Lodontown Days 2 and 3
Trip Start Apr 01, 2009
70Trip End Jul 13, 2009
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Today, I visited the magnificent British Museum, attended a brief service at St. Paul's Cathedral, strolled across the Millennium Bridge, visited the Tate Modern Art Musuem and ate fish and chips for dinner at great restaurant in SOHO.
The British Museum is one of the most spectacular museums I have ever visited. The museum houses such artifacts as the Rosetta Stone, part of the facade of the Parthenon, and a huge bust of Rameses II to name just a few. The museum is so large that it took me over 3 hours to find just the 33 or so highlights of the museum.
From the British Museum I took the tube to the spectacular St. Paul's Cathedral. I followed the advice of one of my guide books and arrived at the church around 4:45PM to gain free admission for the evening service. It was an amazing experience to enjoy the stunningly beautiful and massive dome of St. Paul's with the choir singing in the background.
After admiring St. Paul's, I strolled across the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern Art Museum. The museum is a converted power station that sits on the banks of the Thames River. The musuem's permanent collection houses great works from Dali, Cezanne, Miro, Picasso, Pollack, Rothko and many many more. The one piece that stood out to me the most was Paul Klee's Walpuris Night.
After the museum, I went back to the hostel for a quick shower and hit the town to find some food. I didn't realize that London's night life begins early and ends early. Most bars and restaurants close around midnight, so when I went to SOHO around 9PM the place was absolutely slammed packed with Friday evening partygoers. I found a small restaurant where I order fried brie, which was excellent, and fish and chips, which was a piece of seasoned and fried cod served with french fries. The fish and chips were good, but am still not sure what all the hype is about.
After dinner, I went back to the hostel and had a few local ales at the Chapel Pub and then sacked out for a good nights sleep.
The next morning, I woke up and grabbed a quick breakfast at the hostel. I had to change rooms, which was kind of a pain, but it turned out to make my day. The weather was about 75 degrees with not a cloud in the sky. I met a biologist from Barcelona who was headed to the Portobello Market in the Nottinghill section of London and I decided to tag along. Nottinghill reminds me a lot of San Francisco and is the most beautiful neighborhood that I have visited in London. The market was absolutely amazing! The market was roughly 3 miles long and was slammed packed with merchants, small food stands, and street performers. Anything and everything could be found in the market, including a lion skin and python skin, which were quickly hidden away when the Police strolled through the area. If I could recommend something in London that should NOT be missed, it would, with out a doubt, be the Portobello Market!
After weaving through the market, we made our way to the London Bridge and Tower Bridge area. We walked past the Bank of England and the NYSE Euronext Exchange and got a quick summery of the G-20 protests from a passer by. He told us that the protests were not as bad as the media portrayed and that only a small group of people were really out of control.
We then strolled along the banks of the River Thames, past the Tower of London and stopped off for a few beers at a pub. After getting our fill of English ales and soaking up the rare London sun, we breezed across the Tower Bridge for a good photo opportunity.
We then took the tube station to Westminster where we admired Big Ben and the London Eye as the sun was starting to set. We then decided to find 10 Downing Street and possibly get a quick glimps of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. We stopped a guy coming out of a pub and asked him for directions. It turns out that the gentlemen who we stopped worked for the British Ministry of Defense and was headed back to his office, which was right across from 10 Downing Street. 10 Downing Street is nothing like I expected. The street is actually tucked far behind thick iron gates and row of heavily armed guards. One guard told me that visitors used to be able to get very close to the residence, but that has changed since 911.
My friend from Barcelona had to leave to meet up with a friend from London, so I decided to check out Buckingham Palace at night. I walked down St. James's Park and snapped a few pictures. I then grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed back to the hostel for a good nights sleep before heading off to Paris in the morning.
I have had an absolute amazing time in London. The city is stunningly beautiful and the Londoners and the British in general are overwhelmingly friendly. London is a city that I would not hesitate to visit again!
Oh, by the way, I am writing this on the Eurostar going roughly 300 kmph or 183 mph under the English Channel on my way to Paris!
More to come!