London II Part 2

29 11 2011

Part One is here.  The concert went well, although there was literally just 5 people in attendance.  Oh well.

Tom and I stayed at Paxman’s for a bit, looking at music, horns, and just basking in the awesome.  Afterwards, we walked around the South Bank.  From the area we could see the Shard London Bridge, the new skyscraper that, when finished, will be the tallest building in Europe outside of Russia.  For size comparison, it will roughly be as tall as the Chrysler Building in New York City.

Shard in the background

Then, we decided to cross the River Thames.  It’s a big river, and where we crossed it looked to be the size of the Mississippi/Missouri convergence in St. Louis.  From the bridge, we could see various parts of London, including the London Eye, the huge Ferris wheel that is a tourist attraction despite its outrageous price of admission.

The Thames, under stereotypical gray English weather

If you were wondering, the Th in Thames is a solid T, not like the beginning of the word therapy.

Eye see you

We walked across the bridge and along the road next to it.  Tom, a law student, took me on a tour of a mostly un-touristy place:  Temple, the heart of law in London and the United Kingdom.  Within are the two of the Inns of Court, the professional associations of barristers.  Also within are the various offices of solicitors (in England, lawyers are divided into barristers and solicitors).  It’s a very cool place, and it is essentially very much like a University, with buildings surrounding courtyards, and gardens.  Also within Temple is the Temple Church, featured in the book/movie Da Vinci Code (apparently, I’ve never seen it).

Of course, travel issues rose again.  Only one entrance was open, apparently unusual according to Tom.  We spent 10 or so minutes going to every other entrance before leaving the way we came, which was not where we wanted to leave from.  We then walked along Strand, a street that runs from Trafalgar Square into The City (the central business district of London and its historical core area).  Along the way, we passed the Royal Courts of Justice, a phenomenal building that houses the second-highest court in England.

League of justice

We also passed an outdoor ice skating rink with many ice-skaters.  I haven’t been ice skating for a very long time and hope to go to the rink at Crown Center in KC this December.  There was a gorgeous tree by Covent Garden we passed by on our way back:

Happy Christmas, as they say here

By this time we had been walking for a very long time and had covered several miles of ground.  We were ready to catch the trains back.  Of course, the tube had a different idea for us.  We finally got to Covent Garden Station, which was closed due to overcrowding.  Right.  “Closed due to overcrowding” is ridiculously counterproductive.  Logic stands that, if there is a demand for something, you keep that thing available.  It would be as if I was eating and said, “I’m going to stop due to over-hunger.”  Absolute failure, English logistic people.  So, we had to walk another 10 minutes to Leicester Square.  Finally, we got on the tube toward King’s Cross.  We had another scare there, as it briefly showed that our train to Cambridge was delayed.  It turned out it wasn’t.  We got back to Cambridge at 5:00ish.  Tom walked towards his college and I tried to find my bike.

It took me a good 6 or 7 minutes to find it.  Finally I rode back to Homerton, glad that my transpertation woes were over.

 

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