We walked by the Royal Pavilion, a former royal palace located in central Brighton, but decided not to go in because palaces aren't Jonna's cup of tea
If you are 10 years old shopping at Oxford Street beats British Museum any day of the week
Emma has two nieces, Jonna and Julia, that we sometimes spoil a bit. Five years ago, when Jonna turned five, our birthday gift to her was a trip to Paris and EuroDisney
with her aunts, Anna and Emma, and uncle Ake. Last year, when Julia turned five, we went to France with her too
. This year Jonna turned 10 and we thought it was time to take her on another trip with aunts and uncle. This time we decided to visit London and Brighton. We were actually in UK
only a year ago. Then without Jonna and Anna. That’s when we realised that London really was the perfect place to take Emma’s nieces when they each turn ten.
The first day in UK we decided to leave London for the day and visit Brighton. We walked by the Royal Pavilion
, a former royal palace located in central Brighton, but decided not to go in. Jonna isn't a big fan of culture so a tour of the palace would likely have been a big waste of money. But then, we don't think many 10-year-olds are interested in history and
The amusement establishment Brighton Pier was more to Jonna's liking because there they have gambling arcades where she had lots of fun.
culture so we don't blame her. She is just like everybody else at that age.
However, the amusement establishment Brighton Pier
was more to Jonna's liking because there they have gambling arcades where Jonna had lots of fun. She didn't win anything, and that was a bit of a bummer. But she had lots of fun. On Brighton Pier Ake wanted to have a bit of fun too. He wanted to ride the Helter Skelter ride, made famous by the Beatles in the song with the same name. But Ake wasn't allowed to go for a ride in the Helter Skelter because of the weather. It was too windy this day so for safety reasons this attraction was shut down. He'll try again in 2017 when we will be back with Julia.
When Jonna, Anna and Emma were having fun in the gambling arcade Ake went off for some private sightseeing. He went to look for the remains of the The Royal Suspension Chain Pier
. The RSCP was the first amusement park pier built in Brighton. It was in service from 1823 to the 1880-ies or so when it fell in disuse partly from competition from the newer West Pier. When decisions later
"When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again"
were made to build a third pier, the Brighton Pier, that also meant the end to the RSCP. The remains were supposed to be dismantled and all traces were to be removed. But not everything was removed. Today still a few traces of the RSCP can be seen at low tide. That's what Ake went to look for. He didn't find it this but he will make a new try four years from now.
By the way, the remains of the second amusement park pier, the West Pier
, destroyed by fire in 2003, is more easily recognised as it forms a huge steel skeleton in the waters a hundred meters or so from the beach. Many people probably think the burnt out remains of the West Pier is an ugly eye-sore but we find it pretty cool.
In Brighton we also had a walk along Brighton beach and walked around the centre of town before we went back to London again.
The day after we went to Madame Tussauds. It could have been good fun to visit Madame Tussauds but unfortunately it wasn't. There were ridiculously many people there and that made the visit more scary than entertaining.
West Pier, destroyed by fire in 2003, is more easily recognised as it forms a huge steel skeleton in the waters a hundred meters or so from the beach.
Therefore we didn't linger for very long. We quickly walked through all the exhibits and then left the place.
After Madame Tussauds we walked around a bit. We went to Hyde Park, we saw Speakers Corner, walked over to Buckingham Palace and then finally we ended up in British Museum. The visit to British Museum among other things included the Rosetta Stone
and some mummies. The British Museum wasn't exactly Jonna's favourite part of the trip. But we had to include at least something that can be called fine arts or culture. Even if the young generation don't enjoy it today maybe if we let them visit a museum every now and then they might learn to appreciate it in the future.
In the evening this day we met our friends, Tom and Fay, and all six of us had dinner together. Jonna doesn't speak much English so she could not really talk with our friends. She said a few words and we also helped Jonna by translating a bit. But still Jonna really enjoyed meeting two locals. This prooves that it's not always the typical tourist sites that is the most rewarding experience when you are abroad.
