We visited Lakenheath, London, Bury St. Edmunds, Cambridge, and Bocking (Essex) in the UK. Then we took the Aerostar ("Chunnel") to the Continent and visited Amsterdam, the Hague, Versailles, and Paris.
RAF Lakenheath August 10Our plane landed at London's Heathrow Airport on Wednesday, August 10, We managed to navigate the Metro across London, then took a train to Cambridge. While awaiting a train to Brandon, we took this photo of a taxi. (We briefly considered taking a cab to Lakenheath, but changed our minds.)
|We considered taking a taxi, but changed our mind.|
We caught a train to Brandon.
|Waiting at the Brandon Station|
London August 11The next day we drove from Lakenheath to the outskirts of London and then took the Metro to London.
|Headed to London|
|In front of the Parish Church of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields|
|The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square|
|With our granddaughter at the Tower of London|
|Within the grounds of the Tower of London|
|According to Alan Nesbitt, this man is not a Beefeater, but a Guardsman.|
|The Tower of London Bridge, being raised for a ship to pass.|
|Another Beefeater—I mean Guardsman—at the Tower of London|
Bury Saint Edmunds and the Magna Carta, August 12
On Friday, August 12, we took a bus tour from Lakenheath to Bury Saint Edmunds.
|Our first view of Bury Saint Edmunds as we exited the bus.|
Bury Saint Edmunds' main attraction is the Cathedral there. Here is an example of the gardens we passed as we proceeded to the Cathedral.
|One of the gardens at Bury Saint Edmunds|
|We passed the ruins of an older cathedral at Bury.|
|Approaching the Cathedral at Bury Saint Edmunds|
|Plaque that tells of the signing of the Magna Carta|
|About to enter the Cathedral at Bury Saint Edmunds|
|Inside the Cathedral|
|Our guide introduced herself to us.|
|Some of the cathedral's stained glass.|
|The Cathedral organ|
|Statue of Mary and Jesus|
|Happy grandbaby at the Cathedral|
|Saint Edmunds Pew, where the Bishop of Ipswich sits|
|A smaller organ at the Cathedral|
|In the market at Bury Saint Edmunds|
Second Trip to London, August 13, 2005On Saturday, August 13, we decided to see London from the Thames River. Here we're waiting to board a boat to ride up and down the Thames.
|Waiting for the boat|
|Big Ben from our boat on the Thames|
|The British Houses of Parliament|
|The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben|
|Looking at the London Eye, beyond the Westminster Bridge|
|A closer look at the London Eye|
|Royal Festival Hall (blocked from view by trees)|
|London IBM Building (It made my heart race ...)|
|Shakespeare's Globe (half-timbered)|
|Tower of London Bridge as seen from the Thames|
|Going underneath London Bridge|
|The dome in the background is St. Paul's Cathedral|
|Pizza Rotti, a substitute for the Hard Rock Cafe|
Cambridge, England, August 14Sunday, August 14, was a bit more relaxed. After attending church in the a.m., we drove to nearby Cambridge to see the University there. We saw a sign directing us the the Whipple Museum of the History of Science.
|Sign pointing us toward the Whipple Museum|
|Me, standing outside the closed Whipple Museum|
|Statue of King Henry VIII at King's College, Cambridge|
|King's College, Cambridge|
|Some bridges over the Cam River. (Hmmm ... "Cam" + "Bridge" = "Cambridge")|
|Cambridge is one of England's oldest universities|
|Returning to Lakenheath from Cambridge|
Visiting Whipple Origins in Bocking, Essex, August 15Starting at the Royal Air Force base in Lakenheath (northeast of Cambridge), we headed south and got on the A11 expressway, which became the M11 expressway and continued to its intersection with the east-west A120 expressway. (Bishop's Stortford is on the west of that intersection; London's Stansted Airport is on the east.) We drove east on the A120 to Braintree, then to north to Bocking. We knew we had arrived when we saw this:
|Gate leading to St. Mary's Church|
|St. Mary's Church, Bocking, Essex, England|
|St. Mary's Church Hall and Parish Office|
We noticed the entrance to Bocking Hall:
|Entrance to Bocking Hall|
We didn't go through those gates (as far as I can recall 13 years later), but it might be interesting ...
