Wandering around London in 72 hours (part II)

I couldn’t wait for the morning to arrive so I could start my second day of sightseeing in London. It was slightly overcast and chilly. I like crisp mornings so I decided to be brave and to leave my jacket at the hotel in hope of a warmer and sunnier weather later in the day. Despite having a tummy issue the previous day I managed to walk all the way from the Sky garden to the Trafalgar square but I didn’t say hello to Big Ben. This morning I felt all right and decided to begin my day by visiting Big Ben. As soon as I saw it as I was climbing out of Westminster station my face broke out in a big smile. Yes, I was in London. And it finally felt like I was in London.

Big Ben, London

I walked to the Westminster Bridge to take photos of Big Ben and the London Eye for the eleventh timeย ๐Ÿ™‚ What will be my legacy one day? Thousands of pictures of London, I presume (no, I won’t leave any chocolate or other significant material possessions). It was quite windy at the bridge and I almost had a Marilyn Monroe moment since I wore a red skirt which the wind kept pulling up. Just when I thought that I would need to get back to my hotel before I do the Tower Bridge Exhibition the sun came out and I didn’t feel the cold anymore (no need for a jacket after all). After asking some random strangers to please take my photo (yes, I don’t have a selfieย stick and I’m kind of proud of it, but on this trip I did feel the need for one) I walked behind the Houses of Parliament towards the small but lovelyย Victoria Tower Gardens.

yes, it was that windy:)

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How many times have YOU visited London?

London

I’ve visited London 10 times, 10 trips! So, my upcoming trip in May will be my 11th visit to the best city in the world-London. You must think I’m crazy, but I call that loveย (or obsession). I could have visited so many other cities instead of spending my money to go to the same place again and again (and as you know London’s not cheap). But what can I say? I really believe in Doctor Samuel Johnson’s words: “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford “.

ย 10 trips to London, but out of those 10, there were a couple of weekend trips and two 4-5 days trips and 4 day trips. It all began with my first visit (actually it all began way way back when I was a child and just dreamt about visiting London ).My best friend ( and my maid of honour) and I spend 5 wonderful days (from 28th Dec 2006 to 02 Jan 2007) exploring London. One of the things we did was to find the bookstore from the movieย Notting Hill :). Naturally we did all the usual tourist stuff: visited the Tower of London, visited the Westminster Abbey, crossed the Tower Bridge, took million of photos of Big Ben, saw the Buckingham palace and St.Paul’s cathedral and so on and so on. We also went to the Ice-bar and to the Sherlock Holmes museum as well as walked through the Leadenhall Market and gawped at the ancient monuments in the British Museum. Furthermore, we visited the Harrods and chased some squirrels in the Kensington gardens (not really, they came to us freely). ๐Ÿ™‚ But after that trip we decided that we have to do it all over again-another trip to London was already on our minds.

London:the bookstore from the movie Notting Hill, 2006
London:the bookstore from the movie Notting Hill, 2006

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Big Ben

Big Ben

This fellow needs no introduction. It’s quite possible that every child and every adult wherever s/he lives would be able to recognize it and say where it is. For me Big Ben is London. Moreover, Big Ben is Britain. I remember my excitement when I first saw it during my first trip to London for New Year’s 2007. It was as beautiful and striking as in the photos. Whenever I re-visited London I made sure to come close to it and have a look at it again and I’d feel equal joy as I did the first time I saw it. I know, it’s just a clock tower annexed to the Houses of the Parliament but for someone who has dreamed of London for as long as one can remember it represents so much more.

So, let me refresh your memory with a few basic facts about this British landmark.ย First of all, Big Ben is the nickname of the Giant Bell inside the clock tower not the tower itself. The tower used to be called St.Stephen’s but in honour of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee it was renamed after her so it’s called the Elizabeth’s tower now. But the real name of the clock tower is actually just The Clock Tower. The tower is 97 m tall and it was built after the Palace of Westminster (widely known as the Houses of Parliament) burnt down in 1834. The official name of the clock is the Great Westminster Clock.

Big Ben isn’t the only bell inside the clock tower’s belfry. There are also four other quarter bells inside that chime every quarter-hour. Big Ben was cast in 1858 and it weighs about 13.5 tons. There was even one MP imprisoned in the tower briefly because he didn’t want to take an oath on the bible. If you’re a British citizen then you can go on a tour of the tower for free! You go up 334 steps to the top to hear Big Ben strike the hour and you can go behind the clock’s dials and see the mechanism room too (for details check http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/visiting-and-tours/tours-of-parliament/bigben/ ). How awesome is that! However, it’s not fair that I can’t do it. ย Tours of the Houses of Parliament are available to all and I think I’ll do that one day ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, enjoy the photos of this handsome fellow:

my friend’s photo!The first photo of Big Ben from our first London trip

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The London Eye experience

There are some things that you just have to do while in London. And going on the London Eye is one of them. However, I didn’t do it during my first visit because I was waiting for the perfect weather and I thought that it was a bit too expensive. Little did I know! So, fast forward two years and I’m back in London with my best friend and partner in crime (she’s a London lover as me)ย  and we still had doubts about paying the expensive ticket to go on a giant Ferris wheel. That was in 2008 but during our October visit in the same year we finally decided to give it a go. We weren’t disappointed.

with my best friend-Oct 2008
with my best friend-Oct 2008
Oct 2008

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