We went down to London today. Met up with Terry & Joy’s daughter Sharon and took the train from Hemel to Euston station, where we then took the underground to Embankment. It was only about a 30 minute trip. So quick. Quite an introduction to London, as that station’s just near the Thames, you can see the Eye just opposite, and the Houses of Parliament are just down the road.
The Houses are just incredible. I can’t imagine how long it must have taken to build. It’s beautiful. The little awnings out the front cheapen it for me, though. They don’t seem to be in keeping with the overall design. I’d rather it was left as-is. Big Ben’s also pretty awesome. I didn’t realise it’s actually the name of the bell, not the tower. As for the Eye, well, it’s just a massive ferris wheel. Still, I reckon I’ll go on it at some point. It looks fun. It’s held up by some pretty big cables. It’s also pretty quiet, which surprised me. Machinery that big ought to make some noise. There’s a smaller temporary (like the Eye was meant to be) wheel over in Greenwich that creaks and groans. Not quite the same effect.
We took the sightseeing bus through the city to St Paul’s Cathedral. Jesus, it’s big. Even the door is massive. And like a lot of things seem to be around here, it’s got gold all over it. More buildings and statues should have golden bits, I reckon. It adds a little class.
The Tower Bridge is also quite a structure. It’s huge. I’m still coming to terms with how huge these buildings are. If they’re not ancient, they’re huge. And sometimes both. Apparently a bus back in the 1950s was driving across the bridge when it started opening, so instead of reversing, the driver just jumped the gap like a stuntman. How cool.
The Tower of London is also cool. It’s massive (there we go again) and old (ditto) and made of stone (yup). It was also cold and wet. It just happened to be raining today. Who’d have thought it? Anyway, we didn’t go in because it was terribly busy. It smelt nice outside, though. There was a place selling fish & chips.
The cruise down the river was interesting. I didn’t realise how much of the riverside’s been delevoped into apartments. Which is just about all of it. There are some businesses and pubs along the way, but most is residential now. Doesn’t look like a bad place to live, anyway. Neither is the area around Hyde Park or Belgravia. I could live there for sure. Only a few million (£) a year. No problem. Anyway, the view from the river was good. Saw the entrance to the canal that runs through Hemel, too. The interesting thing here is that the actual business centre is a fair way away from the city centre. I don’t know how that developed but it has. In any case, it’s great, because it means the beautiful old buildings aren’t totally overwhelmed by big glass office towers. There’s new buildings in the old areas, not all of them very nice looking, but at least they don’t ruin things. Even Piccadilly Circus seems to work, because the big flashy advertising is contained to one corner. Pity that none of the ads are for British companies. Ah well.
Today was mostly touristy sightseeing but it’s given me some idea of where things are. I think I’ll need to draw up some kind of list as to what I want to see and what’s located where, so I make it easier to get to where I want. But then again, I like wandering until I get lost, so I might not. Who knows! All I know is that the city’s not so confusing as I imagined, it’s definitely not as dirty as I expected – the air’s quite clean and there isn’t shit all over the place, and it seems pretty easy to get around. It is, however, as awesome as I expected. I can’t wait to get back (Thursday. Hurrah!).