Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Olympiad Trip - Day 3

Today I ventured into central London by myself (my brother Michael had been with me on other days), with the plan of doing some touristy things. I initially headed to the London Eye, however as with last time I was here, the queues were prohibitively long (2 hours or more), and when there by myself (as opposed to in a group when you might almost be inclined to wait) I decided to simply take a few photos & go elsewhere.

The London Eye
The Houses of Parliament
A somewhat dodgy selfie across the Thames from Parliament

I decided to continue walking down Southbank, finally finishing up at the Tate Museum of Modern Art, which had a number of interesting artworks
One of the displays for the Festival of Love in Southbank
The front of the Tate Museum of Modern Art
One of the more interesting artworks, depicting the Vietnam War
Detail of the Vietnam artwork
Detail of the Vietnam artwork
More artwork from the Tate - this time an old engine covered in Copper Sulphate crystals
Another interesting piece from the Tate
An interesting Bronze sculpture at the Tate
Another view of the Bronze sculpture at the Tate

After leaving the Tate Museum, I crossed the Thames into central London, taking a few more photos on the way

A view down the Thames from the Millenium Bridge, with Tower Bridge in the centre & the Shard on the right
Millenium Bridge looking towards St Paul's Cathedral
Law Courts

I finished the day with some poker at the Victoria casino in Edgeware Road, which was by far the biggest poker room I visited in London, before heading back to my room for an early night (have a morning flight out of London to Tromso via Oslo).

To finish off my time in London, I thought I would share some of the things I found to be somewhat quirky on my trip ...
A number of buildings simply number all their floors, both above & below ground, so the ground floor is level 0 & the first below ground floor is -1 etc. Somewhat different to the Ground, Lower Ground nomenclature used in Australia.
The currency is unusually large, particularly the larger denomination notes - the £20 & £50 notes did not fit properly in my wallet & stuck out at the top. I didn't investigate local wallets, but I would have imagined there wouldn't be such a significant difference between note (and hence wallet) sizes across countries.
The Underground system (the 'Tube') is just that, but there seems to be a maze of tunnels, pathways & stairs involved in getting around it. The system itself seems very efficient, with generally no more than 5 or so minutes to wait between trains, however the number of lines make changing lines (and walking lots) a major part of most journeys.
The city itself (as I guess would be expected of such an old city) seems very ad hoc, with little thought to planning & creating a clear grid, as with a city like Melbourne, however I suppose what it lacks in order it more than makes up for in history, charm & character.

Sign at Russell Square underground station - passengers catch a lift down to the platforms (unless they feel very energetic & want to take the stairs!
Tomorrow is an early start for me, with my flights to Tromso ahead of me. Hopefully I'll be able to take some more photos & give you a pre-Olympiad impression of the town.

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