Monday, May 11, 2015

Day 11: Rainy Paris, Cemetery Art, French Food

On March 23, we took a plane from London to Paris.

After arriving at our hotel in Montmartre, the first thing we did was head towards Montmartre Cemetery. Unfortunately, in the rain. Contrary to what popular movies may have you believe, walking in Paris in the rain is not romantic, it is a pain.

I was soon cheered though, when straight away we saw street art by Gregos. He makes casts of his face and places them on buildings.

Then we explored the beautiful cemetery.

Walking in the rain, it was especially startling to see this tomb out of the corner of my eye:


We were surprised to see a cactus statue.

We finally had enough of tromping through a cemetery with wet feet and retreated to a restaurant near our hotel, Pub Montmartre. It became one of my favorites because of the friendly proprietor. Here's the view out of the window from our table and the tasty meal we shared.

Fortified, we ventured out once more into the rainy night to walk to a patisserie owned by a pastry and chocolate chef who has won the prestigious award of Meilleur Ouvrier de FranceArnaud Larher.

There were ginornmous Easter rabbits and a case of gorgeous pastries.

I chose a chocolate mousse pastry and Mitch got something that was similar to a New Orleanian Napoleon, but different. It was a praline flavor.

Here's a photo of Mitch in silhouette to show how large the Easter rabbit was (in the window on the right).

Rainy night in Montmartre.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day 10: Tower of London, Museum of London, Roman wall

We really enjoyed touring the Tower of London. At the Tube stop next to it, there's a remnant of a Roman postern gate and a piece of the Roman wall.

Postern gate ruin:

Portion of the old Roman wall. This is up the stairs from the Tube stop and to the right.

It's pretty tall.

The Tower of London is a large complex. One of the buildings has a display of armor that used to be shown on horse statues to inspire patriotism. King Henry the XVIII's armor is eye popping. Nobody needs a codpiece THAT big.

Faces of nobility that used to be displayed in full armor on the horses.

The chopping block.

Climbing the narrow stairs in one of the many towers in the complex.

Costumed guide.

View of Tower Bridge from inside the Tower of London complex.

Inside the tower complex.

Prisoner graffiti carved in to the wall of the prison tower.

We walked the wall around the complex and climbed several towers.

After lunch at the Minories pub, where Mitch made a friend, we headed to the Museum of London to see the Sherlock Holmes exhibit.

The Museum of London is a wonderful museum, oddly located right in the middle of a traffic roundabout. Took  a few minutes to figure out how to get to it, since you can only enter from a second story bridge. I wish we'd had more time inside, it closed before I was finished the Sherlock exhibit, and the museum has much more about the history of the city. I hope to return.

Very near the museum is a Roman bastion ruin, some wall and an old hermitage on a pond.

Our last pub in London was The Cockpit. Formerly a cockfighting den, it was once owned by Shakespeare.

Goodbye, London! Hope to see you again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day 9 cont'd: River bus, Tate Britain & The Ripper

After visiting Tate Modern museum, we took a water bus to Tate Britain museum. It was easy to do and fun. The pier with a ticket booth is very near Tate Modern, and our travel Oyster cards (good for Tube and bus) got us a discount. The boat was comfortable. Some of the boats even had bars in them with food and drink, I saw someone drinking a bottle of beer on a different boat. I doubt you'd see glass bottles of beer being handed over on a U.S. boat.

Views from the boat. I was surprised at the strength of the current and the swells on the Thames. It's a tidal river.

First order of business, a very late lunch at The White Swan. There should be a word for meals at 3 or 4 o'clock. We missed lunch every day.

We didn't have much time left to tour Tate Britian. So I went straight to the works that I've admired since childhood.

The Lady of Shalott by Waterhouse.

Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais.

Then I kicked up my speed and had time to find this room of sculpture by Henry Moore before getting kicked out of the museum.

We got on the Tube and made our way to the Tube stop where we would meet the retired police officer and author who does an amazing Jack the Ripper Tour. Recommended! Yes, it's a touristy thing to do. But this guy is GOOD. His name is Donald Rumbelow.  He starts the tour here, in front of a piece of the old London wall that surrounded The City. The tour lasted two hours and it was very cold. But he told it so well, it didn't matter. Five stars.

After the tour, we got back on the Tube and thankfully were able to find a very late birthday dinner at an Italian restaurant. Although they did kick us out before we could have dessert. Thing to know: it costs 30 pence to use the restroom in the train station.

Wonderful vegetarian antipasti plate.

No birthday dessert for me, but it was a wonderful day.