Tower Bridge & The London Temple

 

A few weeks ago, we spent some time seeing some of the great sights of our city.  Brian hadn't seen Tower Bridge and the Tower of London yet, so we headed south to check it out together (minus Kate, who was at home not feeling well).  The Tower Bridge is so fun to walk across for three reasons- its HUGE, the colors are spectacular, and you can see so much of the city from its perch along the Thames.  This time, we ventured to the very top, where they have a walkway 140 feet above the Thames.  Its a little (or maybe a lot) dizzying to stand over the clear panels and peer down to all of the busy traffic below.  But, the views are fantastic.

We crossed the bridge and walked to the Tower of London on the north bank of the River Thames.  Having been built in the 11th century, its part in English history cannot be overstated.  This huge stone structure is most famous for its prison where many famous beheadings took place (Anne Boleyn, anyone??).  However, our favorite part was exploring the crown jewels.  

 

 

Several of the big, modern buildings in London have the best and most interesting names.  This one is nicknamed "The Walkie Talkie" because of its shape

 

 The colors of the Tower Bridge (especially on a sunny day!) are so perfect

The colors of the Tower Bridge (especially on a sunny day!) are so perfect

 I spy St. Paul's Cathedral

I spy St. Paul's Cathedral

 At the Tower of London with a Beefeater

At the Tower of London with a Beefeater

Mastering the tube

 Lemurs at the London Zoo

Lemurs at the London Zoo

 Our pretty street ...

Our pretty street ...

 

This same weekend, Brian got away with half of our girls to head to the zoo.  An easy 10 minute walk from our house and you're there.  We love this zoo because the exhibits are much more open than the ones we are used to in the States.  You really can get up close and personal with many of the animals, which is so fun for the kids.

London is really starting to feel like home now.  We love our flat, our ward is great, and the kids are having the best experiences at school.  Life is very busy and we aren't able to get out and do as much stuff as we did when we first arrived here.  Its just different now.  But, we look back on those first few weeks as total bliss and feel so grateful for the things we were able to do in such a short amount of time.  When we first got here, pretty much everything was new to us- our home, friends, ward, food, and the energy/sounds all around us.  Its funny, the other day, I was sitting on the bus and I heard a typical city noise (a siren I think) that used to make me get all giddy when we first moved, but I don't really hear the city sounds any more.  It made me a little bit sad because I think London has its own street orchestra, if you will. The sounds and energy are always surrounding us.  It made me want to perk up and make sure I keep soaking all of this up because everything about it, even the crazy sounds, are so special.

 

 The London Temple

The London Temple

 

Our ward had a temple day one weekend.  We took a taxi, to the train, then a mini-bus to the London temple (which isn't technically in London).  The property it sits on is so beautiful and perfectly maintained to true English standards, with gorgeous flowers, lots of lush green grass, a stream, pond and some great trees to climb on.  Our group of adults split into two, so half of the parents could watch all of the kids for the first session and then you trade for the second session so everyone who wanted a chance to attend got it.  The kids loved running around with their friends for a few hours, and the adults got a much-needed spiritual boost!  Perfect.  We loved being at the temple and the perspective it gives you- there really is no place on earth quite like it. And, I love that our kids could spend so much time in such a special place.  We are so grateful that we live close and its pretty easy to get to.