Category: England


Imperial War Museum London

London has many museums – MANY! A lot of them are free to visit. But unfortunately time was our enemy on this trip and we only visited one – to sooth the military historian living inside me.

While the Great Britain has a rich military history spanning hundreds of years, the collection of this museum represents mainly the military history of 20th and 21th century.

Top floor hosts a collection of Victoria Cross recipients, next two floors host Holocaust exhibition and understandably, photography is not allowed in this sections. Here’s just a glimpse of a few exhibits.

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Immediately upon entering the museum, we are greeted by the largest exhibits – the famous jump-jet BAE Harrier Gr.9A…

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1:1 model of the famous Battle of Britain fighter Spitfire…

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And Hitler’s terror weapons – the V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket (in the background)

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88mm flak – heavy German anti-aircraft gun that shot down many allied planes and was equally dangerous against soft ground targets.

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Rolls-Royce Merlin engine – a remarkable piece of engineering.

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Remains of a World War 2 Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter

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Pieces of steel beams from the New York’s World Trade Center.

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Remains of a car, presumably a Mercedes S-class, that was located near the explosion of an IED in Iraq.

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AM.39 Exocet – French built anti-ship missile that was responsible for the sinking of HMS Sheffield and several other ships at Falkland Islands in 1982.

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A walk through the “trenches” of World War I.

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While I’ve visited UK a few years back, I’ve seen just London’s skyline from afar back then. Visiting special concert by Devin Townsend held at Royal Albert Hall in April, the time was right to visit the capital as well. On budget and tight schedule, we had to skip a few things we’d like to visit but that’s OK. We’ll be back for sure.

We stayed at YHA St. Pancarass hostel, just a short walk from King’s Cross tube station; and while this station is one of the major line crossings, the whole London was in our reach within minutes (or at least the central part). If you are first time visitor to London, then I cannot recommend enough the Free Guided Tour provided by http://www.weareundiscovered.com/london/. In 2 hours you will visit all the major attractions of central London and the nice guides will take you through history and anecdotes of the people and buildings that were born, lived and died there. Donations are encouraged at the end of the tour and the guides more than deserve them!

The meeting point is Green Park, just outside of Green Park tube station and the first stop of the tour is the Buckingham palace.

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 Victoria Memorial – a monument dedicated to Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace.

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 The usual crowds behind the Buckingham palace – yes, behind – that’s the rear entrance to the palace.

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 Just in time for the change of guard.

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 Golden Gates of Buckingham Palace.

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 Blooming flowers in front of Victoria Memorial and Buckingham palace

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 A squad of Royal Guards marching down the Mall.

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Horse Guards Parade – this used to be a parking lot until IRA parked a van here and fire a projectile at PM’s house on 10 Downing street, which is located to the right of this photo.

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WW2 Admiralty Citadel – engulfed in vines, it was nicely masked against the German bomber attacks. The building is still being used by the Ministry of Defence.

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We caught some special ceremony at Horse Guards parade which included veterans as well as Royal Guards and Scottish foot regiment.

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 Admiral Nelson watching over London over Trafalgar Square.

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 Royal Horse Guard

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 The famed Downing Street – now closed off to public with heavy gates and security forces.

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 Westminster Abbey

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 Houses of Parliament with Elizabeth tower

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 Houses of Parliaments from the other side

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 A Scott playing the bagpipes on Trafalgar Square and trying to make enough money for a wedding ring.

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 National Gallery on the other side of the Trafalgar Square was teaming with tourists…

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 Where there are tourists, there are street performers. A couple of Yoda’s were floating in the air in front of the National Gallery. He seems quite tall, don’t you think?

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On the last day, we were a bit short on time and the weather wasn’t really cooperating. It was dry but overcast and the vivid spring colours just disappeared. So we took a ride of Emirates Air Line – a cable car connection over the Thames river, located at the O2 Arena, near Greenwhich.

