Day 7 - London (continued)
We continued walking, past the
Victoria and Albert Museum (no time to go in):
Past the Natural History Museum
(again, no time to go in):
And finally to the
London Science Museum, which happily we did go into.
While everyone else rested, I rushed upstairs to see what I had dragged
everyone here for,
Charles Babbage's Difference Engine
[[I told you that you'd never guess -K].
It's an early mechanical computer, made entirely out of gears and
powered by a crank.
He designed this (and also his Analytical engine, which had many
features of modern computers) back in Victorian times, but
for various reasons they were never built. The difference engine shown
here was built from his original plans in the 1990s.
Unfortunately it is hard to make out because it is stored behind
They had many other related things, including (somewhat morbidly)
Babbage's brain in a jar:
They are building another copy of the machine, to send to a museum
in America [[Next time we won't have
to go to London to see it -K]:
Besides this, they had plenty of other interesting computer artifacts.
They had slide rules, a Pascal adder, Napier's bones (logarithms,
not his actual bones), and
a computer that approximated the national economy using water.
They also had a water fountain, the first one we saw on our entire trip!
Here is a Pegasus computer, which they claim is the last fully-operating
vacuum-tube ("valve" if you are British) based computer in the world:
Here is a PDP-8, the type of machine UNIX was first written on:
After I bored everyone with computer stuff, we moved on. We took
advantage of the beautiful weather by walking
along the Serpentine in Hyde Park.
Those tantalizing chairs you see had to be rented if you wanted
to sit on them; there was someone whose job was to spend the whole
day chasing non-paying tourists off of them.
We walked past the
Duke of York Column which looms over the Duke of York Steps:
We eventually arrived at Kristina's favorite place in London,
in Trafalgar Square:
That's the National Gallery
that you can see in the background.
Tradition is that you climb up and have your picture taken with the
lions on the column. I didn't do that, but Marie and Kristina did.
The others wandered off: Marie to meet a LOTR friend, and Kristina and
Jess to see Jane Austen's picture in the Portrait Gallery and to check
out Downing Street (where the Prime Minister Lives).
I waited in the shade of the column, looking
a bit tired from all the traveling:
After this it was back to the hostel, early for once. This was
our last full day in England...
Continue to the long journey home