Chapter 2: London calling
London was not part of the original plan. After a week in Paris that was filled with a lot of walking, eating, marveling, and making of new friends, it was time to move on and I had my sites set on San Sebastian, Spain. Well, I picked the wrong day to try and travel down to the Northwest tip of Spain; there were no trains heading that way anytime soon. This was because my departure date was the day after Easter and in true European form, everyone was on Holiday and in transit. As it would turn out, my friend Rebecca (pictured below) from Seattle was visiting Paris that weekend and we were trying to meet up. I was faced with the task of having to figure out my next move now that San Seb was no longer an option. To which Rebecca replied, "come up to London, you can stay with us!" Rebecca had moved to London about a year or so prior with her boyfriend Gilad, and they have the most charming flat right by Kings Cross Station. Who was I to say no to that offer? So I managed to buy the very last ticket available on the high speed train north that takes you through the English Channel. I spent 4 nights in London either eating at one of the incredible restaurants that Rebecca and Gilad took me to, or staying in at their flat and indulging in Rebecca's cookery:) During the days I wondered for hours with my camera. A big HUGE thanks again to Rebecca and Gilad, my incredibly gracious and London-loving hosts!
Look kids, it's Big Ben! The nickname given to the great bell of the clock tower at the North end of the Palace of Westminster (aka, Houses of Parliament). Completed in 1858, this tower is one of the most prominent symbols of the UK.
Houses of Parliament and the River Thames. Flowing through Southern England, the River Thames is the longest river entirely in England (215 miles) and the second longest in the UK.
The London Eye, a giant ferris wheel on the South bank of the River Thames. This wheel (erected in 1999) is 443ft tall and has a diameter of 394ft.
Regent's Park, one of the Royal Parks of London, and Hyde Park - one of the largest Parks in London and also one of the Royal Parks.
Buckingham Palace, the principal workplace of the monarchy of the United Kingdom. After several transformations, it finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.
The Queen's swans.
People often think that Tower Bridge (below) is the famous London Bridge (above). I think it has something to do with the song we all sang as children while joining hands and in doing so, creating the shape of Tower Bridge. The nursery rhyme is actually about the history of the many bridges that were built in London, what they were built of, and damages they suffered by Viking invasion, fire, etc.
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