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 Thames Flood Barrier – the barrier can be raised in the case of exceptionally high tide or storm surges to prevent flooding.

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 O2 Arena

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 London’s skyscrapers

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 The Crystal – Siemens sponsored energy-efficient building which houses interactive exhibits on the future of human living.

The evening London

I just love taking evening shots in the beautiful so-called blue light. Here’s a few shots I took this April in London over two beautiful spring evenings.

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Metal sign on the gates of the Tower of London clearly states the ownership of the property.

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Evening view of the Southwark district with the 306m Shard skyscraper dominating the skyline.

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The pointy end of the Shard.

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Tower of London.

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One of the most famous landmarks – the Tower Bridge.

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Another view of Thames with Shard in the background.

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Medieval Tower of London against City’s modern bussiness buildings.

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The Navigators sculpture located in the Hay’s Galleria – just south of London Bridge City Pier

Londoneve-10Rainbow of evening colours pose a dramatic background behind the Golden Jubilee Bridges.

Londoneve-11One of the new London’s landmarks, The Eye, can be seen from various parts of the city center. Long queues and high entrance fee were two of the reasons we skipped this tourist trap.

Londoneve-12Houses of Parliament with the Elizabeth Tower, which also known as the Clock Tower or Big Ben.

Londoneve-13Another view of the Eye with the Thames river.

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A detail view of the Elizabeth Tower – Big Ben is actually not the tower but the bell inside.

 

Camden Town, London

Camden Town or just Camden, is an inner city district of London. Since the 1970’s Camden has become known for its street markets and while the traditional food market has been present until 2013, you will know find only touristy stalls and shops – from souvenirs and snacks to music CDs and other more or less usual (and unusual stuff). Crowded by tourists and street performers, it is certainly an interesting place to visit, for an hour or more 🙂

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Street musicians gather even dancing crowd.

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A view of the Camden High Street, where all the madness begins.

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Whacky shop fronts which offer anything from gothic clothing to second hand shoes

camden-4Another kind of street performers – these pole-sitters were quite popular around the city.

camden-6Camden Lock street food market – affordable prices and the offer expands from juice pork sandwiches to vegan dishes – hard to leave this place hungry.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Is located at the famous Piccadilly Circus, so finding it should not be too hard.

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Robert L. Ripley (1890–1949) was a cartoonist, explorer, reporter, adventurer, and collector, who travelled to 201 countries in 35 years seeking the odd, the unusual, and the unexplained. In those years, he created an incredible collection of weird and weirder and a part of it, you can still see today in Ripley’s Museums all around the world. Here is just a teaser of what you can see in London’s collection.
For more on Ripley, click HERE.

Glastonbury is a small town in Somerset, some 40km south of Bristol. Probably most famous by its music festival but offers the visitors a lot more.

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Abbotsbury Swannery is the only managed colony of nesting mute swans in the world. It is situated near the village of Abbotsbury in Dorset, England, 14 kilometres (9 mi) west of Weymouth on a 1-hectare (2-acre) site around the Fleet lagoon protected from the weather of Lyme Bay by Chesil Beach. The colony can number over 600 swans with around 150 pairs. Written records of the swannery’s existence go back to 1393 but it probably existed well before that. – Wikipedia

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Stonehenge doesn’t need much of an introduction. One of the world’s most popular prehistoric sites and one of the wonders of the world. Of course visiting England, Stonehenge couldn’t be missed and whatever you may think of it, there is something magic and mistycal about it. There’s more than enough reading about this topic on the internet so if you’d like to learn more, be my guest. Here’s how I saw the mystical Stonehenge that summer day.

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If there is something islanders are proud of, it is their gardens. So a visit of one of their gardens was mandatory and we choose West Dean Gardens as it was sort of on our way towards West.

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Leaving Capel-le-Ferne we headed towards Dover… Weather still didn’t want to cooperate and we were destined for a foggy view of White cliffs of Dover. Were we?

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