving by this point so keep walking into the Nottinghill district and find a pub - The Windsor Castle - Dan had beef pie and Yorkshire pudding; I had delicious salmon and asparagus.

Caught the tube home and spent the evening updating my trip journal and RESTING!

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