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A WEEKEND IN LONDON

As for the moment I am living in London, the capital city of England and of the United Kingdom, I invited my girl friend that lives in Reims, France, to join me for the weekend and make a tour of the city. I picked her Friday evening at Gatwick Airport and we decided to start the tour Saturday, early in the morning.

I planned our visit using my Sygic GPS, in order to know how to go and what public transportations we should use to visit the most known monuments and places of London.

Saturday we took the underground, near to the place where I live, to Tower Bridge, a bascule and suspension bridge on the south bank of Thames River and built on the 19th century; we crossed the bridge to go to the Tower of London, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, which official name his Her Majesty Fortress. At the Tower, built in the end of the 11th century and used as a prison from the 11th century to the middle of the 20th century, used as an armory and a treasury, where we could admire the public records office, the Royal Mint, the body permitted to manufacture the coins on the UK, and Crowns Jewels of the United Kingdom.

After having lunch in a traditional pub, we walk until Trafalgar Square, where we admire the Nelson’s Column, erected in honour of the British Admiral Lord Nelson for his victory over the French navy in the Battle of Trafalgar, during the Napoleonic Wars in 1805. 

We continue our walk until Piccadilly Circus and we wander in Oxford Street a major road in Westminster area, in London’s West End that follows the route of an ancient Roman road, looking at the assorted shops and department stores, and where we did some shopping. Next we went to Covent Garden, now a place with theatres like the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and the Royal Opera House and entertainment places, such as the London Transportation Museum, and we visit the old market and the varied shops that exist in the area.

We had dinner in a fancy restaurant in Soho that is now a residential quarter as well as a place where there are various restaurants, cultural facilities, night clubs, bars and shops; after dinner we went to assist to a musical play, Dirty Dancing, at Piccadilly Theatre.

Sunday, early in the morning we went to Hide Park that it is one of the Royal Parks of London and one of the largest in the western area of the city, to see what was happening at the Speakers’ Corner, where there always somebody debating and discussing several aspects of life and politics; one of the particularities of this place is that the speakers stand over a plinth and they can speak freely since their speeches are lawful.

Although Hide Park is quite near to Kensington Gardens, one of the Royal Parks of London, we preferred to see the exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum, founded in 1852, the largest museum of the world of design and decorative arts that includes ceramics, textiles, costumes, glass, jewellery, sculpture and many other objects from the ancient times to the present days, showing artifacts representative of the cultures of Europe (with a special incidence on Italian Renaissance), North America, Asia (China, Japan and Islamic world among others) and North Africa.

After lunch we saw Buckingham Palace, built at the earliest 18th century, that is the official residence of British monarch in London. We continue our tour visiting Westminster Cathedral, the mother church of the British catholic devotes; the cathedral was erected between the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century, in Neo-Byzantine style on a place that was a former Benedictine convent.

From the cathedral we moved to Westminster Abbey, which official name is Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster, was constructed in a gothic style at the 13th century; the abbey is the traditional place of coronation and burial of British monarchs.

To finish our tour we went to the Palace of Westminster, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and known as the Houses of Parliament, because it is the meeting place of the two houses of UK’s Parliament e of Lords. At one of its towers, Elizabeth Tower is one of the most famous icons of London, the Big Ben, the nickname of the bell of the clock.

 

The weekend was over and I took my girl friend to Gatwick Airport for her return to France.

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