Thursday, 20 December 2007

My Trip To London - Part 1

Well, here it is... the report of my trip to London on 14th December. Every year at Christmas I try visit London at least once during December. I think the city of London is a special place, but during the Christmas season it turns into a truly magical city.

The trip started on Friday morning, catching a bus into the City. I made my way to the hotel in Covent Garden and off-loaded my luggage. After a shot nap, I ventured into Covent Garden to enjoy an authentic English Pub meal in Porters. I had a yummy Framhouse Pate for my starter, a gorgeous Stake & Ale Pie for my main dish and an ultra delectable Creme Brulee for my desert. The meal was washed down by a bottle of the smoothest cabernet sauvignon.

Afterwards I desperately needed to walk off the meal. Although it was delicious, I ate far far far too!

And what better place to walk, than Covent Garden. For those of you that are not familiar with Covent Garden, it is famous for its shops, street performers, bars, restaurants, theatres and the Royal Opera House. Surrounded by Theatreland, in the heart of London's West End, the area is recognised as the capital's premier entertainment and leisure destination. Covent Garden is the only area of London licensed for street entertainment and as such attracts performers from around the world.

London - Christmas in Covent Garden 3

The christmas decorations were a little unusual this year. Traditionally there is a big christmas tree situated in the middle of Covent Garden. However, this year they decided to turn the place into a Ice Palace.

The market was warm and inviting. All kinds of sellers selling their varieties of wares from food to jewellery to body lotions...

London - Candy Stall - Covent Garden

London - Covent Garden food Stall
London - Food Stall Covent Garden 2
London - Covent Garden Stalls
London - Covent Garden Hot Food
London - Covent Garden Hot Sausages
London - Covent Garden Food Stall 3
London - Covent Garden Food Stall 2

London - Covent Garden Bodycare Stall 2

London - Covent Garden Jewellery Stall 2

And for those who found that wandering around the marketbuilt up an appetite, there were plenty of places to rest your feet and have a bite to eat or a warm drink...

London - Covent Garden Food Hall

London - Covent Garden - Time for a snack

London - Covent Garden - Anyone for a drink

It was soon time to head down The Strand. After a short walk, I found myself at the Vaudeville Theatre
The show I had booked to see was "Swimming with Sharks", staring Christian Slater and Helen Baxendale.

I was one of the first to arrive and quickly made my way to my seat, so that I could take a sneaky photograph of the set before anybody noticed.

London - Swimming With Sharks

I couldn't take any photos during the play, but found some library photos on the web...

The play was very enjoyable, positively "On the edge of the seat" stuff. A thriller that had plenty of twists and turns delivered though some amazing acting. What a fantastic first day of my trip to London!!!!!

Before retiring to by hotel room, I decided to go for a wander towards Trafalgar Square. This location is great to see during the day but even better at night time.

London - Trafalgar Square at night 1

London Trafalgar Square at night 3

The temperature was about -1 degrees. However, I am one of those people who doesn't really feel the cold - so stood out from the crowd as I was walking around in a jumper and shirt, whilst everybody else had big themal coats on, along with scarfs and!

After this, I wandered down to the Thames and along to Westminster to enjoy the view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

London, Me and Big Ben at Westminster

London Big Ben 2

London, Me and Big Ben at Westminster 2

All that was left was to take a slow walk down the side of the River Thames to enjoy the night time view and admire the London Eye from the other side of the river.

London by night - The London Eye

London - A view from the Thames River

London - A night view from the Thames

It was now way past midnight. The temperature was dropping fast - time for me to return to the hotel and jump into bed. No sooner had my head hit the pillow, I was sound asleep.

Saturday morning started off with a full English Breakfast in one of the Bistros in Covent Garden. Although it was nice, I am not sure it was worth the £12 ($24 US Dollars) that I paid for it. It consisted of an egg, a sausage, a slice of bacon, half a tomatoe, some mushrooms and beans and a slice of toast. This was accompanied by a cup of Earl Grey Tea.

After this, I made my way to the underground station. One of my favourite activities in London is riding on the underground. The enjoyment starts as soon as you make your way into the station and jump on the escelators to transcend into the depths of Londons subways.

