Sunday, December 23, 2012

London Day 2 - Friday December 21, 2012

The Horseguards London. Connie with the horse.
The Horseguards London. John with the horse.
Today we woke to sunshine. Yes, sunshine! We walked through Bloomsbury then caught a bus to Charing Cross. We walked by the Horseguards headquarters on the way to Whitehall, the Parliament, #4 Downing Street, Big Ben and the Churchill Museum.
Big Ben. London
Prime Minister's guard. Wax model. Wartime Rooms Museum. London
Kitty and Dave Stewart (my sister and brother-in-law) discovered the Churchill Museum several years ago. We went for the first time four years ago and found it fascinating, instructional, innovative and inspirational. I need a synonym for fascinating that starts with i. What about intriguing? Not exactly the same meaning, but it works: intriguing, instructional, innovative and inspirational. This is the Prime Minister's Guard. (Well, a representation of the same.)
John Strange entering War Rooms Museum, London
The Churchill Museum is really a combination of two museums: The War Rooms Museum and the Churchill Museum. Imagine being about two stories underground during the German bombing raids on London. And then imagine being in a building that was just then being reinforced to withstand (maybe, they weren't sure) 250 pound bombs. And also imagine the Prime Minister going out on the roof of the building at night to watch the bombing raids and then again in the morning to "make sure that St. Paul's [Cathedral] was still there." What would our Secret Service do? I can't imagine!

Prime Minister's guard. Wax model. Wartime Rooms Museum. London
The Churchill museum is a large area within the war rooms tour. It is very interactive, involves the use of many videos and audios, especially excerpts from Churchill's most famous speeches. Even today they inspire you. At least they do me. I have two recommendations. Read Citizens of London to get an excellent overview of the efforts of three Americans, especially Edward R. Morrow, the great CBS broadcaster, and John Gilbert (Gil) Winant, Ambassador to Great Britain and former Governor of New Hampshire, who worked tirelessly to bring the United States into active participation in the defense of England. Second, go to London and spend several hours in the War Rooms Museum and the Churchill Museum. Without Churchill, and without the efforts of Morrow and Winant, the world might be horribly different!
Changing of the guard. Horseguard Headquarters.
On our walk back to the hotel we passed the Horseguards headquarters just before 4:00. It was time to relieve the two guards on duty and send the horses to their stables. Fortunately we had a good viewing spot for this interesting ceremony which took almost twenty minutes to complete.

Changing the guard at the Horseguards Headquarters, Londonborder=
We returned to our hotel thankful for the likes of Winston Churchill and the brave men and women of Great Britain, free Poland, free France and all the others who held the line against the Nazi onslaught until America finally arrived with troops and more supplies.
maria Stipettn
Dinner was once again at our adopted home restaurant: Trattoria Mondello is owned and operated by Maria (mama), Silvana (daughter) and Filippo Stipettn (papa) for over 40 years. Sicillians are a sturdy lot!

Wednesday night I had a fantastic Lasagna. Thursday night I had liver and onions cooked in the style of Venice in a wine sauce that was very, very very good.Tonight I had rigatoni gorgonzola. I contend you cannot find a better version of this dish.. First ,the gorgonzola was perfect, just as St. Agur is perfect in France. Second, cream and a touch of white wine made the sauce perfect. Yes, perfect! The pasta was delicate and properly cooked. It was also (probably) home made. True perfection. .
Silvana Stipettn
Filippo Stipettn

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