The first city we visited was London, England - about an 8 hour flight from New York. After a short train ride, we checked into our first hotel, the Phoenix Hotel. It was lovely - tucked into the central area for the "tubes" (subway), we were able to get anywhere in London we wanted to go.

Our servers, Ellen and Amie, at the Rat and Parrot were wonderful - as was the food! Be sure to try the meat pie - a fabulous beef stew topped with the best mashed potatoes you have ever tasted! Everything was served with big smiles!


Tower of London
The Tower of London is the oldest combination fort, palace, and prison in Europe.
On the left you can see a sign post pointing to the Jewel House where the Crown Jewels are on display.
On the right is a picture of K&K with Amy and one of the Yeomen Warders, who are more commonly known as the Beefeater Guard

In 1905, Frederick Wells found a rough diamond in an African mine that was 3106 carats, or about 1 1/3 pounds! It was later named the Cullinan diamond. Eventually it was cut into 9 smaller pieces which were each cut and faceted. The largest, the Cullinan I, known as the Star of Africa, weighs 530.20 carats! Most of these diamonds were put into the Crown Jewels and are display in the Tower of London. We were not allowed to photograph them, but we encourage you to see some pictures and read about their amazing history at


The Yeoman Warders date back to 1485 when they were made King Henry VIII's bodyguard. The blue uniforms that they were now were designed in 1858.

No one really knows when or why the Yeomen Warders were nicknamed the Beefeaters, but there are a lot of guesses. One theory says that it might have been because the guards loved roast beef. Another theory says that it comes from the French word buffetier. A different story claims that the lower classes at the time used the beefeater as a type of insult. They may have thought of this guard unit as having everything, including beef for dinner, when they rarely got to eat any.



The Medieval Knight on a horse fully dressed in armor too. K&K crawled all over the glass to take a good look. That armor looked heavy and uncomfortable for both the horse and the man. But it also looked like a good idea if you were going to be fighting with swords!

The Tower Bridge was built over the Thames River between 1886 and 1894. It is 140 feet above the river!



Kini and Kimi were so excited to be at Stonehenge that they started to crawl under the ropes and run towards the ancient stone structure!  Bob and Amy had to jump in after them and carry them back!  For the rest of this tour, K&K were confined to hanging their little heads out of Bob and Amy's bookbags.

On the left is a picture of Bob using dowsing rods to feel Stonehenge's energy.

On the right is the "Heel Stone". Read more below. 

Many believe that Stonehenge was built on powerful energy lines that crisscross the world. These "lay-lines" are invisible to the eye, but many can feel them physically and spiritually.

Bob is loosely holding two metal "dowsing" rods in his hands so that they swing freely. As he approaches these energy lines, the rods cross; as he moves back, they uncross.

It was a powerful experience for Bob, Amy, and K&K. And, it is a powerful place. 

  The Heel Stone has a wonderful legend behind it. Supposedly, the Devil visited Stonehenge one day and saw a friar on the grounds. The Devil picked up this large stone and threw it at the friar. It hit him on the heel and left a mark - a footprint - on the stone. 

The story of what the Heel Stone means to Stonehenge is part of the information below.

About 5,500 years ago, Stonehenge was in the early stages of being built probably using wood. 4,000 years ago the Sarsen Stones (the BIG ones) were placed. By 1,500 BC, Stonehenge was complete and shortly thereafter, abandoned. By the time of Christ, the monument was ancient.

Amazingly, many of the vertical stones are 32 feet tall, with about 24 feet above ground and about 8 feet below ground. Of the 30 vertical Sarsen Stones, 17 still stand - each weighing about 25 tons. Many of the lintels, or top most, horizontal stones that once connected the whole group in a smooth continuous ring, have fallen with their supporting stones. The Sarsen Stones were actually placed in the ground with a slight tilt so that they would optically look straight while in the center of Stonehenge.

Although many people think that Stonehenge was built by Druids (the Druid people believe in natural energies and the spirit of the Earth), the monument dates to over 1,000 years earlier than the first reference to this philosophy / religion.

