Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I hope that this will be an excellent way for me to keep all of my friends and family up to date on my semester abroad in Rome. Please feel free to post any comments you would like, or shoot me an e-mail and I will try to respond as soon as possible. Also, if you click on each of the photographs below, it will display them at their full size.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

London: Day 3

We woke up early again this morning, determined to get as many sights in today as we possibly could. We hopped on the Underground at Stamford Brook, near our hostel, and headed straight for Westminster Abbey, the Parliament, and Big Ben. We were excited to see all three until our excitement was crushed when we arrived at Westminster Abbey. We came up to it and found out that it was closed to the public all day because there was a special event for boy and girl scouts (we don't know if that is actually what they were, but that is what they were dressed like). There were hundreds of little scouts filling the sidewalk all around the Abbey. We were very disappointed.

Then we went and checked out Parliament and Big Ben, which were cool, but we were still a little disappointed.

Monica waiting for the Underground train at Stamford Brook.

The side entrance to Westminster Abbey.

Me in front of Westminster Abbey.

More of the outside of Westminster Abbey.

And more of the outside...sad.

Big Ben. Cool, but not that cool.

The side of the Parliament building. You can tell with both Westminster and the Parliament building that the architecture here is very much of the Gothic style.

To try and raise our spirits about not getting into Westminster, we trekked over to St. Paul's cathedral. Surprisingly, this cathedral is not very Gothic and was very amazing on the inside. This was the fourth cathedral on this spot with the first being constructed in 604 AD. This cathedral has been used for the funerals and weddings of many members of the royal family. We wandered through the crypt, which houses an incredible number of tombs and even climbed the 530 steps to the top of the dome. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures inside the cathedral.

St. Paul's Cathedral.

The two bell towers over the entrance to the cathedral on the left hand side of the building.

The Millennium Bridge and the Tate Modern from the lower level of the dome..

The two bell towers from the lower level.

Monica on one of the metal spiral staircases heading up to the top of the dome.

Here are a few shots from the top of the dome. The pictures aren't that great as it was a freezing cold day and it was very windy and rain/sleeting outside:

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre from afar.

The Millennium Bridge and the Tate Modern again, from the top of the dome.

The London Eye.

When we came down from the dome we had worked up a pretty good appetite walking up and down all of the stairs. So we went to the Porcupine to try out the fish and chips. We started out with an order of nachos, which was good, but a little different (they actually used Dorito type chips, it was a little strange). The fish and chips looked good enough when get got them but both of us were very unimpressed with them. Perhaps we just picked the wrong place to try them out. When we were done, we worked our way over to the National Gallery.

The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square.

Monica in front of the National Gallery.

When we arrived in front of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square was filling up with a bunch of anti-war, anti-Bush, and anti-Blair activists staging a large protest. Shortly after we arrived a huge crowd started walking in from the left side of the National Gallery and into the square. It was pretty crazy and interesting to see something like this outside of the United States.

This was a pretty interesting booth that was set up (Mom, I'm guessing you will like one of the posters in this picture).

The following are a few pictures of the crowd coming into the square from around the corner:

We eventually made our way into the National Gallery and it was almost too much art to take in, in one afternoon. We made sure to keep up a pretty steady pace and actually made it through the whole thing, every room. The National Gallery has works by a number of absolutely amazing artists, including Van Gogh, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Monet to name a few.

When we finished at the National Gallery we actually walked right around the corner and went to the National Portrait Gallery that is connected to the back side of the National Gallery. This was very impressive as well. It houses over 90,000 portraits and actually had a special exhibit going on called the Faces of Fashion which we would have liked to see but it was sold out.

After the 5 hours straight of museums, we were pretty starving so we tried to decide what we wanted for dinner. Big surprise, we headed back to Chinatown for the second night in a row. This time, however, we probably checked out every single restaurant on both sides of the main street we were walking down before going back to the first one we found to eat.



London Chinatown. Yum.

After dinner we just walked around a bit and eventually found our way to a dessert place and paid way too much for a chocolate tort and gelato.

We walked by one street that was lined with bike-taxis. Monica told me that if accounting didn't work out for me I could come here and cycle people around on one of these sweet machines.

A square near where we picked up dessert. We were going to catch a movie at the theatre on the right but missed allthe showings of the ones we wanted to see.

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