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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Took the Chunnel to a Weekend in London

For a quick weekend trip, we hopped on the Eurostar high speed train at Paris' Gare du Nord, shot through The Chunnel at 200 miles per hour, and arrived in central London a little over two hours later.  Our strategy was to hide out in museums when the weather was bad, and walk the parks when it was not so bad.  The weather was never actually good, but that's expected.  Don't let this photo of the Queen Victoria monument in front of Buckingham Palace fool you, this blue patch of sky only lasted a few minutes.

We just happened to walk by a changing of the guards, but not of the Beefeaters.  This was one was much better; the changing of the Horse Guards.

We were impressed with about twenty different species of waterfowl running around St. James Park and Hyde Park.

Coming out of Hyde Park, we passed the grandiose Albert Memorial, which has groups of statues representing whole regions of the planet ruled over the Great Britain.  This one represented British dominions in Asia.

These low-relief sculptures of the king of Assyria "hunting" lions in the British Museum are incredibly well preserved and vivid.  They were taken from the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, which was settled at least 5000 years ago, and was mostly destroyed in 612 B.C.  We're so fortunate that they're out of the reach of ISIS, or whatever you want to call those evildoers.  ISIS just bulldozed the archeological site of Nimrud, another great Assyrian city in current-day Iraqi territory.

This is an arena hunt, so the lions have nowhere to go.  Still, I'm amazed at how many lions they killed in a single hunt.  Notice all the lion carcasses filled with arrows on the ground.  There was one panel showing the king fighting face to face with a lion grappling his shoulders, which calls into question the literal truth of the rest of the panels!

Looks like the ancient Assyrians liked dogs too.

This low-relief sculpture really breathes life into this horse.  Look at the pattern on the harness around its neck, and the flower pattern decorating the bridle.

The Albert and Victoria Museum has this stunning metal plate, made in Venice around 1500.  The style is heavily influenced by Persian metalwork.

Looking up the Thames at night.  St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral is lit on the left side.

Looking the other way down the Thames.

Rain spots on the lens this misty night.

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