London and Paris
24 June 2002
Last week Michelle and I took something called a vacation[?]. What a novel experience. Here are some photos. It was lots of fun, but it is nice to be back at work.
This is a brief photographic log of a trip to London and Paris which Michelle and I took in June 2002. Since we were starting in Inverness, the Caledonian Sleeper was the most convenient way to get to London. It is a great way to travel, though it was difficult to sleep through the gymnastics at midnight when the train met and merged with two other sleepers from Aberdeen and Fort William.
Bletchley Park is a nice
day trip from London. Espionage, tanks, cryptography and electromechanical
computers. I even got a chance to pound away on a teletypewriter just like
the one I used to own. Below is some punch tape I kept as a souvenir.
Welcome to London
Not everyone is welcome.
Michelle scanning for 4000 year old typos in Egyptian Hieroglyphs at the British Museum. We found one.
Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No.2 at the Science Museum. This was the one thing that was on my 'must-see' list for this trip. Although we didn't get to see the engine demonstrated, we did get to talk at length with someone who was conducting some repairs on it.
This engine has the ability to solve any 7th order polynomial. It is tantalising to think about what might have happened if Babbage had launched a steam-powered information age a hundred years ago.
The Queen's Horse Guards on parade. What's with all the Canadian flags we kept running into? I thought we were in London...
Uh oh, hide the ammo. Michelle's found the anti-aircraft guns on the HMS Belfast.
Tower of London
The Tower of London has three features that really caught our attention:
Suddenly it got very, very dark...
...and when the sun reappeared, we'd passed through the Channel Tunnel and were in Paris.
What's with the aspect ratio of Paris buildings? I did not stretch this image at all; it looks far-fetched enough as it is.
Paris has a very heavy police presence. Officers in cars, on foot, on bicycles and on rollerblades.
Obligatory photograph of the Eiffel Tower.
On the right is a model of the tower I made last year out of clips and tuppence coins.
We travelled all the way from Scotland, and whom do we meet in front of Notre Dame Cathedral? Never trust a Scot with bagpipes.
The Louvre has an enormous amount on exhibit. But most of the tourists seem to skip everything in the museum so that they can see Venus de Milo or Mona Lisa (pictured) put a checkmark on their "been there -- seen that" list before moving on.
Fill 'er up
Here's an idiosyncrasy which I found interesting. Most of the world's gas/petrol stations are large drive-in affairs. Paris contains little curb-side establishments which take up no more space than a pair of parking spots. Why are gas/petrol stations in the rest of the world so large?