We perhaps lingered a bit too long in Cambridge and had to rush to get back and grab our tickets and head off to our scheduled hour of skating fun at the Tower of London (tickets I had conveniently forgotten to bring with me that morning).

The venue was spectacular.  Glowing blue lights reflected off the ice and the tower loomed above with mysterious lights in the windows.  You couldn’t ask for a much better place to go ice skating at Christmastime…

But then there were the skates.

I admit to being spoiled.  I have worn my own figure skates since I was a teenager and being forced to put on not just rental skates, but incredibly cheap plastic hockey rental skates, resulted in a great deal of grumbling on my part.

Despite the skate fail, it was a marvelous way to spend an evening.

Not far away was the Tower Bridge.  Some professional looking photographer was taking photos of it because it just looks that good at night…

I bet my shots are just as good…

Meghan smiles in a sneaky sort of way.  Perhaps she is still amused because about five minutes before, I managed to trip and fall flat on my face walking up a very gradual incline to this viewing terrace.  I didn’t catch myself with my hands because I was carrying my camera and protecting the camera was far more important than protecting my face.

It is quite logical.

The fall probably looked hilarious, but luckily there were only a couple of tourists, Meghan, and a homeless man to see.

We went on to do some street wandering as we enjoyed our final night in London.  Remember Harrods in the daytime?

This is Harrods at night!

The stores had incredible, sometimes very weird window displays as well…

This one gave me pause.  The man looks suave and chill and clearly very aware of his own suave-osity and chillness.

But what in the world is the girl doing?  Is she planning on stabbing him in the chest with her stiletto heel?

And what’s on her head?

This was one of the more tame, normal looking window displays, actually…

Pretty and innocuous.  I like pretty and innocuous.  They make much more sense to me.

I think I found the White Witch, but what she’s doing wandering around in Harrods worries me…

The street wandering was a pleasure all on its own, but we did have a destination.

We had hoped to walk through the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland since we hadn’t had a chance to go the day before.

However, we were a little too late and the park was closed.  Alas, no twinkly carnival rides for us.

But considering all the things we did manage to accomplish on our trip, I think we will survive missing this one.

Basking in the glow of angelic goodness… or, you know, something.

I had a very hard time getting the silly camera to handle the lighting of these lamps.  Either it was too dark or weirdly reddish…  I am still but a novice with my photography, I suppose.

It was very late and my feet were very confused as to why I had been on them for so long.  We headed back and got some rest to prepare for our last day in London, starting with…

Westminster Abbey!  What, this doesn’t look like Westminster Abbey?  We actually went for one of their morning services, which was spectacular, but alas! they do not allow photographs within the church, so I had to content myself with a few shots after leaving the sanctuary.

Our last day was a bit grey and misty, but considering the fact that we’d had two flawlessly blue sky days, one day of grey was not actually that bad.  London was kind to us as far as weather goes.

I really wanted to go sneak through all the rooms and peek out all of those windows…

And here is the outside that is so much more familiar.

Below is an engraving with the words ‘May God grant to the living grace, to the departed rest, to the church & the world peace and concord, and to us sinners eternal life.’

Considering how few days we were actually in London, I managed to see most of the major sites that I had hoped to spot and capture with my camera.

Fortunately, they tend to cluster, so I was able to visit Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the House of Parliament all at the same time.

Photo op!

The benefit, we discovered, of my red coat and hat was that when I strayed away, happily snapping photos, Meghan was always able to spot me and drag me back the way we were supposed to be going.

Big Ben… Actually, Big Ben refers originally to the bell in the tower, not to the clock or to the tower itself.  But since we don’t see the bell and we do see the tower with the clock, Big Ben has become the clock tower.

Poor bell.

And there’s that All-Seeing London Eye again.  It seems to like peering creepily at you from behind things.  How is something so big able to always be hiding?

Next to the House of Parliament, we can admire the dashing Oliver Cromwell.  And his pet lion Lawrence who used to chomp on the faces of anyone who disagreed with Cromwell’s politics.

No, really, look it up!  It’s history.

I may possibly have taken a lot of pictures of the clock tower.  It just… asked for it.

You are probably wondering why I took a picture of Tesco.  It’s not because I am at all fond of Tesco.  Tesco is the store that refused to sell me vanilla extract because I didn’t have ID with me and they apparently believed I planned on chugging vanilla like a moron.

Anyway, no, I was taking a picture of the funny looking character in pink to the right.  S/he had a creepy smiling mask on and wanted people to pay to have their pictures taken with him/her.    *shudder*

Really tall tower…

Really, really tall tower.

The All-Seeing London Eye up close and personal.  And yet still managing to kind of hide behind the Boudicca statue.

Also, remember that photo of the Holmes and Watson M&Ms in front of the Big Ben tower?

This is where they were standing!!!

Nap does not need to wear a watch.  He plans on having this tower carried around with him wherever he goes.

If you’re going to tell time, do it impressively.

Boudicca looks intimidating and triumphant in this statue, but I kind of wonder what she would have thought of it.  I mean, she did basically burn London down when she came through it.  And now, here it is, all rebuilt, with her statue in it.

But she was defending the native inhabitants of Britain (well, her tribes anyway), against the Romans.  And the Victorians liked the idea of her for obvious reasons.  So here she is.

Our final stops before heading home: the British Museum and one last peek into the V&A!

(You looked up Lawrence the lion, didn’t you? Don’t try to deny it.)