Monday, July 28, 2008

Flat Stanley Sees the San Francisco Giants!

Flat Stanley went to his first baseball game in San Francisco to see the Giants play. He had a great time, though he had trouble eating the hot dogs.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Flat Stanley in Sydney

Here Flat Stanley admires the view of Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, the two most famous structures in Australia.

Now he has returned home to London. But expect more adventures from Flat Stanley soon!

Flat Stanley at the Sydney Opera House

After finishing his business in Tokyo, Flat Stanley headed to Sydney, Australia. Sydney is not the capital of Australia, but it is the country's largest city.

Here he is standing in front of the Sydney Opera House, one of the most famous buildings in the world.

Flat Stanley Checks the Signs in Tokyo

Flat Stanley is checking the sign to cross the street in the posh Ginza shopping district. Luckily for him, it didn't matter that he couldn't read the sign because it was a national holiday and the street was closed to traffic and open to pedestrians. All he could afford there is some stationery and a small set of rubber stamps.

Flat Stanley Sees a (Japanese) Very Hungry Catapillar

While touring Tokyo, Flat Stanley was very happy to see an old friend: The Very Hungry Catapillar!

As it happens, there was exhibit of pictures by Eric Carle, the author of The Very Hungry Catapillar. We don't know if the catapillar tried sushi while he was there.

Flat Stanley in Tokyo

After Singapore, Flat Stanley got back on the plane (he's really piling up those frequent flier miles!) and went to Tokyo, Japan. When he got there, it was raining really hard, as you can see in these pictures.

Tokyo is the capital of Japan and more than 12 million people live there, making it a very crowded city, and the most populated city in the world.

Flat Stanley is in Harajuku, where Tokyo's young go to hang about and be cool. They didn't feel so cool in the rain.

Flat Stanley in Singapore

Flat Stanley is rested enough now to enjoy the sites of Singapore. Singapore is a beautiful, clean city. One of the reasons it is so clean is because chewing gum is banned there. It is also illegal to jaywalk, litter or even spit in the streets.

Flat Stanley by the Pool in Singapore

After his big day in London, Flat Stanley went back home and had some rest.

Then he thought maybe he needed some MORE rest after flying 6,750 miles from London to Singapore. Singapore is an island nation in Asia, at the tip of the Malay Peninsula.

Here he is, having a rest at the pool. You can tell how hot and humid it is in Singapore, because it made the camera lens so foggy!

Flat Stanley at the Bank of England

This is Flat Stanley in front of the Bank of England, which is like the U.S. Federal Reserve. (If you don’t know what that is, you might want to save it to learn in fourth grade.)

Flat Stanley at St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral is (in my opinion) the most stunning church in all of London. It serves as London's cathedral, and is also used for many important events, such as the funeral of Lord Nelson in 1806 and the former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965, as well as the ill-fated marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana Spencer in 1981.

Flat Stanley at the Royal Courts of Justice

Flat Stanley now is at the Royal Courts of Justice, which house the Court of Appeal for England and Wales, as well as the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. When lawyers argue cases here they must wear old-fashioned wigs and robes to appear in front of the judges, who wear the same thing.

Flat Stanley at Trafalgar Square

Flat Stanley now is at Trafalgar Square. The tall statue behind him is called "Nelson's Column" because the statue on top is of Lord Nelson, who won the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Nelson is protected by four lions at the base of his column.

Lots of times, Trafalgar Square is used for people to celebrate things. For example, people gather here every New Year’s Eve and when London was named the Olympic Host City for the 2012 Olympics, they had a big rally here.
The big building with the dome behind him is the National Gallery, which is filled with beautiful paintings. The church over his left shoulder is called St.Martin in the Field’s.

Flat Stanley at Hamley's Toy Store

No tour of London for a boy-- flat or otherwise-- would be complete without a stop at Hamleys Toy Store on Regent Street. It is one of the largest toy shops in the world! About 5 million people a year visit it. We explored all SEVEN floors of toys and had a great time. Here, we are in the stuffed animal section, where we could have brought this baby zebra home. We didn't.

Flat Stanley at Piccadilly Circus

Flat Stanley now is at Piccadilly Circus, which is most like Times Square in New York City. It is in the heart of London’s Theatre District (called the West End). The statue behind him is known as "Eros," the Greek God of love. The statue was erected in 1892.

The big advertisements for Coke, McDonald’s and Sanyo behind Stanley at Piccadilly Circus are significant, because it was here in Piccadilly Circus in the 1890s that London had its first illuminated advertisements. It’s a really neat place to see at night because it is so bright and colourful.

Flat Stanley on the Bus

Here’s Flat Stanley in front of a double-decker bus. This one is called a Routemaster, and it’s an old-fashioned one that is difficult to find these days. Most double-decker buses are now modern with doors that open and close. The great thing about this bus is you can hop on and off, which is why so many people love them.

Flat Stanley Makes a Call

Flat Stanley in front of a classic British red Phone Box!

Flat Stanley at the Hard Rock Cafe

We were very hungry (well, not Stanley: he doesn't have much of an appetite) after all that walking and taking pictures, so we took Flat Stanley to lunch at the Hard Rock CafĂ©. It’s a really fun restaurant, with lots of old guitars and rock star memorabilia. They also play really good music.

