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  Visiting London (2)  

Note: Click on any photo below to reproduce its original size. http://www.towerbridge.org.uk/
London's Tower Bridge
Besides the Big Ben, the Tower Bridge is also very symbolic of London. If you have time make sure you get to the bridge to see the Tower Bridge Exhibition and at the same time enjoy a breathtaking view of London from there. Completed in 1894 after eight years of construction, restoration works that started in 2008 were just completed when this picture was taken.

London Eye, previously known as the Millennium Wheel
Another not-to-be-missed attraction in London is the London Eye, previously known as the Millennium Wheel, since it was launched to mark Year 2000 (hence its original name). Since its opening to the public on 9 March 2000, it has become a major tourist attraction, with long queues forming at its admission booths. For full details go to its official website here.

London's Chinatown
London's Chinatown is in a more concentrated area and less diffused than Chinatowns in other big cities of the world, with Gerrard Street and Lisle Street being its mainstays. The pagoda-style entrance makes you feel like you're in Hong Kong, Taiwan or China.
St. Paul's Cathedral, London
The majestic St. Paul's Cathedral. For more go to their website here. Backpackers will be glad to know that there is a Hostelling International youth hostel near here. Other HI youth hostels in London that are well-situated are the ones in Oxford Street and St. Pancras (which is near the Eurostar terminus).
(The above four photos are by courtesy of Yangling.)

A smiling hostess welcomes travellers to Eurostar, the high-speed train that links Paris to London's St Pancras train terminus. For 13 years (i.e. since it started on 14 Nov.1994 to 13 Nov. 2007) Waterloo station used to be Eurostar's London terminal but that's a thing of the past.

Piccadilly Circus, at the junction of five busy streets, is one of the important landmarks of London. These illuminated advertisement hoardings, as well as the famous statue of Eros, are what give Piccadilly Circus its magical air especially at night.

Galloping horses at a fountain in Piccadilly Circus (this photo was taken at night). A short walk from here to Leicester Square, another brightly-lit area of entertainment and food outlets and skirting London's Chinatown is a must in any "London by night" tour.

Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square (photo was taken at about 5.30 in the morning). It is at Trafalgar Square that revellers gather to usher in the New Year every 31st December.

Liverpool Street railway station. From here one can take a train to Colchester, Britain's oldest recorded town though today it has become a lively shopping centre. The train trip takes only an hour but from the railway station at Colchester you'll need to take a taxi to the town centre. It is one of those quaint little towns where you can easily pass an entire afternoon without ever worrying that you'll get lost or miss your train back to London. The University of Essex has its main campus on the edge of Colchester, close to the town of Wivenhoe.

Everything is clearly indicated at the huge signboard at Liverpool station. The popular Petticoat Lane Market is just a few minutes from here as is "The Gherkin" (picture below).

The English do have a mind of their own - there's no doubt about it. Just as they refused to join the rest of Europe in using the euro they also cling dearly to their "Keep left" tradition.

Unlike other countries such as France and Spain it is still possible to insert coins into public phone booths in London - a boon for people without a mobile phone.

The Gherkin ("suppository" to some) has been described as "the most ingenious and elegant new skyscraper built anywhere in the world for at least 30 years". It is also known as the Swiss Re building.

No, London Bridge is NOT falling down. It is still as solid as ever since the days of Humpty Dumpty.

When London sleeps. This photo was taken from the Waterloo Bridge at 5 in the morning.

This photo of a splendid sunset was taken as the train from Colchester approaches Liverpool railway station in London.
 More photos on Visiting London (3).