London England Part Three – Buckingham Palace – Tower of London – Kensington Palace

Day Three of our London adventure would be our last full day there, as the next day was a pickup at 4am for our flight from Heathrow to Paris. The day’s adventure would include visiting the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and Kensington Palace.

This is how you imagine Buckingham Palace. Guards watching over the immaculately groomed grounds.

The perfectly maintained ground of Buckingham Palace in London England

This is how Buckingham Palace really looks. It’s you and thousands of other tourists taking photos of themselves.

The many,many tourists taking photos outside Buckingham Palace in London England.

The building that houses the Crown Jewels. No pictures allowed once inside.

The building in the tower of London that holds the Crown Jewels

A suit of armor which could possible be made with gold. I didn’t read the signs, I just took photos as quickly as possible.

Suit of Armor at the Tower of London in England

The sign on the London bridge says it’s the World’s most famous. Sorry, maybe the 2nd most famous behind the Golden Gate Bridge.

London Bride - London EnglandWhile working our way back to the hotel after visiting the Tower of London we stumbled upon Ten Trinity Square.  While researching what build it was, I found out that it had been used in the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall playing the part of a government building.

Kensington Palace.

It looks like a painting, which it is. It’s just that it was painted on the ceiling.

Ceiling painting in Kensington Palace - London England

The official name for this room is the King’s Gallery, but if you Google the Red Room in Kensington Palace you will end up at the King’s gallery.

The red room in Kensington Palace - London England

Many of great photographers capture their shoes in photos. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. This checker board floor was in Kensington Palace.

Black and white checkered floor in Kensington Palace - London, EnglandI walked through Kensington Palace making photos of things that look interesting or were photo worthy never wondering what I had just taken a photo of. Later on if the photo was to be used on my blog, I would research who or what the photo included. A little research ( ok, googling ) told me that this painting in the Queen’s gallery is of Peter the Great the Tsar of Russia from 1672 – 1725. The painting was done by Sir Godfrey Kneller in 1698 when Peter the Great was visiting William III in London. So now both I and Peter the Great have visited London,  but only one of us had his portrait made in a suit of armour with an embroidered gold,  while wearing our ermine-lined cloak with our crown sitting on a cushion and sailing ships passing in the background. Maybe some day.

Large painting in Kensington Palace - London England

The rear of the marble statue of Queen Victoria just outside the palace.

The 2,300 ton marble Queen Victoria Memorial Statue located just outside of the front gates of Buckingham Palace.

Victoria Memorial by Buckingham Palace - London EnglandNo photos were allowed inside Buckingham palace, but once outside on the Palace grounds I was able to make this image.

The backyard of Buckingham Palace

You must either go left, or go right, but no walking into the fence was allowed.

Pedestrians signs in London England tell you to go left or right, but not straight.


London England Part 2 – Windsor Castle – Bath – Stonehenge

The second day in London would consist of mostly not being in London. The day started with a cab ride over to Victoria station where we would board the bus for the day’s journey. On tap for this day’s long trip would be Windsor Castle, Bath England, and Stonehenge.

When you arrive at Stonehenge, you arrive at the Stonehenge parking lot. Then you walk over to the visitor center where you catch a smaller bus that takes you out to the site. Our tour guide mentioned we caught a really nice day, as sometimes the wind is blowing so hard it could blow the bus without power to the site. We also walked into a beautiful cloudy day with made for great photos.

Wonderful blue sky and clouds above StonehengeBeen there, done that. OK, we never went into Harrods, we just drove by. That most likely saved a bunch of money.

Harrods department store - London England

Exterior of Windsor Castle.

Windsor Castle

The writing above the door says Anno Domini 1583 which a google search revealed means 1583 AD, and the E R stands Elizabeth Regina which is Latin for Queen Elizabeth.

This entrance to Windsor Castle has the words Anno Domini 1583 above it.

I believe the official name for this part of Windsor Castle is the Upper Ward, but it looks more like the Courtyard at Windsor Castle.

Windsor Castle Courtyard

The Roman bath complex was founded in 75 AD. The building that now surrounds the bath was built near the end of the 18th Century.

Roman Baths - Bath England

It’s just point and shoot and anyone can be a photographer.

Everybody is a photographer

Bath Abbey is now the more common name used, but the official name was the Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

Bath Abbey - Bath England

The interior of Bath Abbey features stained glass windows and stone carved fan vaulting for the ceilings.

Interior windows Bath Abbey - Bath England

The winged angel leans above a bust of Alexander Champion who on April 23, 1774 defeated the Afghan Highlanders at Miranpur Katra. He passed away in Bath on March 15, 1793.

Memorial to Alexander Champion - Bath Abbey - Bath England

Our first ride on the London Underground.

The London Underground


Jay Cutler retires and joins Fox Sports NFL coverage

The story about Jay Cutler’s retirement from the NFL broke about 10 days ago, so this post isn’t really breaking news. What this post does cover is some thoughts from Keith Simonian about the Bears visit to Levi’s stadium in 2014 in what would be the San Francisco 49ers first regular season game there.
The 49ers had played their last game at Candlestick, and now were playing their first regular season game on September 14, 2014 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers had gone 12-4 during the 2013 NFL regular season, and then beaten both Green Bay Packers and the Carolina Panthers in away playoff games. In the NFC championship they traveled to Seattle where they lost to the Seahawks 23  to 17 in what was considered a battle of the two best teams in the NFL. Seattle would beat the Denver Broncos 43 to 8 in the Super Bowl to claim the NFL crown. On the other hand, the Bears had finished the 2013 with a lackluster 8 and 8 season. This season opener was set up so the 49ers could win the first regular season game there.

