London – Monday, September 21, 2009

After office work this morning, we took off for the Thames River.

We had hoped to go to Bath, to visit the Roman ruins and hot springs there, but the train fare was 271 British pounds, or about $400, so we abandoned that idea.

So, to the Thames to see what boat rides may be available. We decided to go upriver to Kew Gardens and back again.

We boarded near the Houses of Parliament. One of the crew gave an entertaining running commentary on the sights. He pointed out that all around the Parliament, above the first story, the Lord’s Prayer in Latin is chiseled in stone “to ward off evil spirits,” in the narrator’s words.

The ride upriver was an hour and a half long. The afternoon was mostly sunny but cool and breezy, so we sat on the top deck in the open air until that no longer felt comfortable – then down inside the cabin, where we bought hot drinks and a snack.

Here is one view of the boat, river and the Albert Bridge.

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We made the acquaintance of a fine young husband and wife from Montana.

At Kew Gardens, which is expansive, we walked a lot and still did not see everything. Here are a few scenes. The first is the Palm House.

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The Gardens has a feature I have never seen before – Xstrata Treetop Walkway. The name says it all – except the detail that it is 118 stair steps into the sky!

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At each observation point plaques gave tidbits of information such as:
There are 89 million trees in England.
Tree buds here are bursting open earlier because of global warmer.
A jay can bury 5,000 acorns in autumn.

We also kept seeing large birds in the sky.

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At regular intervals of about 60 seconds. Noisier than a jay. Very strange.

On our transportation rides I am absorbed in reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, which I reading for the first time in my life. How Stevenson draws you in with the first long sentence! This continues for page after page.

Back home, I worked on office work and blogs until midnight.

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2 Responses

  1. Love the pictures, especially the bird! You make me chuckle. Not sure I could make it up 118 steps–that’s 9 stories high. I would need to catch my breath halfway up. I’ll bet you slept well that night!

    • Yes, after our day at Kew I was totally ready for a good night’s rest. However, I did not sleep on the return boat trip because I was engrossed in reading Treasure Island (for the first time in my life.)

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