London 2005-07
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These pages combine a number of independent visits I made to London and surrounding areas between May 2005 and December 2007.  Choose a link above, or just read on and click on the links at the bottom of each page to follow all of my adventures in London in no particular order.  There also is a link at the bottom of each page to bring you directly back to this page.

The "UP" cloud at the top of each of the following pages also brings you back here.

TIP:  To see the photos at maximum size, press the F11 key

London has become my favorite place to visit, having so much to offer in the way of sightseeing, both in the city and in nearby parts of England.  I joined local walking tours of various areas of the city, and I also did some bus tours to other interesting places in Southern England.  And I took every opportunity to see performances of Elton John's award-winning musical "Billy Elliot."  I think, by now, I am a familiar face at the Victoria Palace Theatre, and some of the cast know me by name, as does the director.

Sir Elton John entering by the stage door for the charity gala on November 22, 2006.  Yes, I took that picture, as well as the others to follow.

 

I always settled on a hotel in London's West End, where many famous buildings are located. These include Buckingham Palace, Parliament, Westminster Abby, etc. The 4-star Rubens hotel is very close to Victoria underground station, and is only two blocks from the theater where 'Billy Elliot' is playing, so this is where I stayed on every visit except one.  Here are photos of the Rubens and a typical room.

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I love the London Underground!  The locals call their subway system "The Tube."  While not as cheap to ride as the buses, the underground gets you where you need to go quickly and a 3 or 7-day "TravelCard" more than pays for itself if you use the system a lot.  It took me a while to familiarize myself with the various lines, but I now feel confidant going just about anywhere within London.  Here is a partial map of the London Underground.  I about know the District and Circle (green and yellow) lines by heart.

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Much of what I did while in London can be found by clicking the "cloud" links at the top of this page, but one "event" doesn't fall into any of those categories, so I am describing it below.  I refer to  my celebrity encounter.

This was the most amazing experience I had in London.  I planned to go somewhere by subway one day, but the line I needed to take from Victoria Station was down for maintenance that Saturday. To get to my destination, I would have to walk a considerable distance to the Westminster Underground Station.  So I headed up Victoria Street to the station.  When I neared Westminster Abby, I saw police cars, barricades, and a large crowd.  What was going on?  I soon discovered that Ron Howard was shooting a scene for his upcoming film, 

The Di Vinci Code.  And there was Howard, and Tom Hanks, and Ian McKellen!  I could not believe my eyes.  The best photo I took, sadly out of focus, was of Tom Hanks across the street waving and taking pictures of us!  Here are my very special pictures from that morning.  (I never did go where I originally intended.)

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OK, Harry Potter Fans.  You know that Harry and his friends boarded the train to Hogwarts school by running through a wall in the rail station, and exiting where a special train was waiting at ...track 9 3/4.  Right?  Well, that was not make believe.  Here are some photos I took inside London's King's Cross main rail station.

             

 

Let's visit the London Aquarium and look at some sea creatures.  Some harmless. others you don't want to mess with, including the first three pictured.  I didn't bother to write down names, so you'll have to figure them out for yourselves.

              

         

 

Now just a few items on display at The Imperial War Museum.  Most of the good stuff can't be photographed.

              

 

Finally, from another walking tour of interesting streets in London.  We are close to Oxford Street, the biggest fancy shopping street in the city. The mall stores decorated for Christmas are rather expensive to shop. 

       

 

OK, shall we go out of town for awhile? On to Leeds and Canterbury

 

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