Saturday, April 18, 2009

London - More than half way around the world

The First Day:

My trip to London is starting off great. The flights from New Zealand involved a 3 hour flight to Sydney, then an 8 hour flight to Singapore, then finally the long haul of 13 hours to London. Luckily I magically got upgrade to Business class on the flight from Singapore to London. Business class is much nicer than premium economy since the seats fold almost flat and I got to live out one of my life's dreams which was to ride on the top floor of a 747.

In the airport in Sydney there was one of the new Airbus A380 planes. From the side it doesn't look all that big, then when you see it from behind it looks like a monster. Supposedly my flight that I have back from London is an A380 on the days other than my flight.

I left New Zealand at 1:30PM and got into London 26 hours later at 6:30 AM. It sounds like hell but it wasn't really all that bad, maybe because I was in Business for the worst of it.

Check-in to the hotel room wasn't until noon so I had a half day to check out the sites. My first stop was Trafalgar Square.

From First day in London

Just on the walk from my hotel to the square the history was amazing. The buildings are mostly ominous big stone constructions which are ornately designed. The detail on them is amazing.

All of the sites that you have seen in movies or pictures are larger than life. When you see Westminster Abbey in the distance or Big Ben come looming out from around a corner it is an unmistakable experience.

From First day in London

I heard that the weather here was bad, they weren't wrong. Rainy and cold with a hint of depression in the air. People are just hoping for the sun to come out. But as Kevin always says "Hope is not a strategy". Now here is an optimist:

From First day in London

Buckingham Palace was pretty cool:

From First day in London

There was no shortage of pubs:

From First day in London

I think that the highlight of the day was Westminster Abbey. As most of you know, I am not the biggest fan of churches but I really wanted to go see Charles Darwin's grave. The abbey's construction is really a wonder of the world. The whole thing seems to be constructed as a monetary pissing match between rulers. All of the monuments to the leaders needed to be more grandiose than the previous one which caused an almost nuclear war type escalation waged with money.

I did get to stand on Charles Darwin's grave which was awesome. My brain couldn't comprehend the awesomeness of that.

From First day in London

Big Ben at noon:

From First day in London

Now my goal is to get my body clock back on the local schedule. I slept from 10:00 until about 3:00 so I am almost there.

Today I am off to a couple markets and then to start my expedition to the British National Museum.

Here is a slideshow of the rest of the pictures from the day:

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