It didn’t turn out that way.

The 49ers lost to the Bears 28 to 20. It wasn’t suppose to happen that way. The 49ers had just come off a season opening road win against the Dallas Cowboys who would finish the season 12-4. Worse yet, the Bears would finish the 2014 season with a 5-11 record. Turns out a lot didn’t go according to plan for the 49ers during the 2014 regular season. The 49ers would finish the season 8 and 8 and out of the playoffs. Jim Harbaugh would be fired as coach with the with the 3rd best record of any NFL coach with more than 50 games, and as the winningest NFL coach in the salary cap era.

As of today, both starting Quarterbacks are out of the NFL. Jay Cutler retired after 11 NFL seasons and Colin Kaepernick is still looking for a team to join after being cut by the 49ers after the 2016 season.

Quarterback Jay Cutler was suppose to the be answer for the Chicago Bears. After eight seasons, it turns out he wasn’t.

Update – Sunday August 6, 2017.

Well that didn’t last long. The Miami Dolphins lost their starting quarterback with a non contact training camp knee injury that will put him out for the season. As the Dolphins were a playoff team last season and not wanting to waste this year, the starting quarterback solution became the very, very recently retired Jay Cutler.  Cutler’s one year deal is for  $10 million that with incentives could reach $13 million. Cutler will team up with now Dolphins head coach Adam Gase who was the Bear’s offensive coordinator during the 2015 season when Cutler had his highest passing rating.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler

Before the game, the Boys Scouts brought out a very large flag for the playing of the National anthem. Jay Cutler just walked over and helped out.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler helps hold the American flag during the playing of the national anthem.

I’m going to make the assumption this was an incomplete pass.

Bears quarterback jay Cutler throws a terrible pass during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi

As this was the first and only time I photographer Jay Cutler, I took many photos of him and watched him many times after the play finished. I did notice he was very, very concerned about how his uniform looked after each play. I’ve never seen an NFL quarterback spend so much time making sure his jersey looked perfect.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler eludes the pass rush of the San Francisco 49ers.In all honesty, the 2014 season was the beginning of the end for Colin Kaepernick with the 49ers.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick


London England Part One – British Isles Cruise

The cruise was over and now it was time for our visit to London and Paris. The trip to London would be from Southampton by bus after getting off the cruise ship. Long story short, Princess found yet another way to screw something up. We arrived at our hotel at 2:34 pm which was too late for our planned visit that day. So we had to wing and find a new site to visit.

Night view of the London Library and the St. Pancras Renaissande Hotel from the top floor our hotel the Pullman London St. Pancras Hotel.

Night time view of London from the Pullman London St Pancras Hotel

Hyde park and the 190 foot tall Albert Memorial.  Not a bad photo considering it was taken through the window of our bus traveling at 25 kph.

The Albert Memorial - Hyde Park - London

Another bus window photo. This photo shows the distinctive London cab zooming along the park.

Distinctive black London cab zoom by

The White walls of the Somerset house.

Somerset House London England

If you are going to visit a tourist attraction, you must include your shoes in the photo, like this winding staircase in the Somerset House.

Circular staircase and view of my shoes

The line to enter the London Eye weaves back and forth. It wasn’t too bad. Just a 15 minute wait. Better than most rides at Disneyland.

The winding pathway that leads visitors to the London Eye - London England

View of the Jubilee Gardens and Southbank Place from the London Eye.

View of the Jubilee Gardens from the London Eye

The height of the London Eye didn’t bother me until top when I realized we were no longer hanging down.

View from top of London Eye of another car also at the top

Making a photo thru the glass and towards the sun is usually quite difficult. But I wanted to capture Big Ben and the Parliament building in this photo. Sadly now when I look at this photo I see the Westminster bridge which we crossed later that day and is now remembered as just one more place that something bad happened.

View from London Eye of Big Ben and Parliament building

Big Ben, the English Parliament building and the Underground sign for the Westminster station.

Big Ben - the Parliament building - the Underground stationI don’t know what was going on here.

London tourists dressed in pink posing for a group photoColorful graffiti on the red bricks

The restaurant at our hotel which features a large Whisky display.

Pullman London St Pancras Hotel restaurant

Night view of the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel with streaks of light from passing vehicles and buses.

Nigh view of St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel


Tony Romo retires from Dallas Cowboys – NFL career over

It would have been a good bet that Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo would have been back in action during the 2016 season after his preseason injury. Turns out he got most of his on the field action while wearing a team sweat suit and standing next to head coach Jason Garrett. By the time Romo was ready to play, his rookie replacement had the starting quarterback job, and wouldn’t be giving it up even in the playoffs. Romo would play in just one game and attempt 4 passes completing three for a total of 29 yards. The Cowboys would enter the playoffs as the number one NFC seed, and would lose their divisional round playoff game to the visiting Green Bay Packers.

Most of the on field action Romo would get during the 2016 season would be while wearing sweats waiting to recover from his preseason injury.  Seems likely he didn’t see his NFL career ending as the 2nd string quarterback. Things didn’t go all bad for Romo, as after he hangs up his cleats he will take the lead NFL game analyst spot at CBS Sports.

Quarterback Tony Romo stands alongside Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett

Tony Romo fist pumps to the crowd after the Dallas Cowboys defeat the San Francisco 49ers  on October 2, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Dallas Cowboy Tony Romo fist pumps the crowd after the Cowboys beat the San Francisco 49ers in Levi