I know. This isn't the Eye of London. It's the iconic Tower Bridge. Before Bernie and I got to the Eye, we took a boat tour on the Thames. It was raining part of the time but not really that cold, if you wore a jacket.
Our tour went to the bridge and then came back to the starting point. This is one of many Tower shots...the boat kept swaying and I was afraid of missing that one perfect image.
We stopped for a short walk at the Tower of London. The gloomy day seemed to fit the site where Anne Boleyn, perhaps most famously, was beheaded. Many British nobles were executed at the Tower and it was the prison where they awaited their fate. The grounds look lovely but you can't forget that they are blood-soaked.
Below is one of the capsules on the Eye. You can see all over London and even on a dull day I had magnificent views of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the Houses of Parliament. You can walk all around and look out any part of the capsule for the half hour, the Eye takes for one revolution. Twenty people at a time were allowed on so it was not crowded. Some people sat on the middle seats but many preferred the view right up near the glass. Poor Bernie. She had a ticket but has a slight aversion to heights. Right up until we picked up our tickets (we'd pre-ordered on-line), she thought she might be able to come. Looking up at the Eye changed her mind. Patiently she waited and wandered around in her green rain jacket, stopping people to ask if she could use their phone. We had been invited to my cousin's for dinner but were running late. As well, she just gave her ticket away to a lucky tourist in the crowd. I have pictures of her looking like a little elf on the area around the Eye...her green coat does stand out!
The plane finally landed. There had been a lot of coughing and sneezing and general restlessness for the last couple of hours of the flight. As we stood with our carry-ons, waiting to disembark, I sneezed.
"OMG," I said. "Now I think I have the plague."
Bernie was horrified. "Don't say such a thing," she said, demonstrating what I thought was un-necessary paranoia and what she thought was sensible caution on an international flight. She also started a list of words I was no longer allowed to use.
We arrived in the morning and we delighted with ourselves when we navigated the train to Victoria Station and the "tube" to near Hyde Park and our near-by hotel. Baggage checked at the hotel, and the not withstanding the plague, we had a few hours to spend before we could check in.
Through Hyde Park and into Kensington Gardens. The sun was warm and the day so perfect, we barely noticed that we were jet-lagged. We found Princess Diana's fountain and walked along the Thames tributary admiring the water fowl.
At last we could check into our hotel and we both cratered. So much for no jet-lag. Still our trip was off to a great start.
The picture on the right is actually from our second day. Queen Victoria, longest reigning monarch, had this tribute made to Prince Albert who was her soul mate and a great help in governing England.
Gary and I were married November 4, 1972. Some parts of the day were a mistake. The next time I get married it's going to be a June wedding. There are so many more honeymoon possibilites. That being said, we decided to mark our 40th anniversary with a little get away.
You might guess Hawaii but you'd be wrong. We headed out through heavy fog and the threat of freezing rain for Moose Jaw. If it was good enough for Al Capone...
It's not such an odd destination. Temple Gardens in Moose Jaw is a hotel with amenties like a mineral pool and on-site massages. The rooms are pleasant and the price, reasonable. There's the Moose Jaw Casino right across the street. It's a pretty easy place to navigate so it did suit a "mature" couple. The arch in the photo leads into a park but with the twisted trees in the background, I thought it looked "deliciously creepy" It has a forboding feel to it, a kind of 'enter at your own risk' warning. It could lead to a cemetary or be a portal into an alternate reality.
And back to reality- when you follow the walking trails through the park, the most sinister sights are more twisted trees. And really big squirrels. The squirrels are pretty tame and one giant even poked his head around a tree trunk next to me. Another photo op.
The 'deliciously creepy" gate is, in fact, all that remains of one of the first schools in Moose Jaw. The arch was saved and now graces the entrance to Crescent Place. Still, I think it might be the inspiration for some fiction later on.
And forty years? They have gone by pretty fast. Like Moose Jaw, they weren't perfect. There were rough patches and unexpected delights. So - would I do it again? Yes- to both the forty years and Moose Jaw.
I've been married a long time and often write about everyday events.