13-21 August, 2014

Base Court at Hampton Court.

London is a true city, full of culture, with people out and about in the streets until late at night. It is extremely cosmopolitan. I have never seen its like elsewhere. We saw many wonderful things.

Links to pages for specific places visited:

Kew Gardens and River Bus Along Thames

Tower of London and Other Area Sights

Hampton Court

British Museum and Bits of Westminster

Buckingham Palace and Natural History Museum


View of the Tower Bridge from River Bus.

Formal arrangements at Kew Gardens.

Waterloo Block at the Tower of London.

Eric's view of the Shard from Christopher Wren's Monument.

St. Paul's Cathedral, also by Christopher Wren.

Main entrance to Hampton Court Palace.

One of Henry VIII's tapestries.

William and Mary's gardens.

The Thames near Hampton Court.

Statue of Ramses II from British Museum.

Malawi mask.

Boyd's Brasserie, where we had tea.

Big Ben.

Westminster Abbey.

Buckingham Palace.

Flowers in Hyde Park.

Dinosaur in the main hall of the Natural History Museum.

Natural History Museum escalator.

Eric's picture of a malachite piano at Harrod's amazing department store.


This year's Hugo award. Photo by Eric.

The main reason for this whole trip was to come to LonCon3, the World Science Fiction Convention in London. It's not very exciting to people who don't go to these sorts of things, so I'll just say a few brief words for those who do. It wasn't my favorite WorldCon, but it wasn't my least favorite, either. Programming was generally very good, guests were good, and the program was not plagued by annoying last-minute schedule changes. A few things I wish were different: I wish there had been larger rooms for the author readings; it was hard to get into things. I wish the rules for signups for kaffeklatsches and such had been promulgated on the web site. I looked for them before the convention, and couldn't find them, and then missed out on things because I assumed they'd be the same as they were for Anticipation. I wish it had been easier to find the literary beers--that location got changed.

The Fan Village. Photo by Eric.

While the Fan Village was in some ways a great idea (especially with a bar in it), it meant that you couldn't host just a regular fan party. I missed the idea of regular fan parties. As for the Hugos, the Short Story and Novelette categories went to the works that I thought were best (The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere and The Lady Astronaut, respectively). I thought Six-Gun Snow White should really have carried the Novella category, but it went to Equoid, which was admittedly clever (although not as clever as Six-Gun Snow White). Best Novel went to Ancillary Justice, which I did not have the opportunity to read before the convention. I understand that it was very good.

Eric took my picture with our Canadian friends (right) and the infamous Jon Singer (center).

Eric had his picture taken with a cosmonaut.

Bridget from Los Angeles in costume. Photo by Eric.

We met an SCA knight from Drachenwald. He told us that his group had just had a fantastic event where they fought in a real castle. Meanwhile, he said, some 10,000 Americans had gathered in the Debatable Lands because they couldn't come to his group's event. Photo by Eric.

This Norwegian girl had had her picture taken for the Guardian in her costume. Photo by Eric.

This was also our first AirBnB experience. From what I can tell, AirBnB involves a lot of stairs. Our locations were very central and we liked saving money, but sometimes it would have been nice to have been able to seek advice from hotel staff.

You've always heard, "Mind the gap," as a London phrase, but unless you've been there, you probably don't understand why they make such a big deal out of it. Now I know. The gaps are huge, and often the train is several inches higher than the platform. We have no idea how anyone in a wheelchair can ride the Underground. It was terrible just riding the Underground with luggage.

This was hardly the worst gap we saw.

While it was nowhere near as exciting as Iceland, we did have a lovely visit to London. Of course, we could have spent much more time and seen many more things, but we definitely got a great taste of the delights. What an amazing city!

Last updated: 28/08/2014 by Eric and Beth Zuckerman