London, I have arrived!

It’s 7:30am (London time), and I have arrived!! The thought of meeting my cousin gives me the biggest and most uncontrollable grin ever! I’m soo excited! I haven’t seen her since May 2007 when she came to Washington, DC for my graduation… We have both been dwelling in different time zones since then..

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Walking through Heathrow going to baggage claims, then exit! (forgive the lack of photos documenting my cousin and I meeting).. Photos were the last thing on my mind! it took FOREVER at immigration. I have no clue what London intends to do for the Olympics.. it was terrible! I think a few flights, maybe 3 or 4 came in simultaneously… it took more than an hour to clear there…

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After we meet, hug, laugh, express happiness, excitement, and sheer disbelief that I am there and we are there together, we sort ourselves and head for the train… and so do many other travelers, all with their suitcases in tow.

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When I exit the train station at our stop, I had to capture it.. take it all in! The sights, the sounds, the smells…. ahhhh. I feel so happy! it reminds me of that feeling I had in Europe.. Every time I disembarked at another city, my little heart would flutter with happiness… I already love it here! Why? Professor Winston always says, whenever you like something, try to articulate why you like it… The air was crisp and fresh, I felt free, I was with my wonderful cousin, I was traveling, which I really love, I knew I was going to have an adventure in store for me, and I knew I would see new faces, and have another experience and story to tell…

After we get home I had no plans for rest. I unpacked stuff, showered, ate, and we headed back out. This would not be a trip of rest but instead one of pace, like my cousin says.. PACE!

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Camera in hand we boarded the bus and came here. We would be doing a bus tour.. the yellow bus.. Original Bus Tour.. I take photos of the Eye behind me.. I am sure I will see it again later..

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Map of tour in hand…

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Cousin and guide working logistics out…

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Photo-op!

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The guide for this bus was really good.. I was just excited I was taking photos like crazy.. I can tell from my early photos that it was all excitement and no thought.. LOL.. It’s jubilee weekend so London is bahut busy!

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A glimpse of the London Eye and Big Ben

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Like I said before… these photos are reminders of pure excitement!! I was shooting left, right, and center!

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I think the guide said this was the narrowest pub in London I think.. it’s in the Guinness Book of Records he mentioned…

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We came off the bus here so that I could walk around and get up close and personal with St. Paul’s Cathedral.. designed by Christopher Wren

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View from the cathedral back toward the street.. This is a hot tourist spot…

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As we were approaching this I wondered what it was.. reminded me of something Libeskind would do… still not sure who did it…

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Thanks for the welcome my dear sir…

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I got a glimpse of the Tate on our walk and had to get closer… See the tower behind there? You can’t miss it… This organization of steps and ramps in this urban public space is also a beauty…

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A look back at St. Paul’s…

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The Shard by one of my favorite architects, Renzo Piano… (article on The Shard)… View from the bridge to the Tate.. The 1,016 ft high skyscraper will be the tallest building in Western Europe and will provide amazing views of London…

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I liked this building… the detailing and marriage of materials and textures I found nicely done!

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Back out on the main road walking London… See the Gherkin ahead?

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Bakery along the way that my cousin frequents.. I had a raisin thing.. the pastry was soft, flaky, warm, delicious… Oh how I love food! it is such a treat for the eyes and the palate… Mmm.. The bakery was quite warm and inviting too… great service!

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/opinion/black-women-and-natural-hair.html?_r=2

I can’t remember what here was called, but I love arcades and this was a successful one… A well-lit “place” and “path.” There was a pub at the corner and I realized that at most (if not all) of the pubs I passed by people were standing having their drinks…

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The Lloyd’s building (also sometimes known as the Inside-Out Building) by Richard Rogers on my left, and the Gherkin straight ahead… (Homepage for Richard Rogers)

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Another view of the Lloyd’s Building…

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The Gherkin by Foster & Partners, and Arup. I like Wikipedia links because they are often very informative because it gives nice background on the history of the site, the building, etc..

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The London Monument by Sir Christopher Wren

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After this we walk to catch the bus again.. it’s a jump on jump off bus… you can get off and get back on anyone you choose along your way..
Cool right?!!

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Flags all around!!! Jubilee here they come!

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We approach The Shard…

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The Shard closer up… and yes those are men working up there.. How awesome!

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I think they were waving at the tour buses…

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How fantastic is this?! i hope you guys get paid a lot!!! They reminded me of a modern version of this>>>

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London City Hall by Foster & Partners, and Arup (Engineers)

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Big Ben!!

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Big Ben…

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Buckingham Palace

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Crossing the Thames with Buckingham Palace on the right.. Reminds me of crossing the Charles River… ;-)

The temperature continued to drop during the day and a little after this point I needed to close my eyes a bit.. I was going on no sleep for approx. 38 hours… I rest my head on my cousin’s shoulder and closed my eyes for a bit.. We were going to have dinner at a place she likes.. Well we were going to pass through the palace first, but it was closed off in preparation for the Jubilee celebrations..

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“Still Water” (horse head) sculpture by Nic Fiddian Green.

Nic was born in Hampshire in 1963. He graduated from Wimbledon School of Art, London with a BA in Sculpture, and went on th attain his MA at St. Martins School of Art, where he also took a Diploma in Advanced Lost Wax Casting.

He is best known as an equestrian sculptor, working primarily in bronze and in beaten lead. He held his first exhibition in 1986, and has sine been in demand by galleries and collectors alike: his work is now shown regularly in London, New York and Australia. In addition he is well-known for carrying ot major site-specific commissions; tow recent monumental pieces have been Turning House for Glyndebourne Opera House in Sussex, and Horses Head in the Wind, for Treasury Holdings in Barrow Street, Dublin.

Like many who have spent a life with horses and know them intimately, Nic took them for granted during his early life; they were simply there. However, his view was changed in 1983 when he first saw the Elgin marbles at the British Museum. He began to see the horse as a spiritual entity, not just a living thing with a beauty and energy particular to itself but a universal vessel for a whole breadth of emotions. A Fiddian Green horse is not an animal sculpture in any traditional sense. It goes beyond the portrait to become a study in energy and quietude, exuberance or wistfulness. (taken from here…)

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The Royal Family circa…. I don’t know…

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We came off the bus at one point and my cousin decided we would pass through Carnaby… I took photos of this store because I loved the beautifully colored spheres hanging on the interior…

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Carnaby Street area

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Nicely deconstructed British flag…

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We stumbled upon some sort of street party along the way.. We joined, sampled wine, enjoyed songs by Tina “Tea” Turner, and had a ball!!

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We then meet another friend and have dinner here at Busaba Eathai… My cousin loves here so she brought me here.. and the food was really good! I must say in London I ate all of my food every time! I think it’s because of the sizes of their portions… I never had leftovers, which is common whenever I eat out..

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This drink was DELICIOUS!! It’s name was a guava collins I believe… it had guava, coconut milk, lime, thai lime leaf, and other stuff I guess… So good.. soo sooo good..

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I had a pad thai… which was delish!

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Calamari.. delish!!

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My cousin had this green curry fried rice… delish again!

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Our friend Giz had these wings.. They were the smallest things I have ever seen!! Pigeon wings they looked like, BUT, they were succulent, well seasoned, nicely fried, and delicious….

After dinner we went to a bakery and got dessert.. I had red velvet cake – one of my favorites.. but I just love cake on the whole… We went back to the street party, then went home… I could not wait to go to sleep.. tomorrow would be another wonderful day!

Love ya London!

Creative Commons License
This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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