Been meaning to put up these photos ever since I got back from London where Makoto Shinkai appeared for a live interview at BFI.
I had decided we would go down by an overnight train and also went for the London Pass so that we could do a bit of sight seeing while we were there. The pack includes a map, guide book, a travel pass for getting around and a pass card for free entry into places, discounts and the privilege to skip queues. Seemed good value for money at the time.
Didn't really sleep for the night. We just had some versus matches on the DS and chatted the hours away into the morning.
It was early morning before six by the time we reached Euston Station but the sun was already up. The streets were already bustling with traffic and people... If it was here in Glasgow, they will be completely deserted.
We dropped by McDonalds for some breakfast. Surprised there were homeless people coming in to look for left over food but judging from the way other people were reacting, it seems to be a normal occurrence.
Also, almost forgot they don't accept Scottish banknotes in England, only English notes although you'll find we use a mix of both in Scotland.
A good start to the day as you can see - a bright sunny morning with blue skies. The weather forecast had said it was going to be a rainy day before we left.
First stop was at St. Paul's Cathedral. A very grand structure.
We were kind of lost trying to get here at first and ended up walking back and forth down the streets for some time. Hayfever was pretty bad but fortunately we brought some pills along.
Pictures were prohibited inside so I only snapped ones from outside.
Have similar signs like these in Glasgow too.
Some random place. Like the lionhead fountains.
The Millennium Bridge with the Tate Modern art gallery visible in the distance. The bridge doesn't really look as exciting as it sounds to be honest!
You can see the London Bridge from here.
The way we came.
The last time I ever used the subway in the UK was over eighteen years ago and I remember they used to have carpets. The interior was also very dirty so now that I was using them again, I was surprised at how clean they were. Cushioned seats too instead of the metal seats they have in HK.
The other thing I noticed is that if people get in your way by accident or vice-versa in London, they don't seem to apologise and just glare at you instead. Pretty much like HK most of the time and I'm presuming it's because of the fast paced life. Up here, most people would usually just smile and say sorry.
A giant sundial outside Tower Hill Station, Tower of London.
I didn't really pay much attention to what was imprinted on it but it was a fine sculpture.
There's our next goal. Tower of London.
Passing by London Bridge. Quite a number of tourist cruise ships on the river. Skies were starting to dull too so maybe the forecast was right...
Had planned to visit the HMS Belfast battle cruiser but, we didn't have much time.
Inside Tower of London, we see guns...
And more guns (forgot to record the names!).
There were suits of armour too but we were starting to rush our little tour so I didn't manage to take too many pictures. Imagine being clad in the suit and holding one of these weapons...
Long winding staircases all the way.
More rushed shots on the way out.
This was the London Canal Museum. The museum was small and empty. Not much to see to be honest...
I liked the boats though. Very peaceful at the back here.
Inside one of the boats.
Pretty cramped isn't it?
And heading to the 135m tall London Eye just before going to the BFI cinema. Always wanted to have a ride on it since learning about it. My friend who came along wasn't so keen because he heard it was boring and wasn't worth the money.
There was a long queue for the London Eye but fortunately, we had booked online and already had our tickets so we could skip everyone.
While waiting for the time we had booked, I dropped my camera and dented it badly. My fault for keeping it inside my jacket pocket without a zip! Luckily it's still working.
A shot of Big Ben at Westminster while inside the London Eye.
More random pictures as the wheel turned. The tourists we were with just sat back and chatted to each other in broken English once we reached the top. Probably because we all had finished enjoying the view by the time we were at the peak.
The full turn took half an hour and as you get back down, the intercom asks passengers to stand near the door for a picture to be taken. One then pays at the exit for it if wanted.
Overall, I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was night and the city was lit up.
By the River Thames and on the way back to the station after attending the 5cm screening and meeting Makoto Shinkai.
Wanted to shoot more photos but, some nasty crowds were gathering. Drunks smashing bottles screaming randomly at people and a large group of teenagers just messing around with passerbys. They called out to us and followed for a bit but we ignored them and walked on quickly.
When we finally reached Waterloo Station again, I was surprised by the number of beggars sitting at the stairways around the station. We got back to Euston Station pretty early so we just sat around chatting until the overnight train arrived.
I managed to drop by the Japan Centre at Piccadilly and there was indeed a lot of Japanese around there. Not as much Otaku stuff as I had expected. I think we should have dropped by China Town instead.
Very cold in the morning when we got back in Glasgow.
We saw something interesting while on the train though as mist started to appear on the fields that sped by the windows. It looked as if there were lots of fires that were just put out with smoke slowly spreading from each spot.
In the end, we couldn't really visit that many places around London because we were only there for less than a day. You'll have to be there for longer if you want to visit all the places listed in the London Pass guide book!
Originally we had planned to stay there just for the Anime Now Weekend but decided not to. It was still an interesting experience considering it was the first time I went away somewhere and had to arrange everything myself. The trip could have went better but, I had a great time at BFI 5cm screening.
Oh and before I forget, I noticed this little discrepancy between the English and Japanese text in the guide book. In English (and I think Portuguese too), it states that if one shows the pass at a Crest of London store, one can collect this "Beefeater Bear" for free but in Japanese, it says one must spend over £10 before being eligible for one. I tried contacting the offices to clarify if there was some mistake but, they never answered me.
And no, we didn't go collect the little souvenir.
Anyway, next time I go somewhere I think I'll just have a map, choose a starting point then just visit places nearby instead of making a list of where to go.