Friday, October 03, 2014

MillenniuM Dome (O2 Arena)

London The Unfinished City
A new 'Dome of Discovery'.

Friday October 3, 2014.

The MillenniuM Dome, or the O2 Arena as it is currently known, is one of my favourite places, in the Unfinished City. Whether I am there to see a concert or an exhibition, grab a bite to eat or to have a drink, or just to wander around, there is always something to see. 

This shot was taken from the Emirates Air Line, as the sun was setting behind Canary Wharf.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Walking with Family: London Zoo

London The Unfinished City
Asim, a Sumatran Tiger, cuddles his mate.

Wednesday August 20, 2014.

We had been planning to take the girls to ZSL London Zoo for a few weeks and, finally, the day was here.

Erin knew that something was going on, as we had packed all the supplies and were heading towards the station to get the train. Keilyn, meanwhile, was just happy to be in the battlewagon, because she knows that we could be going anywhere.

We arrived at Baker Street station and made our way along Baker Street, and into The Regent's Park. Erin and Keilyn were soon out of the battlewagon and running along the pathway, looking at all of the ducks and geese. We passed the boating lake and followed the path towards Prince Albert Road and the entrance to ZSL London Zoo.

Fortunately, for us, Emma had booked fast-track tickets, so we were able to go straight in, rather than joining the long queue, which was stretching along the road.

On entering we were immediately taken to a green-screen booth, where I photograph was taken which, we were told, would be available at the exit, should we wish to purchase it.

We began our tour by heading through the tunnel and up into the Into Africa zone, where the first animals that the we saw were the Pygmy Hippos and Giraffes, followed by Zebra and Okapi. I had packed Erin's camera and she was quite happy snapping pictures, as we walked around. We decided to sit down and have a bite to eat, while the zoo was still quiet, before continuing on.

We followed the path and passed the African Hunting Dogs before crossing the Regent's Canal and heading into the Snowdon Aviary. We saw Sacred Ibises and Peacocks, before heading off to see the Owls.

From here we crossed back to the zoo proper and went to see the OttersReindeer and Meerkats.

This was followed by a trip in to Rainforest Life, where we saw Two-Toed SlothGolden Lion TamarindsSouthern Tamandua and much more. We then headed downstairs, in to the darkness, where we discovered the Grey Slender Loris, the Naked Mole Rat and lots of Seba's Short-Tailed Bats.

After another bite to eat, we headed to the off to the Outback to see the Red Kangaroos, before seeing the Komodo Dragons and Dirk, the Galapagos Tortoise, and his family.

Then we headed into the Gorilla Kingdom, where we saw Diana MonkeysColobos Monkeys and the Western Lowland Gorillas, amongst others.

Then we went off to see the King Vultures, Caracaras and other birds of prey.

Then it was time to see the Humboldt Penguins at Penguin Beach.

Then it was on to the Macaws and Toucans, in the Blackburn Pavilion, before heading in to the Animal Adventure, where we saw CoatisMeerkats (again) and Aadvarks.

Since the weather had turned quite hot, we bought the girls an ice cream each, before heading off to see the LlamasCamels and Tapirs. This led us quite pleasantly to Tiger Territory, where the Sumatran Tigers were basking in the sun.

CheetahsGibbonsMacaquesServalsFlamingos were seen, but the Lions remained elusive to us, as we made our way towards the zoo shop.

We spent what seemed like an eternity looking around, before Erin and Keilyn chose a Peruvian drum each and, since Erin had been fascinated with the Giraffe, we purchased her a stuffed one, too.

Passing toward the exit we noticed the Magic Memories Photo Stall, so popped in to see how our photo had come out. The lady showed us all our photographs, with the green-screen replaced by MeerkatsGorillasPenguins and Tigers. These came in a glossy album, which also contained six smaller photos and a key ring and fridge magnet kit. All ours for just £20. So, we bought them.

Leaving ZSL London Zoo we headed through The Regent's Park, making our way through the Avenue Gardens and back to Baker Street station.

We managed to catch a semi-fast train home and arrived just after 6 o'clock. Surprisingly, considering how long we had been out, the girls were still wide awake, whereas Emma and I were both exhausted. Once the girls were in bed, though, they were soon snoring in unison, leaving Emma and myself to have some dinner, before having an early night.

It was a fantastic if long day, but well worth it. We will be visiting ZSL London Zoo again, next year, to see all the things that we missed out on this trip; The Aquarium, Reptile House, Butterfly Paradise, Bugs and Meet the Monkeys.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

William Huskisson

London The Unfinished City
The World's first person to be killed by a railway locomotive.
Saturday March 8, 2014.

It was during a walk from Battersea to Westminster that I spotted this statue of a man dressed in a toga. The dates on the statue, however, didn't explain why this figure should be dressed in Roman garb, so I decided to do some research. I can still not work out why he is depicted in this way.

Millbank Prison

London The Unfinished City
From Here to Australia.

Saturday March 8, 2014.

It was during one of my wanders along the north bank, of the River Thames, from Battersea to Westminster, that I spotted this bollard. The inscription, read...

"Near this site stood Millbank Prison which was opened in 1816 and
 closed in 1890. This buttress stood at the head of the river steps
 from which, until 1867, prisoners sentenced to transportation
 embarked on their journey to Australia."

Intrigued, I was determined to find out more.

London Peace Pagoda

London The Unfinished City
Peace in our Time.
Saturday March 8, 2014.

Having never visited Battersea Park, I couldn't wait to see the place for myself. It was a warm Spring afternoon when I finally reached my destination, where I took many photographs, from various angles. But, in the end, it was the image above, which was the first one I took, that I liked the most. The light and vibrancy of the colours really gave the area a serene feel, considering the bustle of joggers, dog walkers and fitness fanatics that were all around me.

Westminster Cathedral

London The Unfinished City
As yet, unfinished.

Saturday March 8, 2014.

Westminster Cathedral is one of those places, in the Unfinished City, that I had heard a lot about, but had never visited. So I rectified that by paying it a visit. As it is a working Cathedral there are services running, so it is worth picking a suitable time ti visit.

The exterior of the building is impressive, but doesn't look intimidating, as it stands at the back of a small plaza.

However, once inside, you begin to feel dwarfed by the sheer scale of the building, which is cavernous. The ceiling, which seems to be hidden in a small haze, caused by the smoke from a multitude of candles, seems further away than the altar. And the pillars, which are covered in marble at their lower region, barely seem strong enough to hold up the massive triple-domed roof.

There is also an amazing model of the Cathedral and an exhibition that shows some some religious artefacts that have been acquired by the cathedral, since it opened.

A trip up to the top of the bell tower allows you to see London in all of its glory, that easily rival those of the more popular tourist sights.