Saturday, 29 January 2011
Mike and I didn't have time for the bike ride, but we still had to have dinner, and so met up with Dave (from Bristol) for dinner at Yo Sushi! which is across from Harrods. At night they light the place up like Blackpool! They light up all the edges, so they outline the building. Harrods is beautiful during the day, and even better at night!
The newest thing since I was last in London is the Barclay's Cycle Hire - commonly known as the Boris Bikes. They are basically just a bunch of bike hire points throughout the centre of London, but they are all bright and blue and advertised by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. They are quite expensive I think, but very useful for short jaunts. I saw quite a lot of people out and about on them. I absolutely love them, and Mike and I had planned to take a trip on them (but ran out of time), so I settled for a photo on one. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!
We disembarked at the Tower of London, and because it is super money to get in, and we didn't really have time to visit all the exciting things within the tower, I made Mike let me visit just inside the gates so I could have a photo with a Beefeater. They are all ex military men (and one woman) who's job are to be the ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London's prisoners (which there aren't any of anymore) and of the Crown Jewels. I had a nice chat with the bloke, who said he came from Devon, while Mike snapped this photo.
It's a shame the sky is so grey in this photo and the last, but the weather really wasn't very good. The Tower Bridge is the most famous bridge in London, by far. It is currently in the process of being painted for the 2012 Olympics, which will be held here, so that it is nice and shiny when all the tourists come to visit!
The HMS Belfast is a massive Royal Navy ship which is in the process of being decommisioned (I think) and as such, is on display in the river Thames. I do think I remember hearing that it is also in the process of being prepared for being on display, and you can go explore all 9 of its floors and decks. Sounds fun, eh?
Along the river banks, is a quite unusual sight - a pirate ship! I have no clue while it is there, but it's been restored and is beautiful and colourful. It might be fun to visit it , but it did remind me a little bit of the S.S Great Britain in Bristol, so maybe it has a museum attached too?
When I first arrived in London on Friday, I had great intentions to go visit St Pauls and climb all those stairs to the top and watch the sun set. Instead I went to Westminster. So I was very glad to be able to see St Pauls from our position on the boat, and it gave me a great excuse to break out my telephoto lens! It is such a beautiful place, and towers above everything else in the area. It is also surrounded by cranes from all the building work that is happening in that area. I hope that next time we get to go visit it, but I have heard it's not fun to photograph the outside up close. The inside, however, sounds fab!
Mike and I really enjoyed the river cruise. The crew did some lovely commentary, and although it was cold, we sat at the top of the boat for the best view. It was a great way to see the things we hadn't been able to see on the river cruise - the OXO tower, the Gerkin, the Millenium bridge, the Globe, the Tower of London and lots of stuff. I really loved it! It is definitely something I would do again - even better in the summer!
Included in our bus tickets was a ticket for a river cruise. Mid January probably isn't the best time of year to be going out on the river, but it was going to be an adventure, so off we went. The pier for the boat is down by the London Eye, and while we waited (in the lovely warm waiting room) I snapped this photo from the other side of the eye. Mostly everyone gets one from the river bank across from the eye, or next to it, but this was an interesting perspective. I quite like it. It shows the inner working of the world's largest ferris wheel :)
This is one of Mike's artistic shots. He's always great at getting them. I swear, he just has the right frame of mind to get a great photo. I saw a red phone box, and like a tourist, needed my photo taken! I was trying to ring my Mummy at this point, on my iPhone, so it's a funny shot of me, in a public phone booth, not using the phone at all! It was really warm in the phone box too, which was a relief! But it did smell! :/ I love being touristy like this when Mike and I are out, he always takes photos of me when we are out! Makes me soooooooo happy!
Friday, 28 January 2011
Around the back of Westminster bridge and the houses of Parliament, is a lovely little park with a very strange thing. We aren't quite sure what it is, some art temple maybe, and it was surrounded by large stone figures of Asian men. I quite liked the colours, but it was very unique!
Everyone who comes to London gets a photo on the bridge, with Big Ben in the background. It is just the done thing. So of course, I had to have one. I quite like that the colour of my scarf matches the bridge! That is a very 'ME' thing! It was exceptionally windy, so we took these before getting out of the wind and wandering elsewhere for more photos.
Mike and I wandered along the road near the Houses of Parliament. The architecture really is beautiful, and like Bath Stone, comes up very white or very orange. I really like the figures carved into the stone above the doorways, and of course, the lampposts!
Thursday, 27 January 2011
I love these photos - I think they are really classic London. And for once, it was my idea for a shot that worked out! We walked along the street to Westminster station, and there is a really good shot of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliment. I had been there Friday, but Mike hadn't, so we had a good wander around, taking photos of the beautiful architecture.
Mike always has an eye for the pefect shot, and he got this amazing shot of the bus as he stepped onto the pavement. Needless to say, I wanted one just like it, and had to wait ages before another bus came along! The Centopath is the World War memorial, mainly seen on Armistace Day, so I was glad to get one when it wasn't surrounded by people.
Here is more of a bus tour collection - mainly of other busses! It was awfully cold and grey on Sunday - we had to stop and buy me more clothes I was so cold, but we did get to see all of the centre of London in a pretty short time. I love the busses in London, they generally are better than those in Bristol - and definitely more iconic!
