Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The Thames

Since young I always have deja vu that one day I will walk down the Thames and be dazzled by the Big Ben. In fact, my first 1000-piece jig-saw puzzle is Palace of Westmister. At certain point of my life, this dream was shattered due to 97 economy downturn. So, I thought it is just a dream and I could only afford to see Big Ben in my room on the framed puzzle. My life took a turn and truly it was God's blessing that this dream of mine was granted in September 2003. Surely, prayer works ...

Continue from my talk on Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey are within walking distance from St James's Park as clearly shown by the Google map below.

From St. James Park to Big Ben and ...

Westminster Abbey is Gothic Church famously known for coronation and burial for English monarchs. Yes, 10-year ago this church (St Margaret's) was swamped by crying crowds throwing roses on the road as Princess Diana was horse-carried out of the church after her funeral mass. Sadness and Solemnity are in the air even as I write about it now....

St Margaret's Church of Westminster Abbey

Left: A good view of Westmister Abbey & Big Ben
Right: "Big Ben" at the northern end of Houses of Parliament

Big Ben is a name so popularly known so much so that most people including myself will misunderstand that the Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) as Big Ben. Truly, Big Ben only refers to the Clock Tower.

Why is it called Big Ben? There was a huge debate on the new name for Clock Tower and so happened that the big-sized Benjamin was making a lot of fuss about it. Being frustrated over the lengthy debate, a back-bencher shouted out, "Why not we just call it Big Ben...".

Left: Big Ben & Big Me
Right: Palace of Westminster across River Thames.

Across the River Thames and from London Eye, Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) is breath-takingly beautiful. During the day, the Gothic sand-colored palace under the bright sunny day transcends her glorious elegance far beyond any comparison. When night comes, this yellow-litted palace transforms into an ancient dungeon full of mysteries or perhaps the HQ for Her Majesty's secret service.

London Eye (Millennium Wheel) is a huge ultra modern Ferris Wheel owned by British Airway. In fact, each capsule is called cabin. When I stepped into the cabin, "welcome aboard" can be heard from the announcement speaker. It really feels like taking BA flight except there is no in-house entertainment system or food. But, this flight offers the best view of London. Standard adult fare is GBP15 and GBP7.5o for children. Well, from economic viewpoint, it is a huge, ever-moving, money-generating wheel of fortune. Haha.. no wonder many states have such set-up: Malaysia (KL), Austria (Vienna), Japan (Kobe) just to name a few...

During Deiva's visit to London, I pampered myself for a ride. The view of London is beyond words. Specifically, the view of Palace of Westminster when the capsule is at 2 0'clock is remarkable. I was speechless and paying lot of attentions trying to spot obvious and hidden landmarks of London. Among some easily spotted ones are Imperial College Tower, Bridge Tower, Trafalgar Square.

Left: London Eye, Deiva and Me.
Right: Flying Capsule-like BA Cabin

Truly a beauty - Palace of Westmister

Left: River Thames Cruise
Right: Big Ben and me.. Both equally big.

London Eye

Millennium Bridge towards Charing Cross Station

Left: Nightview of London Eye from Millennium Bridge.
Right: Nightview of Big Ben from Millennium Bridge.

From London Eye, you should cross the Thames towards Charing Cross by using Millennium Bridge. As you walk towards the bridge, you will see interesting street performers trying to win pennies from those who enjoy their show. So, if you like the performance, don't be stingy. They deserve it. ;)

The nightview of River Thames gives totally different touch. During the day, the environment along River Thames is vibrant and thriving. In the night, if Paris has the gold Eiffel Tower for romantic escapade, London has the blue London Eye for a magical night-out.

How I long to return to there ...

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