London Calling

Posted: May 25, 2011 in Photography
Tags: , , , , ,

A few months back, John found himself with an unprecedented amount of free time and agreed to flee the country with me. Being that this was a last minute decision, we soon realised two days isn’t quite enough time to plan a trip to New York, and so we ended up in London: his first ever visit to our kingdom’s glorious capital.

Prior to going down, John discovered the wonderful “Tube Map” app for smartphones, that takes into account where you are, where you’re headed, and calculates the shortest routes between the two. Genius! Or at least it would have been if the BlackBerry version hadn’t taken until the day I left to start working.

Our hotel was perpendicular to the fantastically-titled London Street, London (which you might recognise from Jane Badler’s last outing). After reading almost exclusively horrendous reviews for every reasonably-priced hotel in Westminster, we finally discovered the Days Inn, Hyde Park, which was basic, but otherwise just fine for a room we’d mostly be unconscious in. Complimentary breakfast? Also a plus.

Since this was his first time in London, I used it as a clever pretence to fulfil all my most tourist-y desires. Our first major attraction: Tower Bridge. (Not, as I’d erroneously assumed, London Bridge, which is further upstream and really, really dull.)

…I wish I could focus on anything other than the little Asian lady.

Also available in analogue.

We were actually there to see the Tower of London, but it had already closed for the day by the time we arrived.

Nearby was 10 Trinity Square; currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation “incorporating luxury hotel, private residences and exclusive members’ club”. The triple penthouse apartment will be located within this very tower.

Um, where do we sign up?

!!! So named for the house of Sir Thomas Savage, but tragically not the etymological root of the Australian pop band. They actually took their name from an Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles quote (“The mind of each man is a savage garden”), which begs the real question: why did it take until 2006 for people to realise Darren Hayes was gay?

The Gherkin! (Officially: 30 St Mary Axe, or the Swiss Re Building). It reminds me so much of the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Shinjuku – or I guess vice versa since the Gherkin came first.

I’m reasonably certain one can climb the tower, but if there was a visitor’s entrance, we couldn’t find it.

Across the road: Lloyds of London…a.k.a. Skynet.

Ah yoo Sarah Connuh?

And onwards to…

…Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square.

And the National Gallery. John wouldn’t stand next to me while I took this photo for fear of contracting Legionnaires’ disease from the fountain water. I’m not even kidding.

There are four plinths for statues in the square, three of them being the usual bronze statues of generals, majors and kings. The fourth plinth, in the northwest of the square, was originally intended for an equestrian statue but – after lying empty for years – is now the location for specially commissioned installations by contemporary artists. The current installation, ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’, is by Yinka Shonibare and was unveiled in the square in May 2010. I’m particularly looking to the giant blue cock they’re erecting in 2013.

(What did you think I meant?)

Spot the couple! (Honestly, I’m not even sure how they got up there.)

Charles I, surveying his mighty traffic island. Also: red buses and Big Ben. Anglophilia overload!

The Great British Pub! Serviced entirely by Europeans of non-British origin. John had the fantastically oxymoronic vegetarian fish and chips…made, naturally, with halloumi cheese. I think I was suffering from another aenemia-induced, iron-craving episode and opted for the pie selection. Both were surprisingly good!

And finally: the view from our hotel room…sometime around 3 in the morning. Our memory foam mattress (which succeeded in creating a giant dip in John’s side of the bed that I would occasionally find myself rolling into) did nothing for my insomnia.

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