London, United Kingdom
September 9, 2015
Copyright © 2016 Douglas Landback
This is one of the first real “landmarks” I came across in London.
I had flown to Heathrow earlier in the day and decided to take a late afternoon reconnaissance mission. A quick lay of the land, so I could hit the ground running the next day.
I walked from my hotel, along the Albert Embankment on the southbank of the Thames, over the Lambeth Bridge. As I arrived on the other side, I looked to my right and was treated to the view in the photo.
The beautiful Victoria Tower at the Palace of Westminster.
Sadly, it’s always been overshadowed by its famous sibling on the northeast end of the building. You know, the one with the big clock on it?
In the foreground of the shot is Victoria Tower Gardens, a public park along the north bank of the river.
The Victoria Tower was originally called “King’s Tower” but was renamed in 1897 in honor of Queen Victoria during her Diamond Jubilee. At 323 ft, the tower is actually seven feet taller than the more famous Elizabeth Tower. You know, the one with the big clock on it?
The Victoria Tower was built to be a fireproof archive for the House of Parliament. The main entrance at the base of the tower is the Sovereign’s Entrance, through which the Queen passes at the State Opening of Parliament. On top of the Victoria Tower is an iron flagpole where they fly the Union Jack or, when the Queen is present in the Palace, the Royal Standard.
From here, my mission took me past the Prime Minister’s office at #10 Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, on route to Covent Gardens where I’d hoped to find dinner. But I was side-tracked by a handful of terrific pubs and made several new friends. By the time I realized what was happening, the pubs closed and the city was suddenly abandoned. I made my way back to my hotel, walking along the Thames, hoping to find something to eat.
The only restaurant I found still open at 10 PM?
Welcome to London, mate. Did you want fries wit’ that?