Flat Stanley at Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is where Queen Elizabeth II, our current monarch, lives. She has been queen since 1952. Buckingham Palace was built in 1705. The building has more than 600 rooms, including 19 State Rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms and 78 bathrooms. Buckingham Palace is used for state ceremonies, official entertaining and royal garden parties. More than 400 people work here, and more than 40,000 people are entertained here every year. The Queen has several other palaces and castles, including Windsor Castle (near Legoland) and Balmoral Castle, in Scotland.

These big gates keep the commoners (they're talking about us!) out.

Flat Stanley Getting Around

Flat Stanley is standing in front of the very busy Westminster Tube station. Big Ben is just across the street, on the left.

We didn’t take Stanley for a ride in one of London’s famous Black Cabs, but at least he got to see what they look like!

Flat Stanley at Big Ben

Flat Stanley now is standing across the street from Big Ben, one of the best-known buildings in London. Big Ben is actually the clock tower for the Houses of Parliament, the government headquarters (like the U.S. Capitol Building). Big Ben was built in 1858. It is 320 feet tall, and its dials are 23 feet in diameter, its hour hand is 9 feet long and the minute hand is 14 feet long.

When people think of London, they think of Big Ben.

Flat Stanley at the London Eye

This is Flat Stanley at the London Eye, the biggest Ferris wheel in Europe, and the third-tallest Ferris wheels in the world. It is also the fourth-tallest structure in London. At one time, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, but there are now bigger ones in Singapore and Nanchang.

The London Eye is 135 meters tall (or 64 red telephone boxes piled one on top of the other). It opened in 1999 and now is one of the most popular places to visit in London.

Flat Stanley at the Tate Modern

Flat Stanley now can see the Tate Modern, an art museum built in an old power station that opened in 2000.

The bridge over the Thames is officially known as the "Millennium Bridge" but unofficially known as "The Wobbly Bridge." This is because when it first opened in June 2000, it became so wobbly and unstable that they then had to close it for almost two years. It reopened in February 2002.

Flat Stanley at the Globe Theatre

Behind Flat Stanley you can see the Globe Theatre, a recreation of a theatre built in 1599 and where Shakespeare's plays were first performed. The first Globe Theatre was destroyed by fire in 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built, and that one closed in 1642. This recreation was finished in 1997, and is about 750 feet away from the site of the first theatre (so very close, but not exact).

However, they do try to make a play-watching experience as close to the original as possible: the seats are benches with no cushions, people (called groundlings) can stand in the yard for cheaper tickets, and the actors do not use microphones to speak their lines.

Flat Stanley at the HMS Belfast

Stanley can see the HMS Belfast, a World War II naval crusier that is now a floating museum on the Thames. It was launched in 1938 and remained in service until 1963. It weighs 11.5 tons and yet still floats!

Flat Stanley sees the Gherkin

Stanley can see the building nicknamed "The Gherkin," also designed by architect Sir Norman Foster. Gherkin is another word for pickle. Officially, the building is called "30 St Mary Axe" after the street that it's on. It took three years to build, and was finished in 2004.

Flat Stanley at the Tower of London

Flat Stanley can see the Tower of London behind him. The Tower is one of London’s most notorious and interesting sites, because they used to hang people there (they don’t anymore, obviously). It also holds the jewel collection for the Queen, including her crowns, which is called “The Crown Jewels.” The Tower of London was built during Medieval Times, at around 1066 by William the Conquerer. Other kings and queens have added things since then, including more palace rooms, a chapel, a prison and lots of other spaces. The Tower of London is very big, and soldiers called “Beefeaters” guard it. The soldiers are called “Beefeaters” because their job was so important that they always got beef to eat with their dinner, even wen it was very expensive or hard to find.

If you look closely at this next picture, you will see, “Entry to the Traitors Gate”. When a King or Queen thought someone had plotted against them, they were considered a traitor. They were brought through that gate and held in the prison while the ruler decided their fate. Some survived (like Queen Elizabeth I), but some did not (like many others).

Flat Stanley at London's City Hall

This unusual building is the City Hall for London. It was designed by architect Norman Foster and was opened in July 2002. Some people think it looks like Darth Vader's head, other people think it looks like a misshapen egg, and still others think it looks like a motorcycle helmet. What do you think it looks like?

It is a very beautiful building, though.

Flat Stanley at Tower Bridge

Stanley now can see Tower Bridge, the prettiest bridge in the city. “London Bridge,” famous for its song, is actually very plain and not at all interesting. Tower Bridge was opened in 1886. It is a double drawbridge (meaning it opens up) and is 800 feet long.

This is the London Bridge that people sing about:
See? Not very inspiring. What did I tell you?

Flat Stanley at Canary Wharf

Andrew & Stanley are standing in front of Canary Wharf, which is where the most modern buildings and skyscrapers in London can be found. It is the home of banks, newspapers and other industries.

Flat Stanley on the River Thames, Greenwich

Andrew and Stanley are on the river, waiting for our boat, in front of what was once a palace for King Charles II, and built in 1664 (more than 100 years before the American revolution). After it was a palace, it was turned into a Naval College to train Naval officers. In the late 1990s, the Naval College moved to the coast, and now it is the Trinity School of Music and the University of Greenwich.

They also do a lot of filming at the Old Royal Naval College, as its known. Parts of "The Golden Compass" were filmed here, and right now they're filming "The Wolf Man" which will be out next year.

Flat Stanley in Greenwich, London

We started our journey at our local train station in Greenwich. We had a busy day ahead of us, where we used (nearly) every transportation available in London: Underground, boat, walking, bus, and overground train. Stanley got to try a bit of each.