London and Beyond: 1997
City Visits
By staying in one location for almost the entire week, we were able to stay in apartments rather than in a hotel.  The Scala House fit our needs ideally.  The Palos family members serve as gracious hosts in this comfortable, affordable, and well-located apartment building near the Goodge Street Underground station in Central London.
London, a great city for walking and sightseeing, is a treat for the photographer.  The famous black taxis and double-decker buses are always handily supplied as props in many photos.  From the bridges along the Thames, familiar sights abound.  Parliament, Big Ben, and Westminster are among the favorites.
Tower Bridge, much more a symbol of London than the London Bridge (and often mistaken for it), is even prettier at night when the illumination produces false colors and eerie glows.  The Tower of London is always a favorite visit for tourists of all ages.  The relatively steep admission price and the often long lines are worth the effort.  Be sure to take one of the Beefeater's tours if at all possible.
Each time we visit London, we try to attend a church service at Westminster Abbey.  On this trip we were lucky enough to hear the boys choir perform.  Later in the week, we also attended Evensong at St. Paul's.  At that service, the visitors are invited to sit in the choir stalls directly across from the choir members themselves. 
After past visits, when we look back at the photos, we find that Nelson's Column always dominates any pictures we have at Trafalgar Square.  This time, we wanted to be sure to save some of the other "just-as-important" sights-- the National Gallery (a superb collection wonderfully displayed) and--shown here-- St. Martin's in the Fields.  One of my greatest regrets on this trip was passing up the concert at St. Martin's.
Souvenir shops along the Strand provide diversions for tourists as they move between Parliament and Trafalgar Square, sometimes pausing for photographs at the Horse Guards' Barracks whose horses and guards now seem much more decorative than protective.
On one episode of "The Simpsons," Lisa begs her parents to take her to the visiting exhibit of Egyptian artifacts at the Springfield Museum: "This may be the only time they're outside of England!" she explained.  Each time I see the Elgin Marbles, I'm reminded of this episode and wonder again whether I should sympathize with the Greek efforts to get them back.  But no matter what I decide about the issue of ownership, I'm still glad that they're here now and have been preserved and protected so I've had a chance to see them.
But I also get to see sights like this one and have to remind myself once again, "Don't take students to the museum on the day after an all-night flight!!"

Excursions I - Excursions II
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