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Big Boy at Big Ben, Parliament and Whitehall

Across the river from the London Eye stands Westminster, England's political and religious center. Since the 11th Century, Westminster has proudly been the center of power for the English people from the moment King Canute built his palace here and his successor, Edward the Confessor, founded Westminster Abbey right beside it. On a regular day, expect to see crowds of civil servants and tourists coexisting in this tiny yet hallowed area.

Parliament Square

* Taken from Parliament Square is this shot of Parliament on the right and the Norman Shaw Buildings, the original site of the famous Scotland Yard synonymous with Sherlock Holmes and detective work, on the left.


Palace of Westminster

* The Palace of Westminster, more well known as Parliament, is the seat of government of the United Kingdom, housing (no pun intended) both the House of Commons (lower house) and House of Lords (upper house).

Big Ben

* One of London's most well-known symbols, Big Ben, is actually a tower in Parliament known officially as the Elizabeth Tower. While still used as a working clock, one could easily mistake Big Ben's main function as a backdrop for movies set in London. (Seriously! It's in almost every film set in England.)

Parliament

* Built by Canute the Great as his royal palace, the original Westminster was lost in a fire in 1834 and thus subsequently rebuilt to its present form. Inspired by the neo-gothic movement, the current building looks very imposing with its golden-yellow hue and "spiky" spires.

Parliament

* Here's my obligatory hero shot in front of the Palace with my "no-nonsense non-smiling pout."

Westminster Bridge

* A statue set by the Westminster Bridge, connecting Parliament Square to the London Eye area, which looks uncannily like the Statue of Liberty riding a chariot whilst holding a spear...

London Eye

A view of the London Eye, this time from the other side of the river. Check-out the long queue on the dock! Must be a river cruise or something.

Sir Winston Churchill

* While I hardly recognized the names of the other statues honored around Parliament Square, I was glad to run into this Godfather-era-Marlon-Brando-lookalikeSir Winston Churchill, easily one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th Century and arguably the most famous British prime minister ever.

HM Treasury

* The main thoroughfare running through Westminster is known as Whitehall. Lined with government departments and ministries, Whitehall is recognized as the center of Her Majesty's Government. Pleasantly, the first building I see along this street is the James Bond MI6 looking, HM Treasury!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech at work!! This being a protest against a supposed atrocity by the Indian Government. I reluctantly took a pamphlet and gave a polite nod to the revolutionists.

Monty Montgomery

* Aside from containing government buildings, Whitehall is lined with a good number of memorial statues and war monuments. I was excited to see this one of Field Marshal Bernard "Monty" Montgomery, war hero of the WWII African front, rival of the equally legendary German General Erwin Rommel, as well as commander of all Allied ground forces during the Battle of Normandy. However, I will always remember Monty as my commanding officer in one of the first Call of Duty games.. before they became a gazillion-selling series!

Downing Street

* Continuing my walk down Whitehall, I happened to pass by this heavily armed gate with tough, "take no prisoners"-type of men.

Downing Street

* It was when I looked up that I realized that this was in fact Downing Street, known affectionately as the home of Hugh Grant or the British Prime Minister, which ever one is currently in power!

Downing Street

* I tried to get a good photo of the area but security has done a good job of making the whole place instagram-proof!

Churchill War Rooms

* One of the great things about going on walks is finding interesting locales of historical significance; like this Arc de Triomphe looking structure which actually is the entrance to the Churchill War Rooms, the friggin' center of British defense and Allied offense during World War II.

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