Closing Day: Treasures Galore

December 1st, 2011

Our trip came to a close with a day spent at the British Museum, a storehouse of treasures that we thoroughly enjoyed. It is utterly mind-bending to actually see the ancient treasures that you have studied for so long and with so much interest!

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There was the Egypt collection…

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The fantastic Greek exhibit…

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The Mesopotamian exhibit - I think this was my personal favorite.

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The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, showing a Biblical scene - King Jehu bringing tribute.

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The Cyrus Cylinder.

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A fragment of the Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh.

And then we flew home…

Cleanliness, Health…and a little Tourism

November 29th, 2011

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What do the Romans, the first King of all England, Jane Austen, and Queen Victoria have in common?

Well, they’re all good reasons to visit the beautiful town of Bath. Which we did.

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Bath Abbey, where Edgar, the “first King of all the English,” was crowned in 973.

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Bath Abbey towering above the ancient Roman baths.

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The Roman baths.

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Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon.

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Stonehenge

November 23rd, 2011

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For me, the trip to England would have been incomplete without seeing Stonehenge, a site that I have admired pictures of for as long as I can remember. So on our jaunt outside the city, we went.

When we left London, it was grey, overcast, and tough for pictures. While we were at Windsor, the clouds began to break, and by the time we got to Stonehenge, there was a blue sky with fantastic fluffy clouds. Could not have been much nicer for pictures!

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Royal Residence Redux

November 17th, 2011

We’ve seen the Tower of London, which continues as a royal residence to this day, and we got a fleeting glimpse of Buckingham Palace amidst the throngs there for the changing of the guard, but for our most in-depth look at a residence where the queen spends a large chunk of time, we went to Windsor Castle.

I wish I could show you pictures of St. George’s Chapel, the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter. And I wish I could show you interior shots of Windsor’s grandiose beauty (not to mention treasures, like Rembrandt originals, for instance, that were inside). But alas, photography was strictly forbidden on those photo-rich environments. So we’ll have to make do with the exterior shots.

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Not a Single Picture of Big Ben!

November 14th, 2011

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…because, as every good tourist knows, Big Ben is the bell inside the Great Clock Tower.

(I’m a good tourist in the sense that I know that, and knew it prior to this trip. I’m a bad tourist in the sense that I always think of Big Ben, in my head, as the tower. And every time I do, I tell myself, “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is ‘never pinch the bearskin of a Coldstream Guard’ - but only slightly less well known is this: ‘Never say you saw Big Ben to an Englishman, because your ignorance would be hilarious.’ Ha ha ha…” and so forth.)

And this I must say: In spite of all the pictures I have seen in my life of Westminster Palace and the Great Clock Tower, it was far more beautiful than I imagined. It was stunning. I wish that my pictures could do it justice - but since I’ve never seen a shot that did, I have no pretensions that these will!

So, here are my pictures not of Big Ben.

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Churches Large and Small(er)

November 10th, 2011

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London was not unlike the rest of the Reformation Tour in the sense that we visited churches. Tons of them, each beautiful in its own way. In London, though, not all of the churches were necessarily grand cathedrals.

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Here, for instance, is the Wesley chapel, which we accompanied with a visit to John Wesley’s home.

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One of the rooms in which John and Charles Wesley would converse on Charles’s frequent visits.

Some of the churches we visited WERE grand cathedrals, though - like Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, St. Paul’s.

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And other potentially memorable churches - like Westminster Abbey.

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While at St. Paul’s, of course, it is a necessity to climb up through the Whispering Gallery (where I held a whispered conversation with a fellow tourist who was standing on the other side of the dome), through the Stone Gallery, and up to the Golden Gallery, or what we liked to refer to as the “tippy-top.” Over 500 steps later, it was absolutely worth the view. (The intro picture in this post is from the tippy-top, as well.)

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