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Back to Calgary [Aug2]

I can't believe it's already time to leave London, at least for now. In the morning I'm going to start heading south with a short stop in Paris.

I will be returning to London at the beginning of August for my flight home, so I will have a chance to see more of London and the UK at that time. By then the weather should be nicer, although I can't complain about the first two days I was here. Over twenty degrees on both days, unlike today which was in the teens and raining most of the day.

Today's weather really didn't affect me that much. I spent most of the morning tracking down hotels in Paris. I didn't actually book anything because there are more than half a dozen good options, so I'll shop around when I get there.

It was almost 2pm when I finally got out of the hotel. I would have been out sooner if I hadn't wasted an hour trying to add too many maps to my GPS device.

The late start and the rain really didn't affect my site seeing. Actually, I think the rest and the cooler weather did me some good. I walked over 17 kilometers today and I feel great.

My walk today covered some similar territory to the past couple days, but it was at a much more relaxed pace.

I started my walk down Belgrave Rd east of Victoria station to check out some more hotels and B&B listed in the travel books. I now have more options when I come back in late July. Once I got down to the Thames I headed north to Victoria St for a walk by Scotland Yard and St James station. From St James station I headed over to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. I wanted to tour the Abbey, but they have short visitor times on Saturday.

From there I headed up Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square. I took in several sites along Whitehall and Haymarket street up to Piccadilly Circus. What made the walk interesting was that many of the streets up to Piccadilly Circus where closed to vehicular traffic today, because of activity by that 40ft mechanical elephant I mentioned yesterday.

My walk included a side trip down to the Thames to get a closer look at Cleopatra's Needle, the Battle of Britain Memorial, and the Victoria Embankment Gardens.

While I was at the Battle of Britain Memorial I ran into some more people from Canada, three young guys from Ontario. They are here visiting as well and are heading to Scotland tomorrow in a rental car. Yesterday I met a girl from Vancouver who was working at the London Eye. She's here on a work visa for a year.

I headed back to my hotel via The Mall just north of St James Park. That took me once again over to Buckingham Palace before return to the Victoria area. I found a great restaurant just north of Victoria station on my way home. It was the best meal I had here so far.

It was still raining by the time I go back to the hotel after dinner, but that's ok because overall I didn't get any wetter than I did just sweating in the last couple days. I sure am glad I brought along my umbrella. I bought that thing over 10 years ago, maybe 15, and it sure paid for itself today.

Well, I think that's about it for today. Tomorrow I'll be up early for the 8am breakfast here at the hotel, then I'll head of to the train station to catch the Eurostar to Paris.

Here's a few pictures from today:

Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps an air-conditioner?

Perhaps an air-conditioner?

Coin operated!

Coin operated!

I didn't figure out what this building was.

unknown building

Scotland yard. Apparently, during the opening ceremonies for this build thieves managed to steal several hundred thousand pounds nearby because all the police where busy attending the opening ceremonies.

Scotland yard

Jewel Tower - the only survivor of the original Palace of Westminster.

Jewel Tower

Part of Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey

Cenotaph on Whitehall.

Cenotaph on Whitehall

Admiralty Arch at the East End of The Mall along St James Park.

Admiralty Arch

Buckingham Palace at the West End of The Mall along St James Park.

Buckingham Palace

St James Park.

St James Park

The 40ft mechanical elephant.

40ft mechanical elephant

Interesting mode of transportation.

Interesting mode of transportation

No. 10 Downing Street. Note the machine gun held by the guy in the middle! They had the same thing over at Buckingham Palace.

No. 10 Downing Street

Cleopatra's Needle.

Cleopatra's Needle

A portion of the Victoria Embankment Gardens.

Victoria Embankment Gardens

A portion of the Battle of Britain Memorial.

Battle of Britain Memorial

West end of St James Park near Buckingham Palace.

West end of St James Park

Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace