As part of my plan to fully enjoy the week off I have between my old job and my new job, I went to London today. I get very, very excited about going to London. I can count the number of times I've been there on both hands, which means I still enjoy doing things like riding the underground trains, and gawping at all the touristy spots. Jamie, and most of my friends, have spent a lot more time in London than I have (cos, you know, they live there, or work there, or have done in the past). So nobody else really shared my enthusiasm for the day I had planned!
|Buckingham Palace, where the Queen lives.|
My side trip to Buckingham Palace wasn't originally part of the plan, but when I discovered its proximity to where I was meeting my friend for lunch, I knew I had to wander over and take a peek. Then I realised how close I was to Westminster, where I needed to be, and decided to abandon my original plan of tubing over to Waterloo in favour of walking through St James Park. I am glad I did, because I had the most amazing experience ever while I was there.
|Squirrels are everywhere in the park, and they are not at all afraid of people.|
The squirrels were bouncing about the place, digging up food. I was enjoying myself, laughing at their antics and trying to take photos, when I spotted one little fella perched on the railings watching me rather intently. As I approached, he jumped from the fence into a deep pile of autumn leaves, which then flew everywhere as he bounded out of them and came to a stop right at my feet. I bent over to say hello, and he climbed up my leg! I was very sorry not to have any food to give him, because he soon gave up on me and ran off. But there was a squirrel! Climbing up my leg!
|Obligatory shot of the Palace of Westminster, complete with the clock tower|
One of these days I am going to arrange to go on another tour of the Houses of Parliament. I did it once when I was on a school trip and it was really interesting. We even did the climb up the clock tower, and stood at the top, close enough to touch Big Ben, when it chimed 11am. I'd love to do that again.
|London Aquarium. Target one on my "fun things to do" list for the day|
The aquarium was great. The main issue I have with them, is that all the Sea Life centres kind of look the same. Once you've been to one, you've pretty much been to them all. London's main attraction is now apparently the penguins, although I have to say of all the displays that was the most disappointing. Far more exciting was the huge tank full of sharks (which moved too fast to photograph!) and the huge tank full of rays and turtles, complete with underwater walkthrough tunnel. I took a video of that tank (which you can view here), because again, everything was moving too quickly to photograph properly.
|The London Eye. Target two on the list|
I've wanted to go on the London Eye ever since it was first built. Twice, I have stood beneath it and not bee able to go on. The first time was not long after it opened; I'd gone to London with my Mum, and she refused to pay the extortionate ticket price for us to go on (I think she'd been too shocked by the £7 cinema tickets when we went to the Odeon on Leicester Square). The second time was a couple of years ago, when Jamie and I were in London to visit the Imperial War Museum. Then, we simply couldn't afford the exorbitant ticket prices, and didn't really have the time either.
Not so this time, for I was armed with a two-for-one voucher, which made it rather more affordable.
|The view across the Thames towards Embankment station|
It was a very odd experience. You don't really notice the wheel move, and then all of a sudden you realise you are extremely high up. It had started to rain, so our views of the entire city were clouded by the weather somewhat, but it was still fantastic to see the city all lit up. You can see so many landmarks. Buckingham Palace looked tiny from the top, especially compared to the (much closer) Palace of Westminster. St Pauls Cathedral looked particularly cool. And as we descended, Battersea Power Station rose out of the darkness, but as it's not lit it doesn't show up in any of the photos!
|Proof that I was on the Eye, in case you thought I was making it up|
Full set of photos on Flickr.