The bus tour we went on was a hop on-hop off type of tour bus, and we had just gone past Libertys, when we spotted Hamleys. Mike really wanted to go in, so we had a stop by Libertys first so I could take some photos. It did involve us being in the middle of the road for the photos, which was slightly dangerous, but it's such a big building that you need to be farther away to get it all in the frame! Its a lovely, well kept black and white building, with shiny gold detail. I certainly never buy anything from there, but I do like the looks of it!
Mike is the loveliest man in the world, and on Saturday morning, we had waited at all the half price ticket offices in Leicester Square for tickets, and we got some to see the Queen Musical - We Will Rock You! We had 4th row seats, and it was amazing! We had such a blast, and I took a photo of the theatre outside afterwards.
I love the daily london photo blog, which can be found here: http://londondailyphoto.blogspot.com/ and when I was reading it before my trip to London, I saw this photo: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/__5EyI8Ck-Lw/TQ2t4ZwzpPI/AAAAAAAAbhs/u6auq5zf4Zo/s1600/S0186052.jpg which when I saw the same type of shop in Greenwich, I was super excited, and just had to take a photo of the colourful sweets in the window. We didn't stop long, and I didn't get a photo of the outside of the shop, but I sure do love these lollipops!
Another very predictable photo from me, or lampposts and gates at the entrance to Greenwich park. After we visited the meridian,the light died quite quickly, and it was a lovely dark blue clear sky to take a photo of the gates with the lamps on top. Predictable, I figure, but pretty :)
WIthin the Royal Observatory, is the Prime Meridian, which runs through the site. It's very exciting, but is esentially, a big line drawn onto the ground, so of course, we had our photos taken like all the other tourists. Apparently, quite soon, they will be charging people a tenner to stand on the line and take photos! Massive ripoff if you ask me! But worth the views across the park!
So the Royal Observatory is basically home to the Meridian line, a museum on time keeping, and a planetarium. It also has some things regarding past Astronomer Royals. They actually had a planetarium thing which was entitled 'What Astronomers do' voiced by David Tennant, my favourite Dr Who ever, but we didn't really have time. So we visited the clock museum, took some photos and wandered around. I got one of Mike, which is rare, as I am always having him taking photos of me!
Greenwich park is nothing like I expected, but lovely. I hadn't really thought it would be so nice. The colours were lovely, and I think my favourite shot the entire weekend is the one with the Royal Observatory sign. Situated right at the top of Greenwich park, on top of the hill,it the observatory, and it looked stunning in the sunshine! It was a serious hike to get up to the top - thank goodness we stopped and took photos often! About half way up, the sun was setting on Canary Wharf, and was glinting off the skyscrapers just right to make them super bright! I was thankful when we finally reached the top - the views were amazing!
Mike took a really long time getting out to Greenwich, where the Naval College was, so we decided to head over to the Maritime Museum, which was just across the street. We had a wander inside, took some photos outside, when Mike found us! I was so happy! I got to show him my new photography skills and my shots I had taken, which he approved of (or at least smiled at!)
After meeting up with Mike on the Friday, on the Saturday, we met up with his friend Chris, who was nice enough to take me to the Old Naval College while Mike went to look at some houses. He taught me all about how to use my camera (because I really don't know how) and I learnt not to use the green automatic mode! I took some photos which I hope were nice, I especially like the ones of the railings! Now the college is a museum, and people can come visit and learn about Naval History. I thought it was a lovely set of buildings, with a great view of Canary Wharf! Chris' blog can be found at : http://improbablytall.blogspot.com/
Here is my photo of Trafalger Square, taken from the balcony of the National Gallery. It took about 90 shots to get this, as I didn't have a tripod. The young guy next to me commented that his compact camera took a better shot in just one go, but I was quite pleased with this when I finally got it!
I'm not one to wander out on my own after dark, but because London is full of tourists, it is safe in the touristy spots. Trafalger square is full of people during the day, and on the corner sits the National Gallery. I have never been inside actually, but it's a very grand and imposing building, which looks even better at night!
I'm not quite sure what this building holds anymore, I doubt it is still a county hall, but underneath it is a Aquarium, which was super busy, and had people everywhere. I think the way it was lit up was fab too.I love all the flags in front of the roof, and I love the copper green roof!
Just past the lions, there is a walk along the river to the London Eye. It has an aquarium, shops, tourist stalls, and my favourite - a donut shop! I do love the lampposts, with the strings of light between them. I think they were super sparkly, and perfect! I had myself a donut and a sit and people watched for a while, while the sun set!
Just down the road from Big Ben, across Westminster bridge, is a lovely walk along the river Thames, and at the entrance, there are lovely, HUGE stone lions. They were teeming with tourists too, so I wandered around looking for a good spot for a photo. It took me forever to get to them, but I was glad to get a photo of them with the London Eye in the background.
Anyone that knows me, knows I'm not one to go out and about on my own. I arrived much earlier to London than Mike would (I was going down to visit him) and so I did a typical tourist thing, and checked in to my hotel, and took the tube to Westminster. Turns out, that's the time to go, as the place was teeeeeming with people, tourists and photographers alike. It was sunset, and everyone was out with their cameras! There was lots of tripods out too! I sure did like the light, and I must have spent about 45 minutes hanging out by Big Ben, taking photos, wandering around, listening to a bagpiper and watching people go by!