London - Travelling on the Underground

There is a magical feel as the wind blows through the tunnel, as you stand on the platform waiting for the next underground train to arrive.

London - Covent Garden Underground Station 2

London - Covent Garde Underground Station

London - Underground Station Platform

I made my way onto the train and headed towards Tower Bridge and into Borough Market.

To be continued..........


no more said...

well i feel like i was completely transported to ondon! Excellent pics, and you did a very good job at capturing the everyday life of your surroundings. Did you use a flash in any of your shots? Some looked well lit and i couldn't help but wonder if you got a few odd stares when it went off. ;-)

I always find it amusing when i look at my vacation pics at the people in the background that i myself exist in someone elses album

Unknown said...

Hey Muse! Thank you for your always lovely words :) I have decided that I don't want just to take scenery photos anymore, but rather try to capture the everyday goings on. I thank you for the inspiration for this, as it is through seeing your photos and how you always manage to capture the "real" views of places. It is these real views that give a true insight into the location. I did use flash for many of these shots, although reluctantly. I tried a few shots without flash, but the exposure time meant that everybody came out blurry as they were busy hurrying around. I couldn't really ask them all to stand still for the photo. The only negative thing about using a flash is the contrast between the foreground and the background. The forground often appears washed-out and the background seems very dark. I also need to practice more shots like this to realise the most appropriate camera settings. I'll keep you informed.

Anywayz, thank you so much for your comments, they are always very welcome and completely appreciated :)

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, just tried to leave a comment, but there was some kind of error :-( I just wanted to say that your photos were great and that I especially liked how the water in your pic of the fountain seemed to have the quality of silk. Looking forward to part 2!

Elise said...

I don't think I've ever heard of the tube being refered to as "a magical world"

I think you're crazy! But I love the pics and I love that you like London so much xx

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed reading your article. You had a nice trip to London. London is one of the most attractive European cities. With 28 million tourists a year, London is second only to Paris in terms of visitor popularity.
And even there are so many buses, cabs, Limousine London vehicles and cars, the air in the city is fresh and clean, because London is one of the greenest cities in the world. The eight Royal Parks alone add up to 5,000 acres. Londoners enjoy 30 square meters of open space per captia, compared with 19 square meters in Paris, 12 in New York, 11 in Tokyo, and 0.5 Bangkok.
I have been there 2 times and I really love London.

Anonymous said...

As a Londoner living abroad, let me say how homesick your wonderful photographs made me feel. I know those parts of town like the back of my hand, even though it’s been a few years since I was there. I could actually feel what it is like to be in Covent garden and in Westminster -- I could feel the air coming out of the tube tunnel even! I’m looking forward to your next posting.

Anonymous said...

Hi.. As I searching in the net looking for a travel site, I see your blog and I feel interesting about it. I wonder if we could Ex-link with my travel blog which is Travels and Tours.Just visit my blog and leave your blog info there. Looking forward to this link exchange.. Thanks

linda said...

Graham, I love Covent Garden so much. I have never seen it at night, always on Summer days. I am so looking forward to spending an entire day there next year. I always walk up the spiral steps at the train station! And I cannot wait to take my boy the the Transport Museum, and the shops, and the performer' much to see.

The Tube - the most fantastic place. That smell and the wind that rushes up the tunnel before the train arrives. The rabbit warren of tunnels. The tiled walls, the long escalators. Just the whole atmosphere of the tube is wonderful.

You looked severely underdressed! I freeze in the house when it gets below 17celcius!

Oh, and those stalls selling such lovely things. My urge to shop is overwhelming......London is full of so much to do. Sigh...........

Cocaine Princess said...

Your pictures are outstanding!!!! Looks like you're having a wonderful time. The weather seems pretty mild. Here where I live, we had 25cm of snow dumped on us and the temp. is -21C.

I am so glad I started my blog, the warm and wonderful people I have met, like you is something I never could have imagined. You, Elise and Hayely-Emsley and others, you guys are like a little family, the way we communicate and keep in touch almost every day and how we reveal our inner most thoughts, feelings and what goes on in our daily lives.

