More trees

I went to Lady Bird Johnson Grove to see the site that Redwood National Park became a thing. It did not disappoint.

TreesTrees on a foggy day

The Trees

6 nights of exploration and fun in Redwood State and National Parks begins today. Actually, I arrived yesterday but had to spend time putting up the tent and grocery shopping. Today is when the fun began.

From my campsite in Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park, I headed north to Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park to drive the Howland Hill Road. It’s pretty nice:

Trees

Leftovers

A few random pics from the trip that you might enjoy:

Stonehenge

For my last day in the U.K., I took yet another trip with London Walks out to see Stonehenge. It’s as awesome and weird as you think it is. You should go see it sometime.

Salisbury was part of the trip as well, but sort of an add-on in my opinion. It’s probably part of the tour because that’s where the train station is. Anyhow, the town is very charming and has England’s tallest cathedral:

London & Greenwich

Today, I visited Greenwich on another London Walks tour. Getting to the tour was half the fun: I walked from my hotel just north of Soho to London Tower. Along the way, there were a number of really cool things to see:

The tour began with a boat ride to Greenwich, passing underneath the very lovely Tower Bridge and continued down the Thames. The crew gave us a great narration about the history of the docklands areas and how completely unaffordable it is now:

Once we arrived in Greenwich, we walked around the grounds of the Royal Naval Academy:

At the conclusion of the tour, I went up the hill to the Greenwich observatory to get a better view of the city and learn more about the invention of a clock that works at sea. And to stand with a foot on either side of the Prime Meridian. Because I’m a dork like that.

Oxford and thereabouts

As far as I can remember, The Hobbit was the first book I wanted to read after “graduating” from the likes of Dr. Seuss, Winnie the Pooh, Encyclopedia Brown, and the Hardy Boys. I’m not sure that I really understood it or The Lord of the Rings the first time I read them, but I was captivated and have re-read each a dozen or so times. Today, I made the pilgrimage out to Oxford to see J.R.R Tolkien’s grave and the pub that he and C.S. Lewis used to hang out in.

The names Beren and Luthien come from a story that he wrote about an elf maiden that falls in love with a mortal man. It’s sweet. The cemetery itself is three miles north of Oxford in Wolvercote.

After that, I took the long way back to Oxford via a path next to the Thames. There were the remains of a nunnery as soon as I stepped onto the path, people fishing, and walking the dogs. If this is what the rest of the English countryside looks like, I’m moving:

The pub, The Eagle and Child, was the last stop before taking the bus back to London. It has a variety of plaques and photos in remembrance of these great writers:

Running Amok

Today began with a two-hour walking tour of Notting Hill. The tour guide (Tom) is a barrister during the week, but prefers doing this. He’s definitely got the personality for it. I’m taking a couple more walking tours with this company (London Walks) and am really looking forward to it. The highlight of the tour was when Tom pointed out where Annie Lennox lives. Unlike s lot of her very wealthy neighbors, she takes out her own trash and recycling.

The end of the walk left us at the Portobello Road street market. It was insanely packed and I had to leave quickly, but not before getting one of these:

From there, I walked down to the Victoria and Albert museum. I failed to reserve s ticket for the Pink Floyd exhibit, but that’s ok. I’d rather not spend £24 on it. The museum offers a lot for free (most of the museums in London are free):

On the way back to the hotel, I walked through Hyde Park. I can see why it’s so well-loved:

There’s a flock of Indian Ringneck Parrots that live in the park. Had I known this ahead of time, I would have brought fruit for them.

A statue of Peter Pan:

Museum Overload

A few years ago, 2013ish I think, I realized that visiting one museum per day is plenty. I’ve been good about following that rule until now. Today, I went to the British Museum, the British Library, and the National Gallery. In all fairness, I didn’t walk them all top to bottom. I focused on the Rosetta Stone, Greek, Egyptian, and Assyrian galleries at the British Museum, the “treasures” at the British Library (one of four parts of the Magna Carta, handwritten drafts by Mozart, and 1,000 year old bibles from multiple religions), and modern art at the National Gallery (Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Monet, and Pissarro). Not a bad way to spend a day.

Lunch was pretty great as well:

London!

After a very long day of travel, I’m in London. I went out for Indian food and was not disappointed in the least. My hotel is located right around the corner from this place:

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