Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bucket list time Krakow

I had an early morning flight 7.25 am from Liverpool, so I was up early and had some breakfast I was staying Inn right across from the airport while I was waiting I talked to a couple who were going over for 5 days. I arrived in Krakow and went to  the tourist desk at the airport and I was able to book a shuttle to my hotel.  I had to wait a bit and just rested while I waited it was a quick drive less than 30 mins. 

I checked into my hotel Old Time Hotel and had to wait a short time so left my luggage and went walking around close to the hotel.  I checked in and after a bit of a rest I headed out to explore. I walked and found The Collegiate Church of St. Florian and went inside and it was beautiful.
The Collegiate Church of St Florian

On July 15, 1910 the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Grundwald Krakow unveiled what was originally named the King Jagiello Monument, but became known as Grundwald Monument 

I then headed towards Old Town enjoying places along the way I passed the Grunwald Monument which was quite interesting to say the least took photos from every angle and just plain enjoyed.  As I approached the entrance to the Old Town I came across the Barbican which is Krawkow Main City gate which is Brama Floriaska. 

The Circular marvel of military architecture surrounds space 24.4 meter in diameter. The walls are three meters think, it has seven turrets and 130 loopholes in four rows the lower for artillery and the upper for archers and riflemen
Brama Floriaska

St Florian Gate

I then continued my walk into the Old Town or as it is known in Polish Stare Miasto. The entire medieval old town is among the first sites chosen for the UNESCO's original  World Heritage List and I could certainly understand why. As I continued down to the Main Market Square past the shops, restaurants and the money exchange place I can not recall seeing so many Kantor as the signs read; each offering a different exchange rate.  As I entered the Market Square I was quite impressed at the square as it was huge and it is one of the biggest squares in Europe.  I spent a number of hours here taking everything in and knowing I would spend a good deal of time exploring.  I finally headed back to my hotel which was about a 30 min walk, if my knee was not so bad I am sure I would have made the walk faster.
Horse drawn carriage

Bubbles in the Square
My first view of St Mary's

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Parks named for Queen Vicky and Queen Lizzie

Staying in Stratford London we were close to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where the 2012 Olympics were held in London. The park was renamed  Queen Elizabeth in 2013. Looking out our hotel we could see the the hideous ugly, curly-wurly red scaffolding  ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower designed by Anish Kapoor for the Olympic Games.
Ugly thing

My friend Laurie (who was still in London for her 6 month adventure) decided to visit the park and we able to walk from our hotel. We walked around the park and decided to check out the boat tour along the river running through the park. As we walked to the boat dock we saw this woman and she pointed out baby coots that has just been born that morning they were at the side of a boat so watched them for awhile the mother laying there the babies getting in the water for their first swim and the daddy diving to get breakfast is was an amazing thing to behold. 
Mama and her coots

Daddy bringing breakfast

First Swim 
swimming back to mom

We bought our tickets and took the boat ride it was ok nothing to write home about just a nice little ride  we passed the Olympic rings.  After we stopped and looked at the baby coots again another one had been born so the total was 5.   While were walking around snapping photos near the river I suddenly realized how close to the rivers edge I was and I was very lucky I did not step in still get chills when I think of how close. I have zero interest in the Olympics  I would not even look out the window if they were in my back yard but wanted to see the park.  It really was nothing in comparison to most London parks but hey its a park. The 9/11 Memorial was unveiled there March 2015, the sculpture by American Artist Miya Ando honors nearly 3000 Americans including 67 Brits killed in the attack. It was first located in Battersea park and then put out to rust in a farm field, until it was re-located.

 Olympic rings

paperlike flwers

watch your step
interesting shot into a mirror
9/11 Memorial made from Girder of the destroyed Towers

Up next was Victoria Park know colloquially as Vicky Park or the Peoples Park. The park was opened in 1845 and is located in London's East End. In the later half of the 18th Century, the park became the park for the working class of the East end.  From the start  it was a meeting place for those working to improve social and Industrial conditions. The Pagoda was originally sent in Hyde Park 1842 Chinese exhibit and was later moves to Victoria park Island. The park appears in the 2014 John Lewis Christmas advert with Monty the Penguin.

Interesting Piece in the water
Dogs of Alcibiades

1842 Pagoda

Yours truly
At this point Laurie decided to head off on her own and I walked along a part of the Regent Canal  for awhile because it was a section I had not been to. Then I headed to Liverpool Street Station to check out Shaun the Sheep, it was an interesting bus ride and I somehow managed to drag myself to sit up stairs for the front seat view.  

Mile End Lock 

Party Boat on the canal

Kindertransport The Arrival

Pearly Shaun the Sheep 

The Gherkin officially known as 30 St Mary Axe
Looking out my back window Stratford

Friday, May 22, 2015

London Always Someplace New

What can I say I never seem to get enough of London. The reason I was back so soon was because of PAUL McCartney he was doing a couple shows in London at the 02.  I decided it was time to stay in a different area a new place to explore so I choose to stay in Stratford in East London. That area was revived because of the 2012 Olympics. Stratford was a tiny pre Roman settlement on the road linking London and Colchester. The transformation seems amazing from photos I have seen before the makeover for the Olympics changing one of London's most deprived areas. The Westfield Mall Europe's largest Urban Mall is located here as well as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
the colorful Stratford Center

up to the Mall

East meets West in Stratford

A visit to Greenwich was on tap for my first day I had not been there in years and decided it was time to revisit. On the way my friend Laurie had told me about the statue of Peter the Great so we went to look at it Greenfell Mansions off Glaisher Street beside the Thames at the entrance to Deptford Creek.

quite an interesting group

what a chair

Then on wards to Greenwich where the Cutty Shark is docked, feeling a bit famished it was time for a meal and Laurie spotted the Goddards at Greenwich which offers traditional pie and mash.  I got the last Rosemary and Lamb and Rosemary pie

and Laurie was sweet enough to let me have it.  We had to climb up to the 2nd floor and Laurie again being a sweetie carried my meal up for me it was a lovely meal.
Cutty Sark

Lamb pie YUM
We walked around Greenwich for a bit made a stop in a church that was actually about to close but they let us have a quick look around. It was pretty I snapped this shot of the beautiful stain glass and it sure looked like Henry the 8th was portrayed.  By this time I was more than ready to head back to Stratford Holiday Inn to crash in my room pretty exhausted from the flight over.
crazy street names

is that Henry Lurking