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Hanging Out at Trafalgar Square and Chinese Food at Chinatown

* Originally built to commemorate the British naval victory at the Battle of Trafalgar over the forces of Napoleon during the Napoleonic WarsTrafalgar Square is today a bustling public space full of tourists, relaxed Londoners and the occasional protesters. It is also London's main venue for rallies and public celebrations such as the countdown to New Year's Eve.

National Gallery Trafalgar Square

* At the head of the Square stands the neo-classical National Gallery, the fifth most visited art museum in