David’s Not-so-grand European Tour: Part IV

So why is the London part of the trip broken in several entries? That’s what happens when a lazy guy keep procrasinating and keep putting off writing his travel log. If he waits until he finishes the whole thing before posting it, people won’t get to read it until 2010, or something.

But then, is there really people who would read this self-loving guy’s so-called travel log, with all the petty little details written in?

Anyway, let’s move onto day 2 of the London trip.

After a brief visit to the British Library (it was right across from the hotel). I got to the Westminster Station at 10:30, met up with EY and start our tour from there.

The weather was simply fabulous at that point in time. The blue sky was quite Vancouver-esque (during the summer), but still not quite California-esque though, if you know what i meant. :p

We walked along Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square and passed by the entrance of the National Gallery. We then passed through the Admiralty Arch and walked along the Mall at St. James’s Park. We stopped at the lake area to look at some goose and pelicans (those are Royal properties) and tried to guess which pelican was the one that swallowed a pigeon and made it on youtube and bbc.co.uk.

We got to Buckingham Palace at around noon, just in time to see the changing of guard. There was a ton of tourists there (being a Saturday), and I had to hold my camera up high to take pictures. For the first time I realized that the work of a photographer can be quite hard. To a lot of people, the changing of guard might been be seen as a show. However, I think rituals like these signifies the importance of the British Royalty, even though they have become increasingly low-key politically.

After the change was over, we moved on along Constitution Hill in Green Park. The weather really did make the walk in the parks much more pleasant (duh). The series of Royal Parks (St. James’s, Green, Hyde) in the area are different than the parks that I visited in Canada in the way that it gives a much more “artificial” feel (I don’t mean this in a negative way). The park outside of Rideau Hall in Ottawa actually is in some ways similar to the Royal Parks, for obvious reasons. In Canada, a park is more of a designation of a natural area instead of something that was built by humans.

After walking past the Wellington Arch, we moved onto Hyde Park, walked along the Serpentine, and visited the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. We got to Kensington Palace at around 13:30.

Compared to the glamour and luxury of Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace is much more modest. In the tour of the Palace, we got a glimpse of Royal life during the pre-Victorian times. I usually don’t like audio tours (I usually find the speaker talked too slowly), but I managed to go through the one at the Palace, partly because it was well made. The audio guide provided a lot of small, fine, but interesting details throughout the tour.

After finishing the tour, we then headed to the Natural History Museum. There were a lot of people there, with parents bringing their children for a Saturday afternoon visit, but there were very few tourists though. We spent some time lining up to get into the dinosaur exhibit, and walked through some others. The architecture of the Museum is quite beautiful. It was worth the visit just to see the building itself.

Afterwards, we walked to Knightsbridge to take the Underground to Piccadilly Circus and went to a Japanese restaurant in Chinatown. I finally was able to satisfy my unexplainable craving of Japanese curry rice (which had gone on since I came back to Vancouver from Hong Kong in January). The curry rice was pretty good, but somehow my appetite wasn’t great that night (being stuffed at the Natural History Museum and then on the tube didn’t help).

After dinner, we took a brief walk around Leicester Square and Covent Garden before parting for the day. We were actually quite proud of the distance that we covered and the number of places that we’ve visited for the day. :p

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