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Italy, Rome: St. Peter’s Dome, Rome

St. Peter’s Basilica has the tallest dome in the world. Michelangelo had a large part in its design. The lantern is 17 metres high. It was used as a model for other domes in the western world such as Saint Paul’s in London (1675), Les Invalides in Paris (1680-1691) and the Capitol building in Washington, DC (1794-1817).

 

 

Great Britain, London: Ravens Guarding the Tower of London

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When you visit the Tower of London, you learn the superstition about why there always are ravens guarding it. Look for the raven master near the line to go in to the Crown Jewels. He’s happy to chat with you.

 

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Great Britain, London: Victorian Dancing

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Here you can imagine dancing at a ball in a palace in Queen Victoria’s days. Her gown appears at the end of the video.
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Great Britain, London: Re-enactment in the Tower of London

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How delightful to walk into living history at the Tower of London. It’s so much more fun when you learn the stories of the people who “lived” or were imprisoned there. Did they lose their heads?

France, Paris: Comfy Ferry Seating

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Ferries from London to Paris are way beyond what we thought. There are different restaurants, shops, arcade, and quite a number of types of seating including couches, arm chairs, banquettes and this lounger, our favorite. Two people can lie really really comfortably.

Great Britain, London: London Pubs

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Pubs are inexpensive places to grab a bite and a beer in London. Some of them are hundreds of years old. Notice the wrought iron bell above The Old Bell tavern and the caricature of Punch on Punch Tavern. Many people back then were illiterate so objects were hung to create easy way for them to find shops and pubs. We passed these on Fleet Street while aboard the Hop On Hop Off Bus which was included in the London Pass.

The Bell Tavern was built by architect Sir Christopher Wren in the 1670’s while he was working on the churches nearby. Since it is located on the famous Fleet street which was the epicenter of the newspaper industry, the writers and inkies(printers), penned their copy here while probably perennially hammered.
Punch Tavern got it’s name in the 1840’s as Punch magazine had its office here on Fleet Street. There was a pub here even before then called the Crown and Sugar Loaf.

Great Britain, London: A Slice of Buildings

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Sometimes while riding along, you just snap the shot at the exact right moment – this one was on the Hop On Hop Off bus in London and captures the amazing mosaic of architecture found in this city.

Great Britain, London: Big Ben and Parliament

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You get two photo ops for the price of one in London because Big Ben (in the re-named Elizabeth Tower) stands right next to the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament). Big Ben is the name of the largest bell. When built, in 1859, the clock was the largest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world. In August 2017, renovation work began in order to include a lift, and to re-glaze and repaint the clock dials. Though the clock could chime throughout the work being done, it was too loud for the workers so the bells will remain silent except for such occasions as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday. Here we caught it from the top of the Hop On Hop Off bus with the tour guide telling us about it.

Great Britain, London: Harry Potter Train Platform

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When in London, kids make a pilgrimage to the Kings Cross tube station where Harry Potter left for Hogwarts on special platform numbered 9 3/4. When we first visited this spot, a decade ago, there was the simple sign on the wall. It was a real treasure hunt to find it in the station.
Nowadays, it’s very easy. Just look for the giant lineup of kids and their parents willing to pay to take photos in front of it – AND- the very busy shop next door selling everything Harry Potter possible. You don’t need to pay to get into the Tube to get to this part of the station.

Great Britain, London: Flower Wall at the Shard

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Who would expect flowers to be growing on the wall of the 72nd floor of a building? Great photo op at the Top of the Shard in London.