Friday, August 8, 2008

Around the Old City (Part III)

After the Queen’s Mews, I had all afternoon to continue exploring London.

Below is Big Ben (again, sorry about the angle thing. I’m going to fix these before I print them). Off to the left you can see the top of the London Eye. I wanted to go up it, but there was a three-hour wait, and it cost something like £40 ($80), so I didn’t. London is an expensive city.

Sadly, Parliament wasn’t open yet (again, I was ten days too early), but here’s some photos of the outside:

That statue is Oliver Cromwell. Okay, not him really but his image.

And Westminster Abbey, which I also didn’t go into because the wait was over an hour and cost around £16 ($32). I did go into Saint Margaret’s Chapel, which is, I think, the official Parliamentary chapel. It was really cool but there was a sign saying “no photos”. I was the only one who obeyed the sign.

After not visiting the Eye of London, Parliament, or Westminster Abbey, I decided to have a snack and sit by the River Thames. Beautiful. This is actually right behind Parliament and part of the park I was in is fenced off as the private gardens for MPs. But the public can still see in! Unfortunately Parliament was already dismissed, so there wasn’t anyone wandering about.

After walking around a bit longer in the government area of the city, I decided to head to the West End. I was almost immediately accosted by a beggar around my age saying he hadn’t eaten in three days and couldn’t I please give him some money? I told him flat out no but that I would buy him fish and chips if he would show me a good place to get them myself. He agreed but the whole way there kept badgering me to just give him some money. I remained firm and refused. He finally admitted he didn’t really want food. I offered to buy him a drink, and he accepted that proposition by getting two. As he finished them, he promptly threw the cans on the ground. I was a bit shocked. And he kept asking me to just give him some money. Finally it came out that he wanted to hire a prostitute, to which I said that this was exactly why I wouldn’t give him my money. He wasn’t very happy with that but did show me a great place for fish & chips and a nice cup of tea!

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