Monday, August 31, 2015

St. Paul's Cathedral

Hello everyone. Last week, we had an excellent day out with our mum, and went to St. Paul's Cathedral. St. Paul's Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 17th century, after it's predecessor was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. Many important ceremonies have taken place here, such as the funeral of British Prime Minister during WWII, Sir Winston Churchill, a remembrance ceremony for 9/11, the wedding of Charles (Prince of Wales), and Lady Diana, and Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Service, to name a few. St. Paul's Cathedral is commonly known for being in a very famous photograph of London in the Blitz, where the dome is rising  up above the smoke, symbolizing hope.
In St. Paul's Cathedral, we went up to the Whispering Gallery, Stone Gallery, and the Golden Gallery. The Whispering Gallery is about one hundred feet up, but you are not exposed to air. The Whispering Gallery is a really cool place because if you send a friend directly opposite from you, make them put an ear to the wall, you talk into the wall, your friend might hear you. The Stone Gallery is about one hundred ninety feet in the air, and you get a really good view of London's skyline. But if you're brave enough to go up one hundred fifty two more steep steps, you will emerge at an altitude of about two hundred ninety feet in the Golden Gallery.
At the top of the Golden Gallery you can get a really good view of London's skyline. The tallest building in the picture is the Leadenhall Building, but the nickname for it is Cheesegrater. The one to the left of Cheesegrater is The Pickle. The farthest building to the right is the Walkie Talkie Building.
The big ferris wheel in the picture is the London Eye, one of London's best attractions. It may not be as high as St. Paul's, but when you are on it you feel really high!
We weren't allowed to take photos inside, so here is St. Pauls Website.
Overall, St. Pauls Cathedral was really fun. So I'd say this trip was EXCELLENT!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Stonehenge and Salisbury

   Hey everyone! We've been to more excellent places in England, like Stonehenge and Salisbury. Stonehenge was established in 3100 BC, but was not yet finished until 2000 BC because there were many things you had to do to get 5+ ton sarsen, bluestone, and one mica stones more than 50 miles with no automobiles. Stonehenge has changed a lot over time, and the stones have been eroded and fallen, but it is still awesome!

   Along the Avenue, a road built by civilization to lead up to Stonehenge there are two really cool stones called the Heel Stone and the Slaughter Stone. Looking from the middle of Stonehenge to the Heel Stone, you can see the sun rise just above the Heel Stone. The special thing about the Slaughter Stone is that when it rains, the water will make the iron in the mica turn red, looking like blood.

   The tallest stone in Stonehenge weighs about twenty five tons and is about twenty two feet high. The little poky thing at the top is a tenon, which used to hold a stone along the top, with the help of another stone.

   When we had all finished admiring what was built over four thousand years ago, we went to see a modern construction in Salisbury, the Salisbury Cathedral. Inside the cathedral, we saw the Magna Carta, meaning The Great Charter. The Magna Carta made all basic rights apply to everyone, including the King, giving the King less power. The peasants of the time thought it was unfair because the Magna Carta didn't let them be free.

   Inside the room where we saw the Magna Carta, there was a beautiful fan vaulted ceiling. Even though it was really beautiful, it was nothing compared to King's College Chapel in Cambridge.

   After we saw the Magna Carta, we went to see the cathedral's many altars, while we listened to the choir practice for evensong that night. Overall, Stonehenge and Salisbury were totally EXCELLENT!

The Tower of London

Hello everyone!  We've been having an awesome time here, and recently we went to the Tower of London, with Aunty Tracy, our super crazy, super cool godmother.  We took a train to King's Cross, then the London Underground the rest of the way.  We went to a pub, and had an excellent British lunch; bacon butties rock!

We started off walking by the spot where over 100 people were beheaded, just outside the Tower.  We were sent to the moat to wait for our tour to start, led by a Yeoman Warder.  Yeoman Warders, commonly known as Beefeaters, are guards and tour guides, who have served in the Armed Forces for at least 22 years, and they eat, sleep, work, and pray inside the Tower of London. 

Once he arrived, we started the tour.  We walked inside the Tower and our first stop was Traitor's Gate, a water entrance to the Tower built by King Edward I where many traitors were brought in to the Tower, hence the name.  Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife was brought in through Traitor's Gate.

This is the original tower, constructed by the Normans to keep order after the Battle of Hastings, built in 1078 under William the Conqueror. This tower was protected on all sides by the River Thames, old Roman walls, and ditches. But the tower has been added on to mostly by Kings Edward I, Richard the Lionheart, and Henry III.

Legend has it that if six ravens leave the Tower, Britain will fall. There are seven of them in case something happens to them. The ravens are in cages with their wings clipped, so it's unlikely that they will escape. Did you know that every day the ravens are fed 170 grams of raw meat and blood soaked biscuit mostly, but also fruit, cheese, and egg!

