25.01.2008 - 01.02.2008
Well I've hit London and it's terribly cold. It doesn't seem much colder than Paris or Amsterdam but your extremities feel it a lot more.
I arrived here last Friday and did a bit of shopping along Oxford Street before catching up with Euan, an old school friend from my time in Canberra. We didn't do much that night, deciding to stay in.
The next day we got up quite early and walked along the Thames past the London Eye, meeting up with a mate of his. It was quite good just walking around taking in the city and the Thames. That night we went to a house leaving party of one of Euan's friends in what I found out once I got off the tube was a dodgy area of town called Mile End. We stayed until around 2am before heading off to this great but overly crowded Jazz Club, catching up with Euan's girlfriend and making it home around 5am.
Getting home late we didn't wake up until early afternoon and although we planned to go to the pub with one of Euan's mate's to watch the Spurs v Man U FA Cup match, it wasn't going to happen. Instead I watched it at home. Later on we met up with Euan's mate who we were supposed to catch up with earlier and went to a great Pakistani restaurant followed by a few brews afterwards.
On Monday I had a client meeting I had to go to so didn't get to do too much but yesterday I went to the Tate Modern. A fantastic museum which used to be a mill of sorts (from memory). I walked around looking at abstract expressionist, cubist and all sorts of modern art before making my way back past the London Eye to another Dali exhibition. Unfortunately, it was a lot of what I'd already seen in the exhibition in Paris but it was good nonetheless.
I then headed across past Parliament House and Big Ben to Westminster Abbey. Dad, you will love Westminster Abbey, it's an amazing building. Walking around looking at monuments to past kings and queens including the likes of Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, Richard II and St Edward the Confessor who funded the Abbey. The chair that all kings and queens of England have been crowned on since the 11th century is also on display. You then walk to the Nave which is the main entrance to the Abbey (that which you see on TV) and walk right up, past where the choir is seated and where all royal ceremonies i.e. weddings, funerals and crownings takes place. In all, I probably spent about two hours just wondering around.
I then headed up to Trafalgar Square, in front of the British Museum which unfortunatley wasn't full of birds as apparently they were getting tired of all the bird shit. After spending about 20 minutes there I headed up to Picadilly Circus, what you could probably call London's answer to Time Square with massive neon billboards lighting up the entire area.
I then caught up with Euan and went to a Championship match (one below the Premier League) and watch Charlton at home to Stoke. Stoke being in Staffordshire, I should've really gone for them but with the way English football is I wasn't going to do that. It was a fantastic experience as the pitch is obviously played on a proper football pitch rather than a converted football/cricket ground. The atmosphere was amazing and the game good to watch, with Charlton scoring a goal late in the match. We then headed home which was good after an eventful day.
Today I got out of bed quite late so I made my way to Buckingham Palace and took some tourist shots. Unfortunately I missed the changing of the guard but I've heard it's not that great anyway. I then headed up The Mall, London's answer to de Champs-Elysees through the admiralty arch, past Trafalgar Square again and got on the tube to the Tower of London. I called talk about the Tower of London for ages, but I won't. Needless to say it was an awesome experience, it being the house of kings and queens since the 11the century and built on an old roman fort. It has seen the execution of several queens (including two of Henry VIII) and countless others. It is also the home of the Beefeaters, with 35 of them and their families actually living there. It is also the home of numerous crown jewels including the main ones.
I would write more but I'm already late to catch up with Euan. We're heading off to Camden for dinner and to maybe watch a couple of bands. I'm not sure if I'll write another blog before I go but I have to say I really like London and am looking forward to my last three days here.
NB: Unfortunately it looks like my photo quota limit on this site has run out so I can't upload any pics but for those on Facebook you'll be able to have a look
See everyone see