0472 Trying to explore all of London (GB 007—revisit)

London Travel Blog

 › entry 97 of 201 › view all entries

After two days in what feels like the Edge of the Free and Wild Lands, I return to the very heart of European arrogance and ambition… London.  One of the world’s greatest and grandest cities who has not forgotten that not long ago, she ruled half the world…

 

As an American I feel an obvious connection with this land.  After all, had we not been such treacherous traitors, the country would have ruled us for at least another century… And even though sometimes it seems that England now behaves as America’s puppy dog, we shouldn’t forget that much of our roots and identity can be traced to this country…

 

So I’m finally here to pay my respects to my Fatherland… the capital of possibly the greatest empire in the history of mankind

 

This is not my first visit here.

  I spent a day exploring London before catching an overnight bus to Dublin.  I had planned to hike all the way to the edge of the city and back, but found the city to be almost endless… and finally gave up and caught a bus the rest of the way. 

 

Indeed, London has taken the opposite approach to growth as Paris.  Paris proper has remained almost exactly the same size for about 150 years--  only the suburbs have multiplied and expanded… On the other hand, as the London metropolis has grown, new suburbs have been absorbed and become part of  “Greater London”, a single city that is simply enormous…

 

So I’m pretty much resigned to the idea, that no matter how much I explore here, it’s still only going to count as one city…

 

I head out of London’s Victoria Bus Station and out to the city… I decide to go ahead and get a bit of picture taking out of my way first so I head up to Buckingham Palace where I’m a bit peeved to see the guards wearing run of the mill uniforms, rather then those big black bush hats they usually wear…

 

I decide to go ahead and play my set right there in the park… So I pull out my guitar and sing for the suit and tie guys hurrying to their office jobs.

 

 

Around me, soldier in full gear and carrying rucksacks are running around the park… I wonder… don’t they have like an army base they can train at? They do look a bit out of place here…

 

I continue on to down to Big Ben and the magnificent British Parliament… then on up towards classy Trafalgar circle…


Suddenly, a sign reading “free entrance” catches my eye… It’s the London Art Museum… with one of the world’s top notch art collections… Of course I’m not going to pass up the chance to explore a free museums, so I for the next couple of hours I became an art enthusiast…

 

It was especially fun to see paintings of places I have visited--  like the famous painting of people swimming in Asnieres sur Seine, France… the very first town of this journey… or pictures from old Venice and Paris… which served as postcards back in the day to encourage tourism to those cities…


I head out back to Buckingham palace to see the changing of the guard… Don’t know that there’s really much to see… but it’s just something you’re supposed to see when you’re a tourist in London… yeah, whatever… It turns out that the “show” was cancelled today, so now I’m doubly annoyed.

 

I turn around and head back east to Picadilly Circus, London’s version of Times Square with major theatre shows going on all around… I was lucky and happened on a music video or commercial being filmed with a bunch of hot girls dancing right there in the square…

 

From there I continue on east, down along the Thames river… a popular jogging stretch.  I was pleased to see the high number of white and black fellows jogging together…

 

It’s a sunny day today… So when lunch hour arrives, a lot of office people come to have their cucumber sandwiches on the river…

 

Finally I reach my destination:  The Tower Bridge.

 

The bridge has been recently repainted a gaudy sky blue color--  but I’ll have to say, I kind of like it… a sort of mixture of the somber and the cheerful.  I cross the bridge, and take a guitar video clip right in the middle.

I figure I’ll explore the neighbourhood on the other side which quickly becomes just an ordinary, run of the mill neighbourhood with apartment buildings and your regular everyday shops… There is a pleasant open plaza/shopping area right near the bridge…

 

The day is quickly slipping away from me.  I’d like to keep going, but I need enough time to get back to the station.  So I head back across the bridge, wander around the castle and down the narrow streets of the main business district… past St Paul’s Cathedral…

Perhaps my coolest unexpected surprise is the Royal Court of Justice, which looks like a massive cathedral/castle--  I don’t know what, but it’s beautiful! Because it’s on a narrow street, you really can’t get a good single photo of the whole building… a real masterpiece…

 

Back at Trafalgar Square, I decide to take one more clip… and am soon stopped by one of England’s famously friendly policemen.

  Once I explain that I’m not busking, I’m just taking a video clip of myself, he apologizes profusely and promptly offers to take the video clip for me! 

 

And so I head on back to the station and off to Ireland

 

On my way back…

 

On my way back from Ireland, I have another full day in London before catching a bus back to Mainland Europe.  I figure I’ve taken pictures of all the main London landmarks… but I feel I’ve only started to discover the city… So I decide to head in a straight line and see what I find… Maybe, just maybe I’ll reach the edge of the city…

 

So I head Southwest, through the upscale neighborhoods of Westminster with beautiful identical rows of white houses and a little park on almost every block…

 

Then on past the world famous Harrod’s shopping center… past the grand Natural History Museum

 

I continue on… through neighbourhood after neighbourhood, each with it’s town center, each with it’s own character, it’s shopping district, its Cathedral and park… some scruffier some fancier… all with something to interesting and unique… Until finally give up on reaching the edge of the city, and head south across the Thames, where an amateur boat race is under full swing…

 

…And on back towards central London through another set on neighborhoods…

 

I could spend months exploring this city…

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
London
photo by: ulysses