I wish you my good English friend, a very loving and warm Merry Christmas!!!!!
Cocaine Princess

P.S. Enjoy every moment and aspect of your trip. That knowledge you will learn while traveling can never be taught or found in books.

meleah rebeccah said...

never having been outside of my own country this is such a wonderful experience (for me to read about) and the photos...oh the photos are breath taking....

linda said...

Hey Graham, I hope that you have a Merry Christmas with lots of yummy food and family and friends around.

Tish said...

Beautiful photos. I really must visit sometime! :)

Merry Christmas, Graham! I hope to catch up to you soon.

Anonymous said...

Looked like you had a lot of fun!

The food market looks really nice... and the food quite good for English food! :D Sorry, I had to make the joke... French genes, ya know.

I loved the night pictures as I said in your previous post. Nice atmosphere... doesn't look to cold, even though you mention it was close to zero. I'm used to see people all covered from head to toes here in Canada! :D

I really have to visit London again... it has been like 10 years since my last visit.

Merry Xmas, hope to see you around soon in the blogosphere!

Peaceful/Paisible said...

what an handsome young man !!! that's great to travel with you...
makes me forget my sixty one ! I haven't been in London for ages...wish I could still travel...never mind, travel for me ...makes me dream...that's the most important...I hope the coming year will bring you peace and love and light and......................................
be well

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your pictures Graham. Very nice indeed. What type of Camera do you use? What blog engine do you use for your template? I liked it.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your pictures Graham. Very nice indeed. What type of Camera do you use? What blog engine do you use for your template? I liked it.

Unknown said...

Hi Amy, thanks :) I appreciate your words as you are such a fantastic photographer!!! I am still trying to discover the right settings for varying conditions. The next thing will be to remember!

Elise, oh the tube is truly special. I guess if I had to use it every day, that the magic would wear off. Yet, when I visit London I always look forward to travelling on the tube.

Hey Richard, thanks for your comments and welcome to my blog :)

Unknown said...

Nicholas, London is totally special! I have travelled to many far flung places and I truly think that London is up there as one of the greatest!!

Hello Travel and Tours! Thanks for your comment, I will definitely visit your site :)

Unknown said...

Linda, the tube is like a different world. There is definitely something in the atmosphere down there... and that gust of wind as the train approaches.... Mmmmmm soooo exciting! I always get a buzz!! I could sit on the tube all day, jumping from one line to another - watching the people get on with their lives.....

Cocaine Princess, what can I say? I too agree with your words. There are some people who visit my blog that I have really grown fond of. Some of them, including you, have left comments on this post and I am truly greatful. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year. Loadsaluv xoxoxo

Unknown said...

Meleah Rebeccah, thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I appreciate every one of them. I hope you and your family are having a wonderful Christmas. I wish you all lots of happiness and good health xx

Hey Tish :), We haven't had a chat in ages! We must talk soon! I hope you are well and that the studying is going well! Warmest regards and Merry Christmas :)

Hey Zhu :) How is that snow? I am sooo envious as yet again we have no snow in England... sigh....

Mousie, it is so nice to hear from you again! I hope all is well and happy with you, your family, friends and characters. Merry Christmas to you too :)))

Space, Thanks for your comments. I use a Canon 350D and an old Canon Powershot S45.

Anonymous said...

Those were lovely pictures! I visited Europe last year, but never got the chance to get to London because I was pressed for time to apply for a UK Visa. You know how it is for us, "third world citizens" *sigh*. Visa requirements here and there for countries outside our continent.

But anyway, London is on top of my list of places to visit before I die. So I'll make sure it happens.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic pictures. Yeah very nice place to visit. London is after all LONDON :)

New York Hotels said...

Lonodn is very modern city to visit. I have visited London last year. Our tour was very cheap as we booked our ticket through ECT.

Embedded mini projects said...

London is the richest place. Pretty to look every pictures and the article was so interesting...

Home Plumbing said...

I love all of your pictures, especially the Christmas lights as they are all stunning. I love how much London has to offer for tourists and the people living in London. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

Unknown said...

Great blog , I really love your writing style that you are using for your posts and stuff,

Graham's Photobook....Through The Eyes Of A Dreamer

Please click on the link below to view or purchase my new book.