Thursday, 13 February 2014

Sightseeing in London

I spent the weekend in London, visiting my sister. Friday we wanted to play tourists, and because there was a tube strike going on we decided to take a bus to Victoria. I seriously underestimated the weather, the wind made it really cold. And the bus was of course late, we spent at least twenty minutes out in the cold waiting for a bus that was supposed to go every 10 minutes.
Funny sign we saw from the bus.
Pretty bridge.

We got to Victoria in the end, buying ourselves hot chocolate to warm ourselves. My sister wanted to show me these cute little houses with sea shells in a park, so that was our first stop. there was also a funny statue there.

The goal for today’s sightseeing was Westminister Abbey, but on the way we found Westminister Cathedral and decided to have a look. The mosaics on the inside were beautiful. I didn’t know if I were allowed to take pictures, a sign by the door said it was not allowed to take pictures during services. There wasn’t a service going on so I took some pictures in the side chapels where not many peoples were looking. I didn’t want to offend anyone. I still managed to piss off a lady in one of the chapels. She looked like a tramp sleeping by the wall and I didn’t take much note of her. She ran after me when I exited the chapel though, talking furiously in a foreign language and gesticulating wildly. She actually pulled my hair and almost twisted the objective loose on my brand new camera. That was not funny, the almost having my camera destroyed bit, and I quickly packed it away after that.

After the Cathedral we continued up the road, and I quite like this old-looking brick building surrounded by modern buildings.

We finally reached Westminister Abbey, a place I’ve wanted to visit since forever. Or maybe since reading the Da Vinci Code about 9-10 years ago and reading the description of Newton’s grave. 
It was a bit expensive to get in, £18, but after all these years of longing it wasn't going to let it stop me. Westminister Abbey is literally filled with graves. I hate stepping on gravestones, feels like I’m offending the person beneath, but in Westminister Abbey people lie buried under every second flagstone, so it is a bit hard to avoid. There was also monument upon monument marking mostly royal and ecclesiastical people’s graves. A lot of the kings I’ve been reading about in my history courses lie buried here. No photography was allowed inside, so I bought a bunch of postcards.
Organ case                                                       Monument to G. F Handel
                                                   Monument to Sir Isaac  Newton
Henry VII's Lady Chapel                                                            Monument to Lady Elizabeth Nightingale

We had discovered that the tube strike didn’t really affect much of the stops and lines in central London, so we took the tube out to Notting Hill. My sister had discovered the Portobello Road Market and she wanted to show me. Portobello Road is a long street lined with small, colourful little shops with cute, old, handmade and a bit expensive stuff. I bought a leather bound journal to use as a guest book for this year’s Torucon. 
I also saw the bookshop from that Notting Hill film some of you may have seen.
If I've understood things correctly, this isn't the bookshop they used in filming but the bookshop Hugh Grant's bookshop is based on. The actual front used for filming is today a shoe shop located not far from this book store. 

We took the tube back to Covent Garden to visit the Apple store. Let me tell you a thing or two I learned about the Covent Garden Apple store, the largest Apple store in the UK. 
(Picture from Apple's homepage.)
When Apple bought this brick building they took it apart, labelled each brick and cleaned them. They then put the building back together exactly the way it was. They also wanted large glass windows, but the company they contacted didn’t have machines that could cut glass panes that large. Apple then said let us design the machine, and then you can buy it and make the glass panels we want. And that is how Apple acquired its big windows.

How did I learn this? The Apple salesman talked about it while waiting for my new iphone to be brought to us. My reason for this visit to the Apple store was to finally step into the realm of smart phones. I am now the owner of a yellow Iphone 5c.
I’ve long said to myself that when my phone breaks down I will buy a smart phone. My Sony Ericsson has served me well for 5 years now. I can make calls and text with it, something I’ve always considered a phone’s main use. But nowadays a phone is capable of so much more and I must admit I’ve felt more and more left out. And it will be nice not having to ask friends to look up directions on their phones when we're trying to find something, I will be able to do it myself. I can step into the world of Snapchat and play Wordfeud with my mom (I am currently losing).

After acquiring my new baby we went to Nando’s. This is a place I have wanted to try for a while, because they’re all about chicken. I’ve been looking for someone to try it with because of the social stigma that dictates you can’t eat out alone. Though I go to cafes and the cinema alone quite a lot I still haven’t taken the step to dine out by myself, and this is manly due to the fact that every time I’ve walked past Nando’s in St. Enoch in Glasgow it’s been full. But enough about that, I went to Nando’s with my sister and we both liked it very much. They have adopted the system you find at Egon restaurants in Norway, you order and pay for your food at the till. This way you don’t have to wait around for a waiter all the time.

Nando’s was a great ending to the day. We took the tube and train home and spent a quiet evening loading our batteries to the next day.

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