Friday, August 7, 2009


So, just two weeks ago I was on a plane headed north... and with everything that's been going on here since I got back it actually seems like it was months ago! (I guess technically it was, since it was last month...).

If I've got the numbers right (and my memory isn't failing me) this was my 6th trip to England's capital city (not counting 4 more "travel throughs" for other destinations). Of those only 2 have been kind of touristy and lasted more than 2 days. They all took place when I was living in Belgium, just a train ride away from Waterloo Station. I miss the Eurostar, what a lovely way to travel! And I so enjoyed feeling my ears pop in the Chunnel... :p But as I was saying, I've only been a "tourist" in London a couple of times, so I really haven't seen all that much of the touristy stuff! I have incredible luck when it comes to the weather (seriously, 6 trips to London, 2 to Bangor, 1 to Inverness, 1 to Plymouth and 1 to Dublin... NEVER had to complain about the weather!), so quite a few of my visits have taken place principally out in the streets, parks and markets. Add to that my existential need to catch a movie (or two) in English and spend hours in bookstores looking for material... and well you get the point. So many things were left for "next time". Each visit a different part of the city: King James Park and surroundings, Kensington (loved the Natural History Museum!), Leicester Square-Charing Cross Road-Oxford Street, Markets, the Tower... In fact my previous visit (in September 2006) was a family trip and the only time I actually planned what I wanted to see (the Tower and neighbouring areas)!

So what was on the programme this time? Westminster and St Paul's if you please! I hadn't see either of them so I was planning on comparing religious architecture. Ended up not having time for St Paul's Cathedral, I guess I'll have to go back! My sister wanted us (a friend of hers was also visiting) to go up on the Eye (another thing I'd never done, seemed too "touristy" and now that I've paid the price, yes it's cool with great views, but not sure it's worth 17 quid!) so we did that and basically spent an afternoon in the surrounding area (as well as the evening, dinner and drinks with another friend) as well as the distance we walked from Charing Cross Road tube station to there.

Care to follow me on that walk?
Click on the photos for a bigger view.

We'll pass up the beginning (down Charing Cross Rd etc) and start with Trafalgar Square, totally packed (with protesters, revellers, tourists etc.) as usual (has anyone ever seen this place empty?).

Admiral Nelson doesn't seem to mind all the commotion:

As we head on down towards Westminster we come across this fellow:

guarding the entrance to his barracks (oops! forgot to jot down this name!)

Aha! My first look (after how many visits again?) at Big Ben!

Hmmm... for some reason they won't let us in to see the Prime Minister... and I so wanted to ask Hugh Grant for an autograph! :p

VoilĂ ! First destination of the day: Westminster!

This building is so gorgeous, I could take thousands of photos of all the little details...

here it is again seen from across the river

and when looking closely at a pic I took of my sister I discovered I had a unique auto-portrait!

walking along the South bank of the Thames

lovely afternoon!

aren't these lamposts awesome?! and very fishy! :p

back in the other direction... our main objective for the day, the London Eye! (great day for it too)

are we really getting up in one of those things?

what a view!

methinks that's Buckingham Palace in the back (click for bigger pic)

don't look down!

the Houses of Parliament seen from above... even cooler than below!

top of the world

heading back down

browsing for books while waiting for a friend

and catching an astonishing "urban dance" performance!

St Paul's Cathedral at dusk (after dinner in a delicious pizzeria)

after drinks... it got dark!

I love seeing monuments all lit up!

coming soon: more Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and a trip out of the city to visit the oldest town in England!


  1. Is it just a wide-angle lens, or do the Brits have their own leaning tower?

    Fabulous pics! Someday I will walk your path...

  2. Your photos are beautiful. I love the one you took of your sister - very artistic. One day I'll get there...

  3. ummm... that might be my not holding the camera perfectly straight? :p That clock tower definitely looked straight to me!

    Dive Girl... that's actually me you can see in the photo (holding the camera), I've cropped it and zoomed in on my sister's eye in the original photo (where she was her usually goofy self, I have many of those!)


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