Posts Tagged ‘sights’

The Tower and the Eye

Originally posted mid-October

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For all of September, I was nervous about going out into the city on my own. Although I have walked around cities on my own before, London is far bigger than what I’m used to. However, after talking with a friend about what he does on his own, I decided to try venturing out myself. I started on a Sunday with a trip to the Tower of London. London has a great program of walking tours that you can simply show up at and pay for. For the tour of the Tower of London, I was in a large group with a tour guide who spoke a lot louder than I was expecting. One minute he was quietly discussing tickets with an elderly couple, and the next thing I know, I hear “ALRIGHT THEN. IS EVERYBODY HERE? GOOD, WE CAN BEGIN.”

Anyway, despite his voice, the guide himself was very good and I learned a lot about the Tower. After the tour ended, we were free to see the many cool things in the Tower itself, most famous of which being the crown jewels (also the one with the longest line). The crown jewels themselves were really cool. There were a lot of golden plates and spoons. The really valuable things, like the large diamonds, were displayed on a conveyer belt.   I just rolled right past them.

One of the more underrated attractions at the Tower are the ravens. Apparently if all the ravens are gone from the Tower, the kingdom will collapse, so they keep a few around. They are like crows, but they are huge.

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After the Tower, I decided to walk five minutes over to Tower Bridge. Tickets for the bridge are really cheap and totally worth the view.

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Of course, walking around the city alone can be fun, but sometimes you want to do stuff with friends. While harder to schedule, this is usually worthwhile. Almost a week after my little trip to the Tower of London, I got a group of friends together and we headed to the London Eye.

It was a sunny day, perfect for seeing the entire city. We all got our tickets ready and headed onto the moving capsule. While the views were incredible, I remembered about a quarter of the way up that I have a slight fear of heights. But I didn’t let that bother me and got a bunch of awesome pictures!  The only other problem was that the sun was in the way of Big Ben, so a lot of my pictures were dark or I had to crop around my hand, which was shading the camera.

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After our fun, we walked around the area for a bit before heading to a pub for some food and then back the University.

In conclusion, while having friends to go places is a lot of fun, also don’t be afraid to do things on your own. You may not enjoy it as much as being with friends, but you will still have fun, and it’s a lot easier to schedule.

Gettin’ my geek on

London is an amazing place for anyone, but if you’re a geek it is the place to be. Allow me to share some of my fabulous geek adventures during my time in the UK.

Conventions: For you non-geeks out there, conventions are where a group of geeks who like a similar thing gather for the weekend in a hotel near the airport and collectively squee over their shared obsession interests. And because it’s London, there are often actors and other creative folks from the various shows/movies/etc who attend to share anecdotes, answer querulously-voiced questions, and sign autographs. I’ve been to four of these conventions in the past six months and have met some lovely people as well as some of my favorite actors from shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “True Blood,” “Game of Thrones,” and “Doctor Who.” Basically it’s a fun way to meet some celebrities without worrying about getting arrested for stalking. Plus the parties are a blast.

Location tours: I’ve mentioned the Doctor Who Experience, and if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan you can also check out the museum at 221B Baker Street. But the one that turned me into a puddle of geek joy was the Harry Potter Studio Tour, which is so incredible I can’t even put it into words. Here, have some pictures instead.

Where it begins. Also where we all started making squeaking noises.

 

may have been pretending to try on the Sorting Hat here. Maybe.

 

Diagon Alley, life-size. Geek behind the camera, in heaven.

 

Animatronic Monster Book of Monsters in action. I could not stop giggling.

 

I asked them very politely if I could live here. They said no. 🙁

 

And then there’s this.

I know, right? The working studio space was successfully transformed into a memorabilia warehouse for fans. It’s a bit pricey for the tour, but totally worth it if you have any love for the films. Also? BUTTERBEER.

Even more delicious than it looks. *hic*

 

This could be you! [Picspam]

Sometimes you don’t even need context to just go “ooooh!”

 

Central London:

London EyeThis gets blown up every New Year’s. It’s pretty.

 

Big Ben & ParliamentImportant stuff happens here.

 

Hyde ParkPigeons! Erm, Hyde Park!

 

Tower BridgeTower Bridge, often mistaken for the one that falls down.

 

WestminsterWestminster Abbey. Chock full of tombs. And occasionally royals. And royal tombs!

 

Piccadilly CircusOH HELLO! Piccadilly Circus is rather bright at night, wot?

(Quick note: do not, I repeat, do not practice your English accent to the locals. They never, ever think it’s funny.)

 

Windsor Castle, just west of London:

Windsor Palace guardI really wanted to poke him in the nose, but I was afraid I’d get arrested.

 

Windsor CastleApparently someone transported part of Hobbiton to Windsor. I APPROVE.

 

York, in the north of England:

(FYI York is a really cool historical town, one of the few remaining walled cities in the country. Unfortunately my pictures of it were almost entirely rubbish, except this one.)

YorkReal life Diagon Alley! (followed by a deafening geeksqueal)

 

Southeast England:

BathBath! Apparently the water is supposed to be that color…

 

StonehengeThat’s as close as you’re allowed to get. But it is AWESOME.

 

Wales:

Cardiff Bay 2Complete with “Doctor Who”/”Torchwood” geeking.

 

Wales castleAnd a really old ruined castle by the sea.

 

Scotland:

Edinburgh cemeteryThe massive cemetery in Edinburgh. Everything’s black because 150 years ago the air was 84% coal dust. HACK!

 

And finally, a few amusing things I’ve seen while wandering the city:

Look rightShockingly helpful. Six months later I still sometimes look left and then nearly die.

 

Humps signErm…

 

Well! my work here is done.

 

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