I had a hard time deciding what the header of the month should be for May.
So I decided on London, the city I know and love best after Copenhagen. And since my favourite London friend’s birthday is this month, I suppose it is apt to dedicate this feature post to the city where he grew up.
By the Thames, London, United Kingdom.
We all just have to accept this fact: Samuel Johnson did not exaggerate. His famous quote, “No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford,” was true to the last word. Having visited London on three different occasions now, I still can’t get enough of it. It simply has everything, from old architecture to modern ones; musical plays and football stadiums; a place like Canary Wharf buzzing with serious looking people and hipsters’ den at Camden; expensive shops and shabby ones; dirty toilets and beautiful scenery. A place of contrast – some people may call it messy, but to me, they are all co-existing in a beautiful chaos.
The city is as beautiful during the day as it is during sunset, and at night. During Christmas period, it gets an added sparkle from the festive and twinkling lights. It may seem off-season to post Christmas pictures now, but just in case you plan to visit London in December, here are pictures that I took of some of the most beautiful sights in the city.
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
This was a bird’s eye view of the annual Winter Wonderland taken from the Ferris wheel. I still remember having a sharp gastric pain while on it, the aftermath of going ice skating with vivid imagination of my fingers getting sliced by the skates playing in my head. Of course, my fear of height and me trying to soothe the stomach with alcoholic hot chocolate did not do much help. So it was actually quite impressive that I managed to take this shot albeit spilling some of my hot chocolate on my camera.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Covent Garden
I love Covent Garden Market at any time of the day. I love the street magicians and acrobats during the day. I love the many cafes and restaurants and I love the pretty shops along the square. I love that just a short walk down Russell Street brings you the start of the West End theatres. And in December, Rudolph lighted the place up with its red nose under the moonlight. Seriously, what is not to love about this place?
Ice Skating Rink, Somerset House
During winter, many of London’s open spaces are converted into ice skating rinks. This one at Somerset House has got to be one of my favourites and it reminds me of a scene from the movie Love Actually. The gigantic Christmas tree added a different feel to the courtyard and exterior of the House where a lot of British films premieres are being held.
This world famous road junction is perpetually buzzing with life. It reminds me of New York Times Square, except the buildings around are probably centuries older than those in the Big Apple. But I love all the billboard lights that shine over the place, and I did feel a little like supervillain Electro for somehow getting energy from all these lights. (And okay yes, I just watched Spiderman 2 last night).
Forget about all the happy thoughts for a moment as we venture a little to the east. This church, which dated back to 18th century, is beautiful but eerie and was part of the Jack the Ripper walking tour route that I so bravely joined. It is located just across the road from Ten Bells Pub, a place frequented by at least two of the Jack the Ripper’s victims. Whitechapel certainly hid a very different side of London – a tad darker and shady and to me at least, it is haunted by the Jack the Ripper mystery.
The Street of Old City of London
I have no idea what street this is, except that it was at the start of Old City walking tour that I joined. And the clock in front was apparently borrowed for the Harry Potter movies? My memory is failing me on this one, so anyone who knows, HELP!
St Paul’s Cathedral
If you continue down the street from the previous picture, you will reach The facade of St Paul’s Cathedral is nothing short of majestic. I know I have successfully cut one of the top towers off, but considering it was drizzling and I had to perch an umbrella in one hand and bent my knee a little to capture the massive church, I thought I did a decent job. Anyway, this grand church is one of my favourite sights in London.
So even though the sun sets pretty early during winter, a new life springs to life at night in London. Including these photobombers. 🙂