Visited December 2012
Sunday morning, a wonderful walking tour behind and a nice and bright sunny day glowing with me gleeing at the thought of summing up my London tour with another day of photo-adventures.
But, before we begin, a few comments to review the hotel I stayed in – Sheraton Park Hotel, Knightsbridge.
Location is the USP of the hotel, very central and right next to the tube station. The station itself is near the south-central part of London and about 25min from the business district of Canary Wharf (which is one place I have to take pictures of, next time I am in that part of the world).
I didnt have food there but people say that Piano Bar and One-O-One Restaurant are really awesome.
Room service is very decent, the staff was helpful and thoughtful in whatever I had asked for (though I am not very demanding). The reception and staff in general are quite courteous.
Ok, back to the tour.
Click here to read on Oxford walking tour I did later.
Green Park, enroute Buckingham Palace
Can’t have enough of the Green Park, whose pathway on the boundaries turned golden from the falling leaves, the next morning, I was again awe-struck at its beauty. Couple of pictures again, depicting nature’s beauty.
Changing of the Guard
A bit of background – courtesy Wikipedia.org. The Queen’s Life Guard is the mounted guard at the entrance to Horse Guards, which is the official main entrance to both St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace.
The guard is made up of a company of soldiers from a single regiment, which is split in two, providing a detachment for Buckingham Palace and a detachment for St James’s Palace. Because the Sovereign’s official residence is still St James’s, the guard commander (called the ‘Captain of the Guard’) is based there.
The Changing of the Guard takes place in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace at around 11am whereby St. James’ Palace detachment of the Queen’s Guard, led usually by the Corps of Drums marches along the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where the Buckingham Palace detachment has formed up to await their arrival. These two detachments are the Old Guard. Meanwhile theNew Guard is forming up and are awaiting inspection by the Adjutant on the parade square at Wellington Barracks.
So it was 10:30am and having had a nice stroll to Buckingham Palace post the Green Park, I was all set to see the Changing of the Guard. This is so popular event, was proved by the number of people that had come to see the event. I would make out that a lot of them would be tourists, it was simply an event that no one in the city would like to miss. It was indeed grand, with all the royal soldiers marching on, royal band playing and everything being performed to perfection. Well, after all, it was about the Queen.
The popularity of Changing of the Guard clearly visible by the crowd and the number of security men around the palace.
Post the event and while I was waiting for the golden hour again (near dusk time) to take more beautiful pictures of all I had missed a day before, I took time out to go to Sports Bar & Grill near Victoria Station for lunch as well as watching the ManU vs ManC football match. Sadly, ManC lost, after coming back from 2-0 down but last minute goal took the match away from the champions. By the way, the place is quite good with its burgers and the sports freak ambience.
As the match ended, so was the daylight coming to a close. And perfect time to make a move and head out for Big Ben, London Eye and Westminster House. Another good part was that my flight was delayed by about one and half hours (Cathay Pacific, though it was unusual) and hence, I had to be back to the hotel to take my luggage only at 8:30pm, instead of earlier 715pm. This was a delight as I had one full hour more to take more night time pictures.
I would think that 4pm-7pm (three hours was just about enough to take all the pictures of spots I took afterwards: London Eye, market near London Eye, Westminster House, Big Ben etc. I also had enough time to try out multiple food items in the market there.
Starting with Big Ben
So here I was at about 4pm, the sun was setting down, the blue dusk sky was lighting up and the blue-golden hours of photography was dead ahead of me. Out came my camera and right there… click click click!!!
The Big Ben at dusk time – couldn’t get any better. Well, as you can see… 4pm. Quite a thing for Asians to realise that it starts getting that dark at that time as well.
So here is the Westminster House, the British parliament next to the Big Ben. As mentioned on the day 1 post, by the time I reached London Eye after starting the day Piccadeli, London Wall to Monument, London Bridge and all the way to Tate Modern, my camera had run out of battery (and being a novice at the time, I didn’t know the golden rule of photography – always carry surplus juice with you). So here I was on day 2, to complete my unfinished assignment / bucket list.
A new one – Ostrich meat
Anyways, so as I was nearing what I was always wanting to see, there was a new experience I got that I had just not accounted for… Ostrich meat. Yep! And in fact I didnt even know that we eat that (well, I should have known by now, that there is nothing that cannot be eaten, even if we risk our lives for it – Fugu case in point. Anyways, so I did have my Ostrich meat burger. Well, nope, not that great. Prefer the Triple O in HK still.
Ostrich meat burger at London Eye, London, UK.
So with this last experience, presenting to you ladies and gentlemen, a bucket list item… The London Eye…
I had planned this trip for ages now and while it is a shame that I did this alone for now (before doing it again in our Iceland trip in 2013), I think the results help me live up to it. 🙂
And well, while I would like to end this blog on this high note, a bit of trivia here… there is the Westminster station right next to the Big Ben / Westminster House / London Eye which takes me back to the hotel, just in time for the (delayed) flight at 10:30pm (as you can see here, it is 730pm by the time I was done with this).
And lest I forgot, here is the final shot of a very satisfying, fruitful and picturesque London trip – the famous Harrods store, which was right next to my hotel.
With that, the London walking tour comes to a happy ending. Cheers!