Brighton clocktower, for some reason dressed in clothes
One of the larger and more important stations in the London Underground
is the Kings Cross St Pancras Underground station
. We brought Jonna there to let her have a look at the Platform 9 3/4. In the Harry Potter novels the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry travel from London to the school using the train Hogwarts Express which departures from Kings Cross station's Platform 9 3/4. That's a platform inaccessible for non-magic people, also known as mugglers. Access to the platform is though an invisible door in a wall. There doesn't exist any such platform of course. But as a joke they have put up a sign on a wall where it's written Platform 9 3/4 and they have put up a shopping cart to make it look like there is a Hogwarts student on his or her way to get onto the magic platform. You might think that only children have their photos taking here but it isn't. Out of each child there are probably 10 adults posing next to the shopping cart.
Twice Kings Cross Underground station have been the centre of media attention when tragic events have taken place there.
The most recent of these events happened on
Sign at Brighton train station
This sign is not politically correct, is it? Because we never saw any Father & Baby Room
7 July 2005 when four bombs were set off in London killing 52 innocent people. Three of the bombs were detonated on board trains in the London Underground, trains that had only minutes earlier left Kings Cross underground station, and the fourth was detonated on a bus. In Kings Cross station there is a commemorative plaque to remember the event and the people who lost their lives.
Another tragic event at Kings Cross St Pancras underground station took place on 18 November 1987. On that date a fire broke out in an escalator. The escalator was made from wood so there was enough burnable material in the escalator to keep the fire going. At first it was only a small fire but after it had burnt for only a few minutes it rapidly grew in size. The fire went from the size of a small campfire to resemble a gigantic roaring furnace in a matter of seconds. A total of 31 people died in this fire and in the underground station there is also a commemorative plaque to remember these victims.
If you like Ake are interested in unusual facts there are a few things worth mentioning about
The red phone booth is very much UK to us
One of the 31 victims remained unidentified for more than 16 years. Not until 2004 did they figure out who he was.
When they investigated the fire the various witness statements were contradicting each other. When they tried to make a timeline it seemed like one second there was a rather small, well contained and manageable fire and the next second there was a roaring inferno with huge flames reaching several meters into the ticket hall. As a part of the investigation they built a replica of the escalator in an abandoned mine shaft and set fire to it to see what happened. What they found was a previously unknown phenomenon, the so called trench effect. In a narrow slanting environment flames first are vertical, as expected, but when they reach a certain size they tilt and follow the slant. The second the fire, which at first only affected two or three steps in the escalator, reached the critical size it quickly set fire to two more steps. The increased fire now set fire to another five steps which set fire to eight more steps and within a few seconds the entire escalator was on fire
Outside 221B Baker street
At 221B Baker Street is where the fictinal character Sherlock Holmes lives and outside that address there is a Sherlock Holmes statue
resulting in a fire disaster.
During the investigation they soon realised that the wooden escalators weren't safe. In other similar escalators they discovered old fires that had lit up but had died down on their own. It was decided that all wooden escalators in London underground should be replaced with modern metal escalators. In 1990 the last but one of the wooden escalators had been removed. The very last one, in Greenford Station, was left for historical reasons and is still in use. Ake knows for sure that it's still in use because when Jonna, Anna and Emma went shopping in Oxford Street Ake went to Greenford and checked it out. Jonna may like shopping more than historical stuff but with Ake it is the other way around.
The last day in London we all went to Ripley's Believe it or not museum at Piccadilly Circus. Ripley's Believe it or not is an exhibition that centres around odd, unusual and/or bizarre things and people.
After the museum we went to the Ferris wheel, London Eye
, and went for a ride. From the top of the Ferris wheel we had a good view over several places of interest such
Jonna posing with ET at Madame Tussauds
as: Palace of Westminster
, the home of the British parliament, with Big Ben
on one end. The Shard
, the second highest freestanding structure in UK and also the highest building in the EU. Battersea Power Station
, very well known to Pink Floyd fans since it was featured on the cover of the album Animals.
This pretty much covers what we did when we took Jonna to UK as a 10 year birthday gift. We now have five years to figure out a good place to visit with Emma’s nieces when they each turn 15. Where on earth might a 15 year old girl want to go? If you have a good suggestion we would be happy if you let us know.
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