Transit London


posted on 31st of january, 2008

I spent my winter holidays in Japan, as we have not visited my wife's family for two years. Unlike the other visits in Japan, this time we decided to change planes in London, United Kingdom. In Christmas time, the plane tickets are going skyrocketing, but we found a cheap window on the Christmas Eve - 24th of December. Setting the long flight (London-Tokyo) in this day, the full price of the ticket met our budget and we even decided to fly from Geneva to London the last working Friday of the year - 21st of December: a result of 3 days in London.

We later discovered that you cannot find cheap hotels in London, at least not on Christmas time. We decided for a Youth Hostel - one of the most expensive of this type that I've stayed at, and probably with the worst conditions (very small). But it was right across St-Paul's Cathedral (left image).

From the minute that I set foot in London, I disliked the airport (Heathrow), but I've enjoyed the Metro lines and their efficiency. I was also surprised by the humidity and found it very comforting, at least for a short visit, as mine. Did not rain during our stay, at least not the time that we spent outside, but it wasn't sunny either. The ground was always wet, like after rain. The pubs were missing something... It took me a few minutes to observe the missing thing: smoke. Yes, in my part of Europe we still smoke in pubs, although France recently passed a new law and Switzerland my do it also anytime soon...

In general the first evening I felt very comfortable to be in a county which language I use most frequently nowadays... to step into a library and not look for the English section... or to repeat three times my order in a restaurant or even point it with the finger on the menu... to stop any person on the street and ask him what he thinks about the weather... The last one, I did not try, but the thought of the possibility felt good...

Second day we visited the west part of the city (starting from St. Paul's cathedral). A short morning stop at the Westminster to study the light and deciding where I want to be at sunset, was continued with an extensive visit of the most imposing landmark in London (according to my wife): Harrods - the historic shopping mall ! Pretty impressive, but also pretty expensive as my humble Romanian origin would add... Left image...

Lunch and a few hours of walking around Royal Albert Hall and Natural History Museum brought us close to sunset time, so we've returned on the Thames edge to photograph the Westminster Palace at twilight:

Palace of Westminster houses the two chambers of the Parliament since 1512. The current neo-gothic shape of the building dates back to 1870. As oriented, the sun sets behind the building as seen from the other side of Thames River and as seen in the pictures, nice twilight colors and reflection in the waters of the river can be obtained provided good weather.

We closed the day with a beer and some friends in Piccadilly Circus area.

The third day, although the weather forecast indicated a sunny day, the thick morning fog did not manage to lift up. We visited the Tower of London and cross the Tower Bridge several times in hope that we'll make the fog vanish.

Eventually, I gave up taking pictures this day. During the night, the fog stayed, to my disappointment. Left picture presents how we saw Tower Bridge trough this fog, and there were moments when it was much thicker.

The last morning in London, a cloudy day, we spent it shopping for souvenirs and reaching the airport - the one that I do not like... Here we found flight delays and extra passages on our flight. Seems like about 80 flights were canceled the previous day because of the fog that I was talking about...

Comments (3)

Posted by Taragolden on February 01, 2008
glad you had a good time in london.. its one of my favorite cities..
Posted by Cleaper on February 01, 2008
Nice travel story and really like your photos! Im amazed that you were happy with the underground system though!!! Its the worst part of my day!! :)
Posted by Niagaragirl on February 01, 2008
Thanks for sharing your nice travel story. And you are right, there are no cheap hotels in London at holiday time!



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Photo credits: Andres Rodriguez, Mihai-bogdan Lazar, Presiyan Panayotov.

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