Posts Tagged ‘Parliament’

Friday Photowalk With Ceres

Ceres, a good friend from college, is in town this week, and Friday afternoon, we had some time to hang out and go for a walk through the parks and to Horse Guards Parade, Parliament and Westminster Abbey. We took some fabulously campy, touristy photos, too. Yes, we were those people taking pictures with the Horse Guards. And Ceres garnered some hearty guffaws while taking a photo in a phone booth. I don’t know why the people were laughing so hard, though — the phone booths in Westminster are always full of tourists.

Cherry Blossoms at St James ParkHorse Guards Parade and St. James LakeHorse Guardphone boothParliament and Big Ben

More London Lights: View from the Golden Jubilee Bridge

We took a different bridge across the Thames home — the Golden Jubilee Bridge — which turned out to be a spectacular choice. Check out the view:

London

London Lights: Views from the London Eye

London Eye

When we got out of the Dali museum, we were essentially right at the entrance to the London Eye. We’d heard that the views are better at night, when the city is lit up. It also wasn’t very crowded. So we decided to seize the opportunity to take a ride. It costs 15 pounds for the half-hour ride, and the capsules, as they call them, are quite comfortable. They don’t overstuff them as you may expect, so there’s plenty of room to move about, check out the views from all angles and even sit down and relax for a while.

The views of Parliament are the best, though there are plenty of other recognizable sites, including St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern. Check it out:

London

London Eye

 

Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey

Parliament and Big Ben

ParliamentParliament

¬†We headed over to Parliament, just down the street from Horse Guards Parade, and stopped to take some photos. The building is very ominous and ornate — the kind of thing that makes it unsurprising that Harry Potter came from a Brit’s mind. And it couldn’t be more different from anything you’d ever find in Washington, DC. Big Ben and the Sovereign’s entrance — the other big tower — are the most impressive parts.

Westminster Abbey, which is just across the street, closes pretty early on Saturdays, so we weren’t able to go in, but the outside is a bit confusing. It’s so crowded with architectural supports, additions and multicolored stone bricks that it’s hard to see it as a cohesive building. I imagine I’ll be much more impressed when I get to go inside. We didn’t get any great phots of it, so that’ll have to wait.

After walking down the street side of Parliament we crossed the river and checked it out from its more iconic angle, which was quite nice (see the big photo above). And we braved the crowds of tourists at County Hall on the other side of the Thames and spent some time in The Dali Experience, which was an interesting exhibit, though it seemed a bit underfunded despite its relatively high entry cost and large museum store. The art itself, though, was expectedly surreal and bizarre and sparked lots of questions. There was also a small and less impressive Picasso exhibit in the basement of the museum.

A Run in St. James Park and Green Park

Horse Guards Parade and St. James LakeToday, I went for another run — this time in the other nearby parks, St. James Park and Green Park, which are adjacent to Buckingham Palace. I thought Hyde Park was great on my Saturday run, but St. James Park turned out to be a real treat.I entered Green Park off Piccadilly Street and jogged pretty close to straight through until I saw something interesting. There were fancy gates, a giant statue with the top figure in gold and lo and behold, Buckingham Palace itself, a rather unassuming and monochrome building, though it has a commanding presence. I almost forgot it was so close! I took a moment to gape, but jogged on, entering St. James Park at the top of its lake.

I jogged down the lake, watching the ducks, swans, geese and pigeons play on the grass and in the water that was flanked by delicate weeping willows blowing in the breeze. And I started to realize I could see just about every major London monument right from the center of the park.

I saw some of Parliament and Westminster Abbey off in the distance. I could see the London Eye as well, and there was a gorgeous view of the Horse Guards Parade, which is a much more fanciful building than the palace. I stopped for a moment to read a plaque about the Horse Guards Parade at the end of the lake, and continued back up its other side amid people feeding pigeons and squirrels out of their hands (I’m pretty sure they’re not allowed to do that, though).

Running in St. James ParkI stopped to check out the view from of the palace from the bridge over the lake, though once again I felt that the Horse Guards view was nicer, and jogged up to the palace and took a weaving way back through Green Park’s small, rolling hills, which make the park feel very private and quiet, despite its proximity to busy Piccadilly.

After I was done, I treated myself to some juice from Crussh on Curzon Street and relaxed in the juice bar/cafe while drawing a few memories from my run, including the view of the Horse Guards Parade from the bridge and my hat blowing off — that actually happened twice on the run, though it didn’t get too far away from me. I’ll post the sketches soon — probably tomorrow.

Update (1/18/08): Sorry for the delay in posting the images. Also, I’d like to note that the Horse Guards drawing was from memory and bears little resemblance to the actual building. Still thought you might enjoy, though.