Sunday, June 9, 2013

Day 4- Rest of London!

Today we started off going to the Churchill War Rooms, which were pretty interesting!  I'd never been to them, so it was a new experience!  You start off in the secret underground offices of Churchill and his staff and halfway through take a detour to the  Churchill Museum that has a lot of his papers-for work and for personal life-, pictures, clothes, etc...  You could spend days there looking at everything and watching all of the movies!

These offices were used for the duration of WW2- and only opened to the public in 1984.  It used to be called the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum but was shortened to the Churchill War rooms a few years ago.  Everything is set up the way it was in the 40s and there's different artifacts- letters, documents, photos, etc... of the staff and Churchill, so it's a bit like stepping back in time.  They also had information on those staff members, not just on Churchill and the higher ups, so you get to learn a bit about the job and life of typists, morse code readers/typists, and others.  Very cool!

From there we went across the river to the HMS Belfast , and old WW2+Korean War battleship that is permanently moored on the Thames.  According to various signs around the ship, and the website, she played an important role in the Arctic during the war, most famously during the Battle of North Cape on December 25, 1943.  She also provided support during the D-Day invasion.  After the war she went on service to the Far East- Australia, China, Japan, etc...  until entering service in the Korean War in 1952 until 1952.  She was retired from service in 1963 after 11 years of peacekeeping services.

The ship itself is confusing, to me at least....  the map they give you isn't very detailed.  Devin went and disappeared into the depths of the ship to see the engine room, boiler, etc...  boring stuff in my opinion :)   I wandered around the inside decks where they had exhibits about daily ship life- the kitchen, the bunks, the dining areas, the dentist, the surgeon.... I wouldn't want to encounter those last two on any sort of waves...
We met back up and went above decks to the officers areas and the guns, the captain's chair, etc... .  All in all in was a pretty cool thing to see.  I'm not a Navy person, but I do like the history about it.

From there, since it was already around 2pm we had lunch at a restaurant just a short walk away from the Belfast.  I forget the name, but it was typical British pub food- although they were out of the Cottage Pie which Devin really wanted to try, but ended up with another specialty- Chicken and Mushroom pie!

We then went back up to Trafalgar Square to go to the National Gallery.  We didn't stay very long- it had been a long day with lots of walking, and we were getting up really early the next morning for Paris.  However, I discovered whilst there- that it now costs £1 for a map of the museum!  Not cool!  Getting back to LPH, we went out for dinner, to the Italian place, ASK, just around the corner.  And that was the last day in London!

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