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

Since EY is a normal person with a real job, I am left on my own on the last day of my London tour.

Arrived at the Tower of London at 09:30 (I didn’t manage to get in, remember?), only to find that the Tower does not open until 10:00 on Mondays, so I had to wait a bit before I can get in. I visited most of the points of interests in the time that I spent there, including:

-the White Tower: once the former Royal Armoury, it has a lot of historial weapons and firearms on display. It is worth noting that there is an exhibit that was dedicated to the historical struggles between British Protestants and Catholics, including the Gunpowder Plot. And then when I got back to Vancouver, I read about the news that the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church are planning to merge. I find that kind of ironic.

-the Crown Jewel: probably the must-visit place for visitors to the Tower, the real and still-in-use Crown of the British monarch is on display there

-prison cells where a number of high-profile prisoners were once imprisoned

All in all, the Tower is a decent historical site to visit, if one wants to learn a bit about Medieval Britain.

At around 12:30, I rode the tube to Russell Square Station and had a one last brief visit to the British Museum and visited the Enlightenment Exhibit again before heading back to the hotel to pick the luggage. It’s too bad that I did not manage to spend enough time there (since it was kind of close to the hotel that I stayed in, I did not really planned for a specific point of the trip to visit it, thinking that I could go there as a “time filler”).

I took the Circle Line train from King’s Cross/St. Prancras to Paddington. The walk from the Circle Line Paddington station platform to the Paddington rail station (where I would board the Heathrow Express) is noticably longer than the walk from the rail station to the Hammersmith and City Line platform. One really have to know the way around the London Underground system in order to find the shortest path to any place.

There were long line-ups at the British Airways counter at Heathrow, even the “fast” baggage drop off had a long queue. The flight from LHR to YVR was delayed due to the late arrival of the aircraft (what else). Otherwise the flight back home was uneventful.

London is truly a fascinating place to visit. In many ways (e.g. the dirtiness of the streets), it reminded me of the Hong Kong of old (i.e. 1980’s to early 1990’s). Thanks to the expert guidance of EY, my tour of London covered most of the prominent points of attractions in Central London, and the tour is very fulfilling. However, there were still a couple things that I would like to do but did not do:

– attending a football match: it was FA-cup 4th Round weekend when I was in London, and I thought about going to the Arsenal vs Blackburn match at the Emirates Stadium. However, the tickets were restricted to fan club members only. It might have been a good thing since the match was by all accounts a snooze-fest

– watching a West-end musical: it is listed as one of the to-dos in Wiki Travel. I should’ve made plans early for that.

London in pictures: http://www.davidmak.net/album/v/london/london2007/

This was my first-ever trip to Europe, and actually my first time venturing out to places where English or Chinese is not the main language (although a lot of people that I encountered in Austria and Germany spoke very good English). Although the trip was a little bit short, it gave me a taste of what Europe is all about. I would love another visit again in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future.

On a final note: sometimes I would associate certain songs with the trips that I took, even though the lyrics or the song itself has little to do with my destination or even the trip itself. This time my “theme” song for the trip was Nana’s (starring Mika Nakashima) 一色. When I was on the train from Innsbruck to Munich, I found the song really fitted into my mood during that time, even though I don’t know what the song is about (I am one of those who don’t know any Japanese but listen to J-pop).

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