Thursday, May 20, 2010

23/365 One day in London

London, England. One of the most important, historic, populated cities in the world. You have one day to see it. How in the world do you decide what to do?

Answer: You don't worry about what you're missing. You face the fact that you're just going to have to come back and visit again. And again. And maybe even again.

Or at least, that was my answer!

Ideally, the day would have dawned sunny and beautiful with high temperatures in the 70-degrees-Fahrenheit range. In reality, the skies were heavy and overcast, it rained off and on all day, and the high temperature didn't make it out of the 40s. (Apparently this is unseasonal for May in London, but it actually fit the mental image I had of the city to begin with.)

Did we let the weather hold us back? Absolutely not!

One of the best ways to see the city, albeit rather touristy, is to hitch a ride on one of the city's red double-decker buses and take a tour. So that's exactly how we started the day.

We got on the bus at Trafalgar Square, one of many iconic locations we saw during the day.

London has so many historic, well-known landmarks that I'm not going to even try to list them here. I will say that while I've never really considered myself to be a history buff, seeing the history of this city and country was one of the highlights of my trip. I've always loved English literature, both classic and modern, so it was truly a treat to tread some of these paths with my own two feet. 

The photo below is the Tower Bridge. I recognize this landmark, like most people (see another photo below), but I've also made the common mistake of thinking this is the London Bridge. It's not. London Bridge, while it does have its own long history, is aesthetically not worth really looking at.

Tower Bridge is another story.

Tower Bridge is named so because it leads across the Thames River to the Tower of London. Here we got off the bus tour and made our first real sight-seeing stop.

Of the many landmarks in London, I chose the Tower of London as one of the things I wanted to see on this trip. It's a castle in the heart of the city, and within its walls are the Crown Jewels, among other royal artifacts.

Anne Boleyn was imprisoned and executed at the Tower in 1536. If you remove the modern buildings from the background, and substitute water in the moat for the green grass of today, can't you just see the significance of this site?

After spending a couple hours at the Tower of London, we grabbed lunch and took a (wet) walk along the Thames. We crossed over the River and back via Millennium Bridge, which I don't have a photo of due to the weather.

Then we hopped back on the bus and finished our tour. Below is Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.

And this is a more recognizable view of Tower Bridge.

I don't know about you, but anytime I'm out in the cold, wet wind for an extended period of time, it wears me out. We wrapped up our day with a nice dinner at a tapas restaurant and called it a night.

Even with the miserable weather, I really enjoyed my one day in London! It puts so much into perspective. I hope the next time I go back, the weather is a little more accommodating. I'd love to be able to put my camera through more of its paces.

Camera: Canon 40D
Trafalgar Square: 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 200
Westminster Abbey: 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 160
Tower Bridge: 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 100
Tower of London: 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 100
Tower Bridge black and white: 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 125
Between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

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