For the sake of time and bandwidth, I have to split a post – which would normally be a single entry under normal circumstances – into many.
After a long solo trip through the Middle East and the Balkans, taking me to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Serbia, I finally began the third part of my world travel – I left Bulgaria for London to meet my friend Paul.
London…is a massive city. It makes the Chicago CTA look like a toy train set under the Christmas tree. The web of subways and trains snakes its way throughout Greater London. While the city itself lack an iconic skyline like New York or San Francisco, the city is littered with innumerable monuments, relics, and globally recognized buildings that all play a role in the British psyche.
Anyway, Paul and I flew into separate airports – Heathrow from Boston for him and Gatwick from Sofia, Bulgaria for me – but we managed to meet each other on the same Tube train to our hotel. We spent the day seeing some of the more famous London sites, like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. London is an incredibly dynamic city, a melting pot for the world. Women completely covered in the Islamic burka buy clothing from an Indian shopkeeper while chatting with a Singaporean businesswomen on the street. Every corner reminds you of this multiculturalism, whether it be a group of Chinese schoolchildren crossing an intersection or the United Bank of Qatar.
The pictures do a better job showing the day…
After checking in to our hotel, we explored nearby Hyde Park.
Making numerous comparisons to Hyde Park in Chicago...
Walking along the Princess Diana Memorial Walk through Hyde Park
The Serpentine - the main lake where you can swim and row boats - in Hyde Park
The Queen's birthday celebration!
I just liked this sign - Derby Street.
Lunch at a Turkish restaraunt called Sofa. I got the lunch special, 9 little dishes of their best items.
Cool gate. Walking from Hyde Park to Buckingham, or at least attempting to find our way...
The first view of Buckingham Palace
Me in front of the really ornate gate
Guards stand duty outside the Palace
Tourist mode again...in front of closed gates
View of the Palace with a gaitn fountain/statue in the foreground
View down the road from Buckingham Palace. Giant Union Jack's line the airy boulevard.
Neat view down the same street. Making our way to Big Ben and Parliament
Downing Street. The PM, newly-elected James Cameron, always lives at 10 Downing Street, one of the most famous addresses in the world. Naturally the road was closed and guarded.
Almost to Big Ben. Neat row houses are everywhere in London.
Silly American tourist. Parliament in the background.
Parliament and the Underground station
Big Ben + Parliament
Big Ben in the background framed by peace activists camping in a park in the foreground
First view of Westminster Abbey
Me in front of Westminster Abbey
Apparently we entered through the side entrance and missed the welcome sign...
There are many statues of Britain's past leaders throughout the city, including this one of Oliver Cromwell