Because the Tower is right on the River Thames, you can see many London landmarks such as The Shard, "The Pickle," and most of all Tower Bridge which it is right next to.
For most people in the 16th Century, the Tower was seen as dark, revolting, and evil, but we thought it was EXCELLENT!

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Hi everyone! We've visited some more really cool places we can't wait to tell you about! For starters, we took an excellent walking tour of Cambridge! One of the first things we saw was a chapel at Pembroke College, designed by Christopher Wren, who later designed St. Paul's Cathedral in London.  This was his first architectural work. Pembroke college is the third oldest college at Cambridge.

Next, we went on to Cambridge's latest attraction, the Corpus Clock.  It is an amazing time-telling device given my former student Dr John C Taylor. It has little blue lights in the concentric circles to tell you what time it is. It has the nickname "The Time Eater" to tell you it is eating away minutes. It is plated with pure gold in the front, and it has a strange grasshopper on top.

Then we continued on to King's College and its enormous chapel!  Construction on the chapel started during the reign of Henry VI, was halted, then completed during the reign of Henry VIII. 

Kings College chapel has a magnificent fan vaulted ceiling and original stained glass windows. The chapel was used as a training ground for Oliver Cromwell's troops during the English Civil War. Cromwell was ordering troops to destroy stained glass, but he spared this chapel's. A reason Cromwell might have spared King's College Chapel's windows is because he attended Cambridge University himself.

The astonishing fan vaulted ceiling is the largest in the world!

We then had our first ever cream tea, that is an English classic that includes tea, scones, jam, and clotted cream.  We liked the scone, but next time...hold the tea!

We'd say Cambridge University is an excellent place whether you're touring or attending!

St Albans and Waltham Abbey

Hey everyone! So now we've been in England for 3 weeks and it's been a blast! We've done some really cool things and seen some brilliant stuff that I can't wait to tell you about!

To start off, a little while ago we went to Evensong, a service at St Albans, an Anglican Cathedral. Built in 1077, St Albans Cathedral is the oldest place of continuous worship in Britain. Evensong was different from a traditional Catholic Mass because there wasn't Communion, and the songs and readings were a bit longer. Did you know that St Alban was Britain's 1st Christian martyr? This picture shows the front of this amazing cathedral. I'd say St Albans Cathedral is pretty impressive.

Last week, we also went to Waltham Abbey, to meet up with my Dad's friend Justin and his wife Elizabeth. Magnificent is an understatement for the inside of this Abbey Church. The current church is Norman and is adorned with stained glass, Zodiac symbols painted on the ceiling, and Norman pillars. Did you know that Waltham Abbey has been renovated, destroyed, or added on to at least 5 times throughout the past 1,000 years! 

Waltham Abbey is the church where King Harold was originally buried, though no one knows where he is now. His tomb (below) used to be under the altar in the church that he built, which is gone and his tomb is outside. King Harold was the King during the Norman invasion, and he died during the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

We've had an excellent time visiting some really interesting and historic churches and we can't wait to find out more.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The British Museum

Hey everyone! This week we went to London to see the British Museum, which displays 80,000 objects, out of the 2 million they have collected. The first thing we did when we walked in was look up, and we saw the amazing roof! There was a lot to see so we got moving.  

We headed straight to the Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta Stone was the key to decciphering Egyptian Hieroglyphs, because written on it is a story, in 3 languages, Egyptian, Demotic, and Greek, making it easy to translate.

Then we headed to the Parthenon Galleries to see some amazing sculptures! We saw the Elgin Marbles, which were above the entrance to the Parthenon.

 Soon after, we saw some statues from Sargon the Great's time. 

When we toured through Ancient Europe we saw some old chessmen. It was cool to see what chess was like in the old times. 

After Europe we went to see a smaller version of a Moai, a huge monolithic human figure carving from Easter Island.

Wandering past him, we saw a cute little gold creature. Know where he's from?

Overall, I'd say the British Museum was totally EXCELLENT!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Week 1 Overview

Hi everyone! We have now spent a week in England and it has been excellent! Some of this week has been boring, cleaning and setting up the house, but we have also done some brilliant stuff too...
We live in a small village North of London called Welwyn, with many interesting things to do. Our godmother has an allotment three minutes away from our house. We've spent some time there this week, picking and watering fruits and vegetables.

About a one minute walk away from our house is a bridge and sometimes ducks. They're fun to watch and take pictures of. I love how there are so many fun things to do to get me outside without even noticing!

This past week we have been into London a couple of times to see various sites and destinations. First of all, we have seen the tallest building in the U.K., The Shard, standing at 306 meters, or about 1,000 feet.

We have also driven over Tower Bridge, which is 129 years old. From it you can see many of London's sites including The London Eye, and The Tower of London.

Lastly, we have been to Trafalgar Square to see the National Gallery, which holds Van Gogh's Sunflowers, and Monet's Water Lilies, as well as many other famous paintings. We also saw Nelson's column which stands in the middle of Trafalgar Square.

All things considered, I'd say this week was EXCELLENT!