Ceramic Poppies commemorating WW1 and the "Year of the bus" sculpture trail

London Travel Blog

 › entry 2 of 8 › view all entries
"Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red": The sea of flowers was arranged to resemble a pool of blood which appeared to be pouring out of a bastion window (the "Weeping Window")

My first morning in London and off I was to a roaring start. After somewhat ok sleep, I woke up at 630a, waited for the usual 7a kitchen opening time (turns out it had opened earlier). My "breakfast buddy" for the day was a bloke from North England who gave me some rather interesting news - apparently the Holland Park YHA is closing soon!

In all my visits to the UK (EVEN in 2006 during the heat of the FIFA World Cup), I've never seen so much hype around one thing - the one thing being the poppies of the Tower of London. The broach (sold for a quid) is on everyone's lapels, jus amazing. As Earl's Court connects to the Tower stop, the station looked like the men's room during a half time at an NFL game.

My Kodak moment of the "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red"
What's worse - the Tower tube stop was shut down and folks were encouraged to go by bus or use other stops. Well, what was even worse was that the Picadilly Line was down so the Earl's Court station had to deal with the transit traffic as well. It was so bad that trains would arrive, no one had any room to alight or board, and the doors would just close! I waited and waited, ended up getting on the wrong Tube and then the wrong stop, it was all a mess but I finally found my way to the Central Line to the Monument stop.

Trust me to blog just about everything I did: I'm in Central touristy London, had to pee badly (winter + all that morning tea!) but literally almost every Pret-A-Manger I walked into didn't have any. I finally found a paid toilet by the Tower itself. Talk about wise use of money!

So finally, onto the Poppies! You can read more about the "Blood Swept Lands of Sea and Red" on the Wiki page.

Stats time, that's 888,246 ceramic red poppies, each intended to represent one British or Colonial serviceman killed in the War
It was about 10am but people were swarming all over to see it like the second coming of Christ. Infact, it has its own check-in on Facebook (along with the usual one for the Tower)!  I took pictures of the ceramic poppies (an hour's effort given the crowd, the sunshine, shade, etc.) before calling it good and moving on to the next agenda item of the day.

"Year of the Bus" sculpture trails: No other city uses buses the way London does. And, in TFL's own words - "It's been 60 years since the creation of the iconic Routemaster, 75 years since the launch of the RT-Type bus and 100 years since the world's first mass-produced motor bus, the B-Type 'Battle Bus' that carried soldiers to the frontline during the First World War". So what the TFL did was partner with "Wild in art" to install sculptures around three vital areas of London - the Thames ("River side"), Westminster and Queen Elizabeth Olympics Park.

Volunteers planting poppies
It's basically designed and coloured by British designers, and whilst the buses themselves don't have anything beyond that, it was a good way to walk around the popular sights of London in the name of a "bus hunt". Trust this town to make annivesaries fun! I picked the Riverside which took me from the Tower of London (where I already was) alongside the Thames till the HMS Belfast. And then, I crossed the bridge to my other favourite Borough St Market, and then alongside to Tate Modern and back across the bridge to St.Paul's. The map I downloaded from the TFL website was good, except around the Borough Street Market area where I had to hunt (which wasn't really a problem given how much I love, or love getting 'lost' there!).

Two exhibitions at the British Museum: I've visited the British Museum so many times and my feelings for it have ranged from "must check off the list" to "touristy" to "wow, this is pretty good sh*t!".

The legendary "Route Masters" by Edward Carvalho-Monaghan on Bankside, with fantastic views of the St.Paul's
What I've also done offlate is pick an exhibition or rooms to view than just randomly saunter around because a) it's not the place one could saunter around, it's like a fish market and b) it can get overwhelming trying to decide on the go because it's so rich. My homework suggested I visit two - one on Buddha and Buddhist beliefs in Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand and how they differ. The second was on witches and witchcraft through the centuries and the effect on popular culture. Both were ultra cool. The witchcraft exhibition spoke of how witches were associated with sex, and hence the flamboyant graphics with big bosoms and arse, etc.

Spent the rest of the day wandering around old favourites Oxford St. etc. It was a delight to see the Christmas lights.

"Spectrum" by Kristel Pillkahn near Borough Street Market
They make these parts look even posher! Caught the bus to Green Park and took a long walk down the tunnels to catch the Pic Line back to Earl's Court. Dinner was a veg burger at Nando's followed by some internet catching-up and bedtime at 1130p. Seriously, what a day! You'd think London would slow me down after so many visits but ermmmm.... no!

Vikram says:
Anytime May! I've helped plan ky friends' trips to London and they always joke that during the planning, I seemed more excited than them! Paul: yes, amazing st the count of people who died!
Posted on: Jan 23, 2015
cotton_foam says:
while I am reading this entry; I'm like...hmmmm...I know whom to ask about London and its nooks and crannies :))
Posted on: Jan 16, 2015
Paulovic says:
I remember I saw the flowers on the news! One for each WWI soldier from England that died during that war!
Posted on: Jan 15, 2015
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red…
"Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Re…
My Kodak moment of the Blood Swep…
My Kodak moment of the "Blood Swe…
Stats time, thats 888,246 ceramic…
Stats time, that's 888,246 cerami…
Volunteers planting poppies
Volunteers planting poppies
The legendary Route Masters by E…
The legendary "Route Masters" by …
Spectrum by Kristel Pillkahn nea…
"Spectrum" by Kristel Pillkahn ne…
All of the poppies were individual…
All of the poppies were individua…
One on of the sides of the tower, …
One on of the sides of the tower,…
The poppies surrounded the moat of…
The poppies surrounded the moat o…
On the brighter side
On the brighter side
Brilliant red!
Brilliant red!
My favourite shot of the entire lo…
My favourite shot of the entire l…
The mighty Tower Bridge amidst the…
The mighty Tower Bridge amidst th…
Facing the Thames
Facing the Thames
Another example of the poppies flo…
Another example of the poppies fl…
Dazzle Bus by Stephen McKay by t…
"Dazzle Bus" by Stephen McKay by …
The legendary Route Masters by E…
The legendary "Route Masters" by …
Orla Kiely by Sarah Janes Richar…
"Orla Kiely" by Sarah Janes Richa…
Brollybus by Jane Veveris Callen…
"Brollybus" by Jane Veveris Calle…
Punked by Valerie Osment by St. …
"Punked" by Valerie Osment by St.…
Punked by Valerie Osment by St. …
"Punked" by Valerie Osment by St.…
The very pleasing Push Once, a M…
The very pleasing "Push Once", a …
All Aboard the Number 8! Another…
"All Aboard the Number 8"! Anothe…
London
photo by: ulysses