A Viewaskew of London

London Travel Blog

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St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Trafalgar Square)

I woke up bright and shiny for the first real day of my trip. I had a vague set of plans for the day and got to it.

I started the day with a cup of tea and a terrible breakfast at the hostel, and then hit the road. Across the street from the hostel, they were renovating a building by gutting the interiior and rebuilding everything behind the original facade. I approve.

I'd decided to try a walking tour with NewEurope, specifically the Free London Tour. This is a 3 hour 'preview' tour give by the firm to advertise their other tours. The tour called for meeting at the Hyde Park tube station, and being paranoid of being late I arrived entirely too early. This paid off to my benefit, as not only was the park filled with numerous war memorials I never would have seen otherwse, but also got to see the horse guard go trotting by in advance of the upcoming changing of the guards.

The Canadian War Memorial (Green Park)
Slowly a crowd gathered until there were at least 120 people there for tours. Numbers were handed out, and we were divided into groups and assigned our guide ('Nick'). He quickly whisked us off on a tour around 'royal' London, which began with watching the changing of the guards. Having no interest in this, I snuck off on my own to visit the Canadian war memorial, which is in the park right next to the Palace. I then rejoined the group after they had finished watching the changing, and were moving off to look at a variety of different building related to the royal families, while listening to an enjoying and entertaining narrative on the history of the city and the royals.

I found that we were back in Traflgar Square, and I knew that something looked different but I couldn't put my finger on it until the guide pointed it out.

Crimian War Memorial
There are four plynths (pedestals for statues) in Trafalgar Square, but only three of them have statues. Apparently, the funds for the fourth ran out before it was finished. Ever since, the plynth for that statue has had different art installations there for varying lengths of time. During my trip was the last few days of an installation called 'One & Other'. Every hour of every day for 100 days a different person was on the plynth doing whatever they wanted to do, so long as it was safe and legal. During my few days in London, I saw a woman doing inetreprative dance, a man reading horrible poetry and a woman dressed in royal finery calmly knitting. There were appareently some really wacky things at times, but I didn't see them.

The tour came to end an on the steps of a building across from the Palace of Westminister and House of Lords, as the guide recounted the story of Guy Fawkes. There was then the option of going with the guide for a a meal and a drink at a restaurant that offered a small discount to people who had taken the tour. I went along, but didn't have anything to eat, unless you consider Guinness a food group. ;)

I had to dash though, as I had plans for that evening. I'd been planning this trip with a friend and we had gotten tickets to go and see written/director/actor/comedian/podcast mogul Kevin Smith do one of his talking shows at the O2. Being a long time fan of his, I'd been on his boards for ages and had made arrangemnts to meet a number of people from there. The place that had been chosen went by the name The Cutty Sark and was located along the south bank of the Thames in Greenwich.

End of the NewEurope tour
The folks I met were easy to get along with, which is not too hard to imagine given we all shared a similar sense of humour. It was at the pub, standing on the patio right next to the Thames listening to all of the British accents around me that I felt the wave of realization that I was in London. I started to grin like an idiot. I may very well have looked like that for the rest of the trip.

After a few drinks, we walked over to the O2, which was 2.5Km away. It certainly didn't feel like that far, but I was with good people having good fun and that can make otherwise longish walks seem much less so. We arrived at the venue and it as close enough to show trime that we decided to go in, so the group split up. I'd bought balcony seats, and that was somehow considered a mini-VIP section with a fancy lounge and reasonably priced bar.

Drinks on the Thames
Wet my whistle one more time and grabbed one to go, then went out to grab my seat.

The venue was nice, the show was good. The night was long. After the show, I had to leave immediately to catch the last bus to the last train to anywhere near where I was staying. I had one of the other people to travel with the first bit, but after he got off the train I had to rely on the adrenelane generated by my fear of falling asleep on the train and waking up somehwere lost. Highly effective. I reached the hostel and crashed.

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St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Trafalga…
St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Trafalg…
The Canadian War Memorial (Green P…
The Canadian War Memorial (Green …
Crimian War Memorial
Crimian War Memorial
End of the NewEurope tour
End of the NewEurope tour
Drinks on the Thames
Drinks on the Thames
Shiny happy people.
Shiny happy people.
Small turn out for the tour.
Small turn out for the tour.
London Sights & Attractions review
Entertaining and informative at a 'nice price'
This is a firm that offers both free introductory tours and more intimate pay tours. They also offer similar tours in 13 other European/World cities.… read entire review
London
photo by: ulysses