When Rali and I first traveled to London, for ten days in October 1996, I had been there once before, on a weekend Christmas shopping trip in 1994. Rali had never been there...but she had studied English from a textbook that discussed London and its landmarks extensively. So for ten days, Rali was the tour guide. Here's Rali at Piccadilly Circus.
And here's Rali at the Tower Bridge. Americans, note: Tower Bridge is different from London Bridge. London Bridge is up the Thames River a little, and it's an ordinary bridge, like you might see on an interstate in the US. Tower Bridge is the picturesque one.
The Tower of London is more of a sprawling castle than an actual tower. We paid for a guided tour of the Tower: Rali's an excellent tour guide, but we decided to supplement her recollection from her textbooks. The Tower guides are known as "beefeaters", like the gin. Rather than my publishing photos of the guides, go to your liquor cabinet and check out the bottle instead.
Normally when we travel, we try to avoid doing obviously touristy things. You won't catch me standing on a street corner with a map in one hand and a guidebook in the other. But we made an exception for traveling on buses. We always sat on the top deck (with the other tourists), and we always tried to grab the front seat (like the other tourists). And I even took photos.
In April of 1997, British Airways was having a super-cheap London special, so I invited Rali's parents to join us for another trip to London. Rali's dad is an English teacher and has used that same textbook I mentioned above, with the London landmarks, for many years, so I thought it would be fun for him to see the things he'd talked about for so long. Here are Rali and her mom in Trafalgar Square. I love this photo, although I didn't plan it to come out this way. Lucky shot.
The classic London phone booth.
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