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Monday, July 06, 2009

CRUISING DOWN THE RIVER: Part #1

CRUISING DOWN THE THAMES
May 27, 2009

"Cruisin' down the river...on a Wednesday afternoon..."
We decided it would be fun to see London from the River Thames, so we caught a boat that was going all the way down as far as Hampton Court Palace. They are celebrating the 500th year of Henry VIII's ascension to the throne so there are a lot of reenactments happening around London, mainly at Hampton Court, Henry Tudor's old palace where a lot of things happened, including his wedding to his sixth wife, Kateryn Parr.

It was a nice relaxing cruise, a chance to rest our feet from all the previous two-day's walking tours. We sat back and enjoyed the slow journey and all the scenery as it slipped by. Little did we realize when we set out just how long the journey would take, what with waiting to pass through the locks and all. I suppose in Henry's day it must have taken a couple of days to get into London, docking at the Tower.


GOING THROUGH THE LOCKS

About four hours after leaving London's docks we pulled into the dock at Hampton Court.
It was by then late in the afternoon and unfortunately, we'd miss the wedding reenactment and some of the other events. We didn't even get to 'see' old Henry wandering around the palace halls. The wedding celebrations included a lot of events including helping Kateryn choose her wedding dress and joining Henry to celebrate his last hours as a single man. (Now that would have been quite the party!)

We did have time to almost get lost in the famous maze, part of the gardens, and a tour around the palace itself.

There are actually two parts to the palace: The Tudor part of Henry VIII and the newer, beautiful baroque palace of William III and Mary II. In Part II of this River Cruise (Henry's Haunts) I'll describe what we saw with some photos of the awesome interiors both Tudor and baroque.

It was quite a day! After our palace tour we had dinner in a very nice little pub in Hampton Court village, then took the train back to London.


HAMPTON COURT PALACE

WAITING TO SEE HENRY


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