The Heel Stone, indeed, the entire structure, was built to predict and mark heavenly happenings on a regular calendar. In the 1960's, Gerald Hawkins used an early computer to give us the first evidence that Stonehenge was built to observe the movement of the sun, moon, and stars. Originally the Heel Stone was placed so that the mid-summer solstice would be over this large rock. Over the eons, the earth's axis has shifted, so the June 21st solstice is now slightly to one side. If you are around in 3,260, you will again see the Heel Stone and the summer solstice line up.



The Salisbury Cathedral

Just down the road from Stonehenge is the Salisbury Cathedral. Started in 1,220 AD, the original structure was completed only 38 years later in 1,258 AD.

Because of this short time frame the cathedral was built entirely in one style of architecture - unique in most of the world. Others took so long to build that they had significant changes in style and type.

About 70 years later, +/-1,320 AD, a 404 foot spire was added to the original structure. It weighed almost 6,400 lbs and was supported by the original 4 columns in the cathedral.

Over the last 1,680 some odd years, the four columns have felt the weight of the spire. Today, the 4 pillars lean 2.76 inches off true vertical. For hundreds of years masters have built ironwork structures within the spire to stabilize it.

Behind the beauty of the cathedral are the amazing details:
1) 2,700 years AFTER Stonehenge was abandoned, the cathedral was started!
2) Stonehenge buried their stones 8 feet, the cathedral's foundation is only 4 feet deep!

We also saw the Magna Carta in the cathedral's Chapter House!



On the left, is a picture of one of the staircases we walked up to get to the top of the spire. It was a 2 hour tour, consisting of 500 stairs. That was just to reach the top - then we got to do them again to get down!

On the right is a priest we met. He was a happy and wonderful man. He really liked K&K!



Still in Salisbury Cathedral...

On the left is Bob standing by the world's oldest working clock.

If you have been following K&K for all these years, you know that we light a candle in every cathedral for those that we have loved and lost, and for those we love and still have with us. We also light cooking fires, home candles, and sometimes just a match - to keep the memories alive.



Buckingham Palace

The palace is the home of the Queen. When she is there, they fly their flag. The palace has over 600 rooms!

Everyone talks about seeing the Changing of the Guard. We did see the guards (inside the red circles), but we did not get to see them do the change. It is a lot different going there now. There is a BIG metal fence all around the palace. You cannot get very close anymore which is sad - but then again, the Queen is much safer that way.



St. Paul's Cathedral

Just like most cathedrals, St. Paul's was built in the shape of a huge cross. It is 519 feet long and 249 feet across at the transepts. For 1,400 years people have come to this holy site, but the cathedral we see today was finally finished about 1710 AD.

We got to go up to the Whispering Gallery first (259 steps up) where the whispers of the people below become amplified or louder. Then we all went up another 119 steps to the Stone Gallery where the top of the cathedral's walls meet the start of the dome. Another 152 steps took us to the Golden Gallery which is the very top of the dome. We were looking down to the cathedral floor 280 below! Tourists are not allowed to go all the way to the top of the ball and lantern which is the top most spire on the dome - but if we had, we would have had to go another 75 feet up! It was enough for all of us to go up and then realize that we still had to get down those 530 narrow, spiraling steps!

K&K rode in Bob and Amy's backpacks - it would have been too far for two little lizards to crawl! They just loved peeking out and seeing everything. They were very disappointed that we were not allowed to take pictures inside.



Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey was founded in the 10th century and for 900 years the Kings and Queens of England have had their coronations here. Over 3,300 people are buried here including Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton and David Livingstone.

It is HUGE - 2,000 people can be seated for Sunday services! 8,200 came for one coronation!

Big Ben and a Bobby

A Bobby is a police officer in England. Bob popped K&K into this one's hands and snapped the picture.

You can see that he was more than a bit surprised!



Crossing the Streets

The British people drive on the opposite side of the street than Americans do. K&K got very confused when we had to cross the street. They never knew which way to look for the cars! But, the Brits are very resourceful and they wanted to remind the tourists to be very careful, so they painted reminders on many of the crosswalks.

It is hard to see, but the other side says "Look Right." That helped K&K a lot!



K&K Get Engaged!!

Our time in London was almost over when we stopped at a wonderful little pub called Young's. While Bob and Amy were at the bar ordering 2 pints and some water for K&K, Kini asked Kimi to marry him!

When we announced their engagement, the entire pub raised a glass and gave a toast to true love and happiness for our little lizards!


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