We proceeded to the church:
|St. Mary's Church is over 1000 years old|
Our visit was on a Monday, when the Church is normally closed, so we initially walked around the outside. We tried entering the front door:
|The front door of St. Mary's. It was locked, being Monday.|
With the door locked, we explored the yard. The gravestones were in the church yard:
|Gravestones in the St. Mary's church yard. I looked for Whipples, but found none.|
Circling around the church, we saw this beautiful window:
|Another side of St. Mary's|
|Closeup of stonework|
Continuing our walk around the building:
|Rounding the corner to the next side of St. Mary's|
We looked for a place to peer into the church.
|Continuing our walk around the building ...|
|Looking into St. Mary's from the outside|
We continued to explore from the outside of the church:
|We managed to get this photo from the outside, looking in|
|We managed to take interior photo through another outside window|
|Rounding another corner, we spied the Church Hall and Parish Office in the distance|
We saw this clock beneath the bell tower. It would soon be noon.
|Clock beneath the bell tower at St. Mary's, Bocking|
We also saw this statue of St. Katherine holding a spiked wheel. During the 4th century, she refused to make sacrifices to pagan gods and was put to death by being crushed between two spiked wheels.
|St. Katherine, 4th century AD|
I'm uncertain about this statue:
The following two seem to represent a king and queen?
|My notes wonder if this might be King Henry III (1206–1272)?|
|If married to Henry III, this would be Eleanor of Provence, Queen Consort of England (1223-1291)|
Continuing to check around the outside of the church, we read the notices of local events. In the process we learned that the full name of the church is The Deanery Church of St. Mary the Virgin Bocking:
I noticed this gargoyle (?):
|Gargoyle at St. Mary's Bocking|
Before leaving, we decided to try the door of the Parish Office. To our delight, it was open. We walked in. "Anyone home?" we wondered.
|Inside the Parish Office|
We saw a picture of St. Mary's hanging on the wall:
|Picture of St. Mary's on the wall in the Parish Office|
No one seemed to be there. We were getting hungry, so we went to the gate. The road to the left looked promising. We proceeded down the street and found a place for a light lunch.
|Street to the left when exiting the gate to St. Mary's|
After lunch, we returned to take a few more photos:
|We expected this to be the end of our visit to St. Mary's|
|Another photo of the tower|
I hadn't noticed this tree previously:
|One parting photo ... or so we thought|
"Why did we have to come on a Monday, when the church and offices were all closed?" we asked ourselves. (I knew why: on Tuesday we would take the Chunnel to Belgium, the Netherlands, and France ... but I asked it anyway.)
We decided to check the Parish Office one more time.
Les Vail, a Church Warden, had stopped by the office. When I told him I was the webmaster of the Whipple Website, he graciously unlocked St. Mary's for us!! (Hmmm ... Maybe he would have unlocked it for anyone?) Here is what we saw when we entered:
|Les Vail, Church Warden, greeted us warmly.|
We saw this monument to Mary Grinsell Moore (d. 1624) on the north wall of St. Mary's chapel:
|Monument to Mary Grinsell Moore|
The organ at St. Mary's was recently refurbished at a cost of £35,000:
|Organ at St. Mary's Bocking|
Looking north inside the chapel, we saw this:
|Looking north inside St. Mary's Bocking|
Les Vail took us up into the bell tower. Here is what we saw when we looked up in the bell tower:
|Looking up in the bell tower at St. Mary's Bocking|
This photo shows the the striped ropes pulled to ring the bells:
|Inside the bell tower at St. Mary's Bocking|
This plaque shows the Deans and Rectors of St. Marys from 1232 through 1996:
|Deans and Rectors of Bocking|
Perhaps this man was the current Dean of Bocking?
|Poster at St. Mary's Bocking|
Now that we had seen the inside of the church, we decided it was time to leave. We noticed the Bocking Cemetery as we headed back to Braintree. We took many photos, but saw no Whipples.
Traveling to Amsterdam, August 16
On Tuesday, August 16, we rode the Chunnel beneath the English Channel to the European Continent. First, however, we took a train to London.
|From the train window: Leaving Brandon for London|
Amsterdam and the Hague, August 17
Our goal for the remainder of our trip was to see major art museums Here is the entrance to Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum:
|Barbara at the entrance of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam|
|Barbara standing by Vermeer's "Woman in Blue Reading a Letter"|
|Vermeer's "The Milkmaid"|
|The Hague's Mauritshuis has many wonderful paintings—including some Vermeers|
|At the Hague's Centraal Station, we were impressed by the large number of bicycles.|
Versailles and Paris, August 18
We awoke early on the 18th to take the Intercity Express (ICE) from Amsterdam to Paris. Fortunately the derailment of two days earlier had been cleared and repaired. The train traveled cautiously in the Netherlands; as soon as it crossed into France, it sped up noticeably. Arriving at Paris' Gare du Nord station, we took the Metro to our hotel near the Moulin Rouge, then headed to Versailles.
|At Versailles' Rive Droite station|
|Approaching the Palace at Versailles|
|Equestrian statue of Louis XIV|
|An organ in the Palace at Versailles|
|Louis the which, I wonder ...|
|Looking out a window from the Palace at Versailles|
|King Louis' throne|
|Another of the Palace's seemingly endless rooms|
|Marie Antoinette and children, perhaps?|
Louis built a full-size toy village for Marie Antoinette:
|Marie Antoinette's full-sized toy village|
|The toy village's vegetable garden|
It was early evening when we decided to head back to Paris from Versailles. It seemed like we had to walk "forever" to get to the station in Versailles. We were tired when we arrived back at the hotel in Paris.
Paris, August 19
On Friday August 19, we headed for the Louvre, and immediately sought out Vermeer paintings.
|Johannes Vermeer's "The Lacemaker" at the Louvre, Paris|
|A pyramid at the Louvre|
|Winged Victory of Samothrace—what's left of it|
|The crowds around the Mona Lisa were huge. It was probably the most popular place in the Louvre|
|The crown jewels at the Louvre|
|My finger between two pyramids at the Louvre|
|Barbara walking along the Seine River near the Louvre|
|The Isle of Paris in the distance|
|Approaching Sainte-Chapelle in Paris|
|Entrance to Sainte-Chapelle, Paris|
|Inside Sainte-Chapelle—Paris' first church|
|Barbara inside Sainte-Chapelle, Paris|
|Stained glass windows in Sainte-Chapelle, Paris|
|This Paris police station is an integral part of the Sainte-Chapelle building|
|Outside Sainte-Chapelle, Paris|
|Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris|
|Christ and the Last Supper in the Cathedral of Notre Dame|
|The Birth of Jesus and the Flight into Egypt|
|The Three Kings visit the baby Jesus, in Notre Dame, Paris|
|"Whistler's Mother" at Musée d'Orsay|
|"Ballet Rehearsal on the Stage" by Edgar Degas|
|"The Little Dancer" by Edgar Degas, at the Musée d'Orsay|
|Portrait of Claude Monet at Musée d'Orsay|
|"Self Portrait" by Vincent van Gogh|
|"The Bedroom" by Vincent van Gogh, at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris|
As the afternoon progressed, we prepared to go for dinner at the Eiffel Tower
|The Eiffel Tower in the distance|
|Closer view of the Eiffel Tower|
|Barbara dining in the Eiffel Tower, at 95 meters|
|The Eiffel Tower at night|
The next morning we awoke very early to catch the train to the Charles de Gaulle Airport. From there we headed back to our home in the USA.