Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Phoenix, Charlotte, London

Everything was smooth on the ride over 'the pond' yesterday. All of the flights were on time, smooth, and had great visibility. I could still see the San Francisco Peaks way off to the northwest as we crossed the New Mexico state line near Mogollon. That is great visibility.

The plane on the flight from Charlotte to London was only about 1/2 full and I had a whole row of empty seats to stretch out on! (When was the last time that happened)? I haven't really slept for over 24 hours now but still managed to get in a power walk to some of London's most famous landmarks. And... I stumbled onto the Royal Geological Society Hall on Picadilly Circus and the very first geologic map ever made.

I purchased a new camera for this adventure and while learning to use it, I snapped this photo at Sky Harbor International Airport. This is much more camera than I can handle just now but hopefully I'll have the kinks worked out before we get to the gorilla's.

 Here is downtown Charlotte and it's airport (below) at about 5 PM on February 20

 After 18 hours in the air and in airports, I arrived at Victoria Station at the 8 AM rush hour. Here people are scurrying towards their day.

The Shakespeare Pub just outside the station

The fa├žade of The Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, across from Hyde Park

My room wasn't quite ready at 9:30 AM so the hotel staff took me to the lobby where I served "proper English tea". A very cushy place, The Dorchester.

My room is quite comfortable and it would've been easy to just sleep for a few hours. But I need to adjust to the local time (7 hours ahead of Arizona) and so I took a stroll through the city to keep awake. In my wanderings, I happened upon the Royal Geological Society Hall located on Picadilly Circus (street). What a find...because located inside is...

...William Smith's original geologic map of England! This is truly, "The Map That Changed The World" as described brilliantly by Simon Winchester in the book of the same name.

Another view of the map the same map (right) with a second geologic map on the left. This is one of the "bucket list" "need to see" items for geologists. This map changed the way we look at our earth and how geology shapes our world view.

This is the bust of William Smith next to his map.

Trafalgar Square in London

A view south on Whitehall Street towards Parliament and Big Ben

A view of Big Ben located between Westminster Abbey and the Thames River

I am surprised that I haven't seen more signage about the Summer Olympics? This advert on the side of a bus is the only thing I saw about the Games.

The visitor entrance on the north side Westminster Abbey, where admission is about $24 US per person

The historic entrance is wonderful but this is now where tourists exit the Abbey

Beautiful clouds on the Thames River

Green Park Station on the London Underground. Tomorrow we fly to Cairo, Egypt and I will be giving my first lecture, "Introduction to the Landscapes on Our Expedition". If there is internet service, I will be posting again on this blog. (Note: please be patient if some time goes by before I post again. We are very busy on this trip and there is often no time to post. I plan to include photo's from each stop, even if it is a few stops down the line. Additional note: Our advance team, members of which have been in Cairo for the last few days, feel the situation there is calm. If conditions warrant before landing, there are blocks of rooms awaiting us in Luxor instead. That would not be a bad stop either!  Thanks for reading).

1 comment:

Gaelyn said...

Nice to have extra seats on a long flight like that especially.

Just happened upon the Geological Society huh? What a great thing to knock off your list. Plus a sweet little tour of London.

Look forward to more if you're able.