Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My last day in London

Well home again...but not for long.  In less than 24 hours from writing this post I will be arriving in Vancouver, British Columbia and spending ten days in the Vancouver area and on Saltspring Island.   I know..pretty crazy eh?

Anyway my last day in London was bittersweet as it always is.  I left the house with just one camera and inadvertently with only one battery.  A photographer's nightmare!  I carefully considered each picture I took and got back with still half the battery power left. (although once it reaches that half way point it goes quickly)  My batteries are pretty well used from six months of being charged most days and now another two months let alone all the travels and life experiences of the past almost three years so they don't last too long.  I probably should get a new one but of course always think of that when I'm on the trip.

So here we go...first port of call - Brixton.  I took the number 60 bus from Streatham Common station to see the David Bowie mural and the memorial.  I had seen the mural previously but not since his untimely death.

Then I hopped on the tube to Green Park and walked daffodils left of course - just lots...hordes...of tourists heading for Buckingham Palace....

Wow, they even have someone keeping a beady eye out for people who don't pay - first time I've seen these.  I plead guilty to sitting in these without paying back in the I'd never get out in time to dash for it!

It looks quiet....I just didn't take pictures of the crowds ahead of me on the path!!!

Before I got there I saw people waiting and the police hovering and thought "aha...some pageantry is about to happen".  It was nearly 11:30 - time for the changing of the guard.  First the pipe band went by - no piccies - I was too busy video taping.  Ah the pipes, the pipes.  Having just been in Scotland my Scottish blood was at full throttle ("FREEDOM"!!!!!) so I was almost shaking with excitement. I love the bag pipes.  (it's been said that Canadians of Scottish descent are more passionate about bag pipes, kilts, etc. than the Scots themselves..I believe it)  Anyway I just managed to snap off two pictures - the police horse photo bombed my picture but it's kind of a nice touch right?  One of the many things I love about London - seeing things like this.

Then into St James's park where I sat on a bench for a while just absorbing the atmosphere - it's my very favourite part of London so I had to come here on my last day.   It's the first and last place I visit in London..always.

I wish I could say the park is a quiet place but it's usually full of tourists and herds of European school kids shrieking and shoving through.  I sit and remember the "good old days" before budget airlines - now everyone and their dog comes to London.  Because as you know I'm not a tourist. :)

And of course I had to have one of these...a 99 cone with a flake.  He was giving the flakes away free - of course could have been because they were half the size but still..a nice gesture!  I told the fellow sadly this was my last day and my last 99 cone so he asked when I was coming back.  As soon as possible I told him!

So creamy and good...oh my my my.   I sat and enjoyed this before making my way to St. James's park tube station to get on the Circle line to Liverpool Street.

Carriage on the train...the Circle line now has carriages that are open which makes it interesting.  Still the most confusing line (along with its sister the District line) on the tube though!

St Mary Axe but known as the gherkin with its friend the Cheese Grater...I adore the Gherkin. To me it's like the rock star of London's modern buildings.

The goat sculpture by Spitalfields Market.  I think it's cute but never knew what the heck it meant.  According to the artist the goat represents persecution and sacrifice and how those facing sanctuary found it in Spitalfields - the crates represent the market.  Okay....

Christ Church of Spitalfields - built between 1714 and 1729 and designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor.

Then I found my way to Fournier Street in Spitalfields where there are some of the best preserved 17th century domestic town homes in London.  Wealthy French Hugenots lived in this area. Spitalfields welcomed all ethnic backgrounds and there is a Jewish synagogue, a mosque and Methodist chapel all within a few blocks of each other.  I would love to read more about this fascinating area.

Fournier Street leads to Brick Lane which was my destination.  The Sunday markets!  Being as I was there in the early afternoon it was absolute bedlam and I left with just some little summer onesies for the neweset member of my family.  But not without hunting down the stall that sells momos..As always I opted for the combo with different types of meat and veg in each one.  SO good!  I really should expand my horizons as the variety of food there is amazing but I automatically head for my momos as they aren't the most easy available food especially where I live. (as in NONE)

I manoeuvred my way through the crowds on Brick Lane - it's such a lively place and there is so much to see you could easily spend the day there.  And I still haven't had Indian food (lots of Bangladeshi live in the area) on Brick Lane - blame those momos!!!

Street art and eating - kind of what Sunday on Brick Lane is all about!

The line was out the door - I've been here and the bagels are okay but not worth waiting that long for.  Obviously not everyone agrees with me!

I was able to get online and print my boarding passes at a cab company/internet place so that was handy.   From nearby Bethnal Green Road I got on a bus to St. Paul's cathedral.

I saw this while waiting for the bus..

St Paul's peeking through one of the many little alleys in the area.

And of course I had to visit Postman's Park which I discovered on a walking tour of the area a couple of years back and now have to visit every time I am in the area.  I plan to do a blog post on it featuring more of the tiles.  It is dedicated to people who lost their lives while attempting to save others.

This statue in Paternoster Square depicts the former use of the square as an area known as Newgate market where livestock was sold.

After a quick visit to the Museum of London (which I adore and hadn't been to this trip - I then discovered when I was there that I really wasn't in the mood for a museum that day) I then took a bus to Victoria where I got the train back to my digs to start cramming...I mean packing my things up for the long flight home the next day.  I hadn't really noticed this ballerina atop the Victoria Palace theatre before...or maybe I did and can't remember.  That happens alot.  So that was my last day in London.

Now if you'll excuse me I just checked in online for my next flight so time to start repacking the suitcase for the next adventure. Stay tuned!

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