An afternoon and three evenings in London

I arrived in London on a rainy morning after a red-eye flight. My hotel wasn’t ready yet, so I dropped my bags off with the concierge and took a walk. That was the theme of my stay in London as after work each evening I would drop my bag off at the room and go for another walk, usually in a different direction to check out a different neighborhood.

When you’re walking solo, it’s easy to cover a lot of ground. On the first day, I headed towards Parliament, Big Ben, and The Victoria Tower Gardens.

When I crossed the river, I was immediately greeted with the most British of signs.

And of course, no trip to London would be complete without a photo of a red double-decker bus.

Around the corner from my hotel, I saw something new to me; a rack of bicycles available for rent. Every morning, the rack was nearly empty and in the evenings it would fill up again.

I couldn’t resist a photograph of this guy — his hair matches his shoes.

After a rainy start to the week, I was presented with two perfect evenings of warm temperatures, sunshine, and blue skies. I took advantage and strolled around Southbank enjoying the street performers and musicians.

This shot makes me think “Mark Twain.” OK – wrong country & all, but the mood just fits.

While walking along the south bank, watching the skateboarders, a little girl came up to me and asked to have her photo taken. I obliged and showed her the result. Her mother was calling for her to return but she gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek before she ran off.

On the second sunny evening, I walked toward Trafalgar Square and then over to Covent Garden to enjoy more street performers like Tom.

This guy was impressive; he had an audience member hold his arms out in a circle for a long time. During this time, he was sizing up position, height, etc. acting like he was going to jump through it. Two of the other performers I had watched earlier had a part of their act where they said they were going to run around the circle and jump up onto something, but both ended up with a humorous execution of some sort. I figured this guy was going to do the same thing, but no, he up and jumped through the guy’s arms without so much as brushing them.

Stylistically, I had some fun with HDR photography and wide angle lenses – two things I don’t use that often.

I don’t do a lot of traveling, but I’d go back to London in a heartbeat; it’s a great city.

Nature Photograph

Lake Champlain or Icelandic hot spring?

The Burlington Free Press recently posted an article about algae growth in Lake Champlain triggered by the recent heat wave and lack of winds.  As soon as I saw their photos of milky-blue water, I was transported back more than 4 years to a quick trip we took to Iceland.  On the day we arrived (on the red eye from Kennedy airport) we booked an afternoon at the Blue Lagoon to relax in the hot springs and try to recuperate for the next three days. When we arrived at the spa, the water rendered us speechless.

The next day we toured around and saw some of the other natural hot springs that are close to Reykjavík. Amazingly, many of these other pools of water had similarly mystical colors. The second shot below doesn’t really capture the vibrancy of the water – it almost glowed when contrasted to the yellow/gray rocks surrounding it.

Incidentally, if you’re headed to Iceland I recommend taking a half day or so at the Blue Lagoon to adjust.  Heck, if you’ve got a layover in Keflavik, I believe they run shuttle busses for those folks that want a quick dip or massage.  If you’re staying a few hours, though, why not just extend your trip and stay the weekend or longer.  Iceland was wonderful to us and we’d go back again in a heartbeat.