London Diary – My Son’s First Visit to London

Dec 15, 2015

Hoorah my Son is here. So happy!!
I am now ready for Christmas.

Dec 16, 2015

Back to Natural History Museum 10 years later, with my son this time. This place is amazing, one of the best in the world of its kind. We had a great time. That dinosaur in the last photo is from Utah of USA.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Dec 17, 2015

At my son Ben’s request, we did more museum today and it was my 3rd time to British Museum in 15 month!

With such colossal collection of priceless artefacts, it is easy to get lost in it. I was able to spend all the time I wanted at Enlightenment Hall on this visit. The grand hall is beautiful itself and the exhibit is a window into the great age of Enlightenment, a very inspiring period of history, in a way it is a period of explosion of productivity, knowledge, discovery, and more. It is a great contribution to modern civilization.

Among others Ben wanted to see Rosetta Stone, and found much more. We ended up staying there the whole day, cancelling other plans.

British Museum

British Museum

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Dec 18, 2015

3rd day with Ben in London was browsing through one of the busy shopping areas, Oxford street (Oxford Circus) to Regent Street(Piccadilly Circus), including a cupcake break at Selfridges.

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Dec 19, 2015

Another busy day. Took Ben to see the big Ben, or rather Elizabeth Tower that houses Big Ben the bell. And London Eye.

We then walked the South Bank along River Thames all the way to Shakespeare’s Globe. The area was bustling, there were Christmas markets and fair ground, also many street artists showing their crafts.
We had lunch, watched a street comedian’s show and did the tour at Shakespeare’s Globe which we enjoyed very much.

From Shakespeare Globe to St Paul.  Lots walking again. Taking tomorrow off.

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Dec 21, 2015

Oxford Bound today. Sun was out briefly in the morning and then late afternoon but for the most part, weather was less than ideal. When it was time to go up to the tower at University Church of St Mary the Virgin, it was sprinkling and quite breezy as well. Nontheless Ben was very impressed with things and we were on good spirits.
In addition to University Church of St Mary the Virgin, we also visited Christ Church College, Bodleian Library and Eagle and Child. It was almsot the same itinerary as the one Jay and I did a year ago but there was new interest and discovery.

A definite upside today was that the visiting crowd was small and there was no need to queue up this time for anything. At Christ Church College we were just in time and invited to join a free guided tour of Christ Church Cathedral which was full of interesting information about its history, architecture, stain and painted glasses etc. Considering we had only time to rush through it the last time, this visit was a great improvement.

The Eagle and Child is a small pub that JR Tolkein and C S Lewis frequented in their times. You’ll find interesting quote through out the pub. At the far end, there was a door/closet, with a sign “Narnia” on it. I turned the knob to open it. Guess what jappened? I ended up back in my London flat. Haha…
P.S. Oxford Tube is a double deck bus that runs between London and Oxford every 10/15 minutes and 24 hours for £18 per adult. Excellent option for going from one to the other.

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Dec 23, 2015

We did another round to soak in the Christmas lights and atmosphere. From Green Park to Buckingham Palace, the Mall to Admiralty Arch, and Trafalgar Square right next. Last stop Convent Garden Market, it was packed with shoppers and visitors.

 

 

Washington DC (Winter 2009)

From western end of Washington Monument with Capitol Hill behind it

As it turned out, the two-week block vacation that my husband had to take for 2009 fell on the Christmas Holiday. Even though I incline to avoid sightseeing in the cold, I was aching for a little action around that time, so I planned a 4 nights, 3 and ½ days visit to the capital city on our way up north to join my in-laws for Christmas in CT.

While I did the usual diligence preparing for the trip, my list of interest grew and my enthusiasm increased. Our nation’s capital really is a gem-packed place. Among others, intriguing history, fine architectures, distinguished landmarks and splendid museums, many of which are FREE, await everyone.

So I was finally back to Washington DC, after only 20 years, and in spite of the unforeseen once-a-decade snow storm, that delayed and shortened our trip by one day, we had a decent time and it left me wanting to come back for more. The blizzard, while causing some closings and inconvenient road conditions, was not a show stopper and presented a set of sceneries and experiences that we won’t have had otherwise.

DC remains the free and open city that it has been with some exceptions – added security checks and scans at some sites and the changed procedure for visiting the White House. To visit the White House, one has to plan ahead. “Requests must be submitted through one’s Member of Congress and are accepted up to six months in advance. “ See http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events for details. And needless to say, visiting the White House would have to come on another trip for us. It is, however, a no brainer to understand the need for tightened security rule.

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