After watching the Trooping I followed the Mall to Trafalgar Square, passing under the imposing Admiralty Arch. The Chinese name of this building might have originated in the Qing Dynasty, given the archaic terms (水師提督門, or Gate of the Captain General of the Marine Force).
I didn’t stay long at the square as I would return again. I did spend some time admiring the massive Nelson’s Column. Erected in 1843 to commemorate Horatio Nelson’s death in the Battle of Trafalgar, the column is now London’s most popular sports climbing place. Not a minute went by without some tourists struggling to climb onto the massive base to take pictures of themselves riding the lions, despite the obvious risk. Even today, Lord Nelson still inspires courage.
There was also a mounted cop and people were trying to touch the horse. I’d never touched a horse before and it felt like suede.
I then took the tube back to the hotel for check-in. In the station, I saw some used coffee cups on a handrail (and missing a Cafe de Coral cup):
How can one not love a city where even littering is done with such style?
There was also a sign telling people not to urinate in the station. It’s hard to believe there are people who actually do such thing. A man saw me photographing the sign and we exchanged a knowing smile.
Borough Market is a trendy food market south of the Thames, and where I had my lunch.
The market is beneath railroad tracks and provides lots of nice photo opportunities. If only I had more time…
It wasn’t big but there were so many new things to try, including some deep-fried Turkish snacks and a creamy Spanish dessert. I also had an ostrich burger, which was recommended by a tourist’s review. It was dismal. The bun was cold and the meat bland. The sauteed scallops from another stall, however, were very good – juicy and tender:
This man makes wonderful, aromatic mushroom pate. Unfortunately it was also very perishable so I couldn’t bring any home.
I then bought a pint of cider and walked along the Thames to Tate Modern, a museum of modern arts. The cold drink, river view and breeze provided much needed invigoration, because jet lag had begun to set in.
My stay at Tate Modern was a brief one as I was totally exhausted and couldn’t understand modern arts anyway. The building itself, converted from an old power plant, was more interesting:
The cafe on the top floor has amazing view of St. Paul’s Cathedral:
I then crossed the Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s Cathedral. On the St. Paul side, there was a street painter working on a large picture:
I wonder if he needed official permission to do that, as he was occupying quite a lot of pedestrian space. I’m asking because some years ago, an artist in Hong Kong was told he could not paint on the street because his easel was a “hazard” to passers-by. This caused an outcry and many critisied the Hong Kong government for being unsupportive of arts. It’d be interesting to know and compare the two cities’ policies in this regard.
I then took the bus to Marble Arch, where I bought some supplies at Marks & Spencer. M&S Simply Food would become my favorite place to hang out because standing between two rows of refrigerators was the closest form of air-conditioning I could get, in a city where air-conditioning is woefully absent.
I was too tired at that point and had absolutely no appetite for dinner. Soon after returning to the hotel I collapsed in bed and drifted to sleep, ending my first day in London.