19.08.2007 20 °C
Written on August 19... (actually, started then, but finished on Sept 11 !!!)
I’ve already been back home for over a week, but though I should really end this thing somewhat properly.
On my last day in London, I tremendously enjoyed a free walking tour, with a "oh, so" knowledgeable (and cute to boot) guide. What was supposed to take a little over 3 hours ended-up taking almost 5!! hehehe, but the tour was filled with anecdotes, and bits of history. I'll see what I remember from the pics I took (baaad me, should have done this much earlier!!)-End of section written on August 19...
I really should have done this MUCH MUCH earlier, hehehe, but I just couldn't be bothered. The exercise of writing this blog was further delayed by the fact that, on Aug 19, I processed some of my London pics (to reduce the resolution for ease of upload on this site), and DELETED!!! the ones left (in high resolution) on the memory card!!! I thought I had transferred them to my PC, but hadn't! F'in great!! I was so pissed that I put everything aside until further notice (aka: today). The worst part is that I emptied the memory card to have more space for a wedding I was going to on the weekend of Sept 1, BUT I FORGOT MY CAMERA at home !!!!!!! AND THEREFORE DIDN'T END-UP TAKING A SINGLE PIC!!! What a massive waste of time and energy and great way to raise the blood pressure!! Anyway, I then moved to Mtl, and school started, so my time has been spent reading...and reading some more! I'm now mostly caught-up (actually procrastinating a little, but I have a class in 1:30 hour, so doing this entry is a great way to relax the little grey matter a little.)
Back to beautiful London, ....the pics you'll see are all the ones I have left from this leg of my trip! arrgghhh!
I'll try to go in order of the tour.
This is "The Monument", which was built to remember the great fire that almost completely burned London in...a long time ago. It is, however, thanks to this fire that the plague was eradicated in London! A bit of history: back then, all the building were made of wood. When the plague hit (fact then unknown: caused and spread by rats), the great men of the time tried to figure out how to stop it. They started by killing all the cats (!), then the dogs, then the Catholics (hehehe), but none of it worked. The population was dying faster than I can type this and, unfortunately, or fortunately, one night, a baker didn't extinguish the fire of his oven properly and started a fire which spread through all of London, thanks to joined wood walls. In the process, it killed rats and population, thus marking the end of the great plague!
We then visited the London bridge, which I didn't take a pic of because it's a very simple boring concrete bridge. It's well known because it was the first bridge in London (originally built of wood, burned, rebuilt of wood, burned again, then built of rocks of some sort).
It did however provide a good vantage point of the well known Tower bridge
We then visited St-Paul's Cathedral, which is one of the very few monuments that wasn't destroyed in either World War, despite it's location on a hill, and it's impressive height. Of course, some thank a Divine intervention, but others remark that at the time of these wars, plane radar and visual indications weren't exactly as they are today, so pilots needed to keep landmarks as to know where they were and where to drop bombs....
We then went to the Millennium bridge. Designed by a Sir "something", big local name who has also designed several other landmarks of London. Anyway, he was asked to design this bridge for, you've guessed it: year 2000. The budget was 10M pounds. Anyway, as with many projects, it went like 2.5times over budget, and on January 1st, all the media was there, and several hundred people were waiting to be the first to walk on this wonderful new bridge. As they got on, and got further toward the middle, the bridge started to sway quite a bit and people started to get sick, so the media, instead of getting shots of wonderful happy people on a wonderful bridge, got pics of people pucking from each side!!! hehehe HAHAHAH!!!The architect in question ended-up saying that the problem was not his design, the problem was “how the people of London walk”!?!?! He didn't exactly make friends with that one, and another few million pounds were spent to fix the bridge. It's now called "wobbly bridge" by locals! hehehe
We then went to Covent Garden. A market that it for tourists (undeniably), but nevertheless fun to see. It has some historical relevance that I don't remember. I had a Cornish pastry (typical traditional meal for miners) which was quite good. It's essentially a layer of dough filled with (traditionally) beef, but (today, almost anything you can think of) and folded over to make a little pocket of food in dough, with a bit of dough folded together to hold-on so that the miners could eat it with their dirty hands. I had a veggie one and it was very good!!
The famous Big Ben. Quite nice indeed, and tall. Apparently 2 double-decker busses can fit (height-wise) in that clock! wooo! It is the most precise analogye clock around...apparently.
Now, it's important to mention that the entry fee for each of these monuments/buildings was AT LEAST 10pounds!!!! No need to say that I didn't visit any. Crazy!!!
I don't know the exact name of this park, but I call it Protest park. It's located in front of the Parliament (attached to Big Ben). The story is: People went there to protest..I believe the Vietnam war... and set up camps and stuff. At some point, the city made it illegal to set-up camp there, but didn't make it retroactive, so the people already there could stay. The result it that they never left (I suspect there were shifts and rotations of people, but nevertheless). There is actually 1 man who's made it his life dedication to protest and has been there fore over 20 years!!
The tour then finished at Westminster Abbey... not exactly sure why it's important, but it is...I think most monarchs and well known figures are buried there...
At that point, WAY behind schedule, I had to run to get the
and go meet my cousin and his new
That was that of that day.
The following morning, day of my departure (at 5pm), I went to Buckingham Palace hoping to see the change of the guard (big thing apparently), but because of all the deployments at war and stuff, they only do it every other 2 days, and I was on an "off" day...oh well!
I then went to visit a nearby park, and was told a while back, that there wasn't really any wildlife left in Europe...even squirrels. I didn't really believe it until I noticed that people were marvelling at the squirrels in the park!! heheheh They should come to MTL!!
I saw pretty swans (what's the plural of swan?)
I then went to have a fish and chips (couldn’t possibly go to the UK without eating it). It was MASSIVE!!!
and I must say, the first time I ate a fish and chips and didn't feel yuky at the end (despite serious amounts of grease on, in and around it!). Nothing beer didn't wash away! hehehe
Let's finish with a couple of pics from the wonderful hostel I stayed in:
and London landmarks:
And the sign I was most happy to see in a long time:
The picture is kind of shitty as I realized a bit late that I was maybe not supposed to take pictures while waiting in line to get through customs! hehehe
I have to go to class, but there will be a last entry, as I think that the trip really ended here in Mtl, and I like the idea of finishing an 80th entry (no better way of ending things than with a round number)