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London, day 3: 15 September 2006

Started: 2006-09-21 15:15:57

Submitted: 2006-09-21 15:25:01

Visibility: World-readable


2005 BST 15 September 2006

Mela Restaurant 152-156 Shaftesbury Ave. Leicester Square Station (Piccadilly Line). North on Charing Cross Road to Shaftesbury Ave; turn right. May be on south side.

2020 BST 15 September 2006

Woke up 0900 BST -- 12 hours after going to bed, but some sleepless time during night. Ate breakfast (granola from Tesco) in room. Took Circle Line anti-clockwise to Westminster. Got an 1100 tour of Parliament. In off-season, so we could see the important stuff -- House of Lords, House of Commons, lots of portraits of kings and queens past and lots of history -- from the Magna Carta in 1215 to today. £7 each, by credit card.

Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster (
Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster ("Big Ben")
Churchill statue, Parliment Square, London
Churchill statue, Parliment Square, London

Went across the street to Westminster Abbey. They wouldn't take my credit card without ID, since signature had worn off. It was buried in money belt, inaccessible. Kiesa pulled hers out and all was good. £12 each. Didn't get audio tour. Lots of dead kings, plus history. Museum with death effigies was best-described. Went to gift shop; didn't buy anything.

Kiesa in London
Kiesa in London

Ate sandwiches from mini-Tesco along the Thames. Walked up Whitehall -- the same "Westminster Walk" I did last summer in London -- past Number 10 Downing Street to Trafalgar Square.

Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square
Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square

2045 BST 15 September 2006

Wrote previously in Piccadilly Line tube. Now in Mela Restaurant, an Indian restaurant near Charing Cross. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

After Trafalgar Square, headed north, past the National Gallery, to the National Portrait Gallery. (I wanted to have a historical perspective with the history I got at the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.) The self-directed audio tour was a bargain -- £2 each, and admission was free. 400 years of important faces in British history -- from Henry VII and VIII through Elizabeth II. Hundreds of faces, famous engineers included (Michael Faraday), and an exhibit on The Beatles. Including the very first shot in the session that produced the famous Abbey Road cover. Good thing the museum had extended hours on Friday evening -- we entered a bit after 1500 and didn't leave until almost 1900 -- an hour later than the normal closing time.

After the National Portrait Gallery, headed back to the hotel for a consultation of the London Restaurants guide I acquired at Powells -- one of a long string of tour books I managed to acquire for the trip. Picked the restaurant we're in now -- a few blocks from the National Portrait Gallery -- and headed out on the Piccadilly Line for food.

Tomorrow and Sunday are the London Open House, where hundreds of buildings are open to the public -- many with engineers on hand.

2200 BST 15 September 2006

Corean Chilli -- organic noodle restaurant. On Charing Cross Road north of Leicester Square tube station.

For more photos from my day in Westminster, see Photos on 2006-09-15.

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