This time I planned just my first stops and figured out the rest during my stay. When I arrived there this is what I had on my list to visit:
- Tower Bridge
- London Eye
- Battersea Power Station
The first 2 are those must-go attractions, which are kind of hard to miss if you are in central London anyway, so I just visited them the afternoon I arrived. Because it takes long to get dark this time of the year, it would be difficult to make those gorgeous night shots of these points with their illuminations, I didn't even take equipment for night shots, so I didn't care much.
The Battersea Power Station, for those who don't know, is that coal power station featured in Pink Floyd's album Animals, and in other bands' albuns as well. It is at Nine Elms, there is a bus stop in front of it and a metro station 5 minutes walking. You can see it from many points of the city, but arriving there and facing that gigantic structure that I saw the first time in Animals cover, it was amazing. Too bad I didn't know it is going through a large rebuild process, all 4 immense chimneys are being replaced 1 by 1, so until Spring 2016 you will see the station with 3 of them in place. Being there was great, but I didn't really make the photographs I wanted because it is better from a far distance and preferably from a high place. Too much construction stuff around it. Then I stopped at a nice pub because I was starving, and it turned out to be the best decision. The pub was awesome, I made some shots that I really liked, food was great, but better than this, the crew allowed me to go to their second floor to photograph the station from a higher ground. Better than previous shots, yes, but still, a lot of construction stuff, so it means I have to return next year.
I also took my time to go to the infamous Abbey Road at the exact crossing where The Beatles made that photograph. Needless to say that it is a busy street with lots of people trying to make that shot and many cars without much patience to wait. Stay in the middle of the street and you will be ran over, and it is difficult to get a clean shot without cars during work hours. The Abbey Road Studio is right there, nothing really fancy on it except for its outter walls painted by fans with all sorts of homage, and of course, a nice "Abbey Road Studios" sign. Not much to say about being near the place where so many legends recorded some of the most important pieces of music history.
Still in the music subject, I also visited Earl's Court where Pink Floyd played some memorable concerts (in fact there is a metro station there), also visited Hammersmith where Iron Maiden played important concerts more than 30 years ago (there is also a metro station). Being there was just awesome, for a fan like me of course.
Other places I've been were Wembley, Liverpool, Wimbledon, for obvious reasons. You have to plan your route carefully because they are far from each other, during the weekend the metro/underground paths are changed and it is easy to waste hours figuring out which path to take. Oh, the tour buses, yes, there are many of them and each company offers different packages. By the time I took one of these buses, I had already visited most of what I wanted, and other places I just didn't waste time because I can do in another opportunity. Some museums, monuments, the Buckingham Palace, I haven't been to these because I had more interesting stuff to do.
It wasn't a complete waste of money since it had the Thames River boat ride included, which I did the next day. At the last boat stop I went to Greenwich and the Navy University, which have historical importance and the vast majority of tourists just overlook. This is what I avoided: focusing on those cliché tourist points because London has so much more than just that bridge and a big wheel.
Pubs, yes, I've been to a few good ones, and even bought Iron Maiden's beer The Trooper at a Sainsbury near my hotel. Baker Street, where Sherlock Holme's statue is where once was a local police headquarters. I also ate some good food at a japanese and italian restaurants when I was finished with visiting all I wanted. Spending time with locals also allowed me to make some photographs I wanted, and man, those metro stations are great for everyday action.
That's it for now, guys. I will be uploading a video I shot during the boat ride at Thames River and let everyone know. Of course London is an immense city that can't be properly enjoyed in just 3 or 4 days, but now that I have seen a lot of what I wanted, I will return again to see some museums, enjoy a bit more the food and drinks, and the Battersea Power Station finished... this time with a film camera.
As for equipment, I took just my trusty travel kit consisting of a Nex 7 with a 35mm, 2 batteries, 2 memory cards, charger and cleaning kit. I used to leave the hotel at 8am and return at 10pm, so a small kit is always a good option for long walks like I do when exploring. I will post a few pics soon.