I think I will never get used to the "opposite side of the street" thing!!!
You can always easily spot the foreigner, we are always confused and we look several times each way until we get enough courage to cross :-). The position of pedestrian street lights is also super confusing. You would expect to look for the light on the other side of the street but it is actually next to you and if you are at a crossroad you start thinking whether this light is for you to cross or for the perpendicular branch of the cross road?!?!
Looking for a link for the puffin crossing I also came across this article and found out I am not the only one who has a problem with them :-).
Anyways, not even the silly traffic lights could make this day less perfect. It was so sunny and nice that I only realized how much I walked all over London when my legs started shaking.
I got off at the Westminster underground station for the perfect picture of The Great Clock Tower aka Big Ben. It was recently renamed Elizabeth Tower to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. But I am sure we will still call it Big Ben as we did before, despite its different official name.
|The Big Ben|
A Short walk away from the Big Ben is Victoria Tower Garden with a great view on the London Eye. We were on the Eye in February. We were hanging out in London on a rainy day, and what a better way to see the city in those conditions than in a small glass capsule from a birds perspective.
|The London eye|
My personal favorite is Tate Modern. Even though I have already been there once and maybe I should try to see other museums and landmarks I went that way because of the Millennium Bridge. Then I decided to browse through the Tate Modern gift shop, check out the end date for the Lichtenstein retrospective (we missed it :-(.....) and I ended up taking this amazing picture of St. Paul's Cathedral and the Millenium Bridge from the Tate's cafe on the second floor.
|The view on St. Paul's Cathedral from Tate Modern|
The peacefulness of the museum on Mondays is just priceless. Last time we were here on a Saturday and on weekends you always have to shove through hordes of tourists and Londoners who are busy during the week. The other great thing about London Museums and Galleries is that most of them are free as opposed to NY ones. In London you only pay for special exhibitions, like Lichtenstein, but the admission to the permanent collection is usually free. Most NY museums are free once a week but you really don't want to go then. The line for MoMa on free Fridays is unbelievable. Some of them, like Metropolitan or the Museum of National History have suggested price of $15-$20, but they support themselves through donations and really you can pay whatever you want. The price is just SUGGESTED. In other words, if you are a tourist you pay the full price, if you are a New Yorker you know the deal.
The most interesting "attractions" of all cities are the people, for sure. It is amazing to observe Londoners doing their everyday "thing" while thousand of tourists are rushing around with their maps and cameras. Walking around I ended up in front of the Somerset House, a large Neoclassical building in central London, and spotted a cheerful gang of mothers, babysitters and kids. I automatically had a flashback to my New York Mary Poppins days and all the summers I spent with my little friends on the Museum of Natural History fountain. What a great way to grow up!
By the time I decided sightseeing was over it was already dark. Maybe even too dark for taking pictures but one of them came out surprisingly well. The famous red double decker bus was in the right place at the right time.
|Saint Paul's Cathedral|
That was a long, long day but no-rain days in the UK should never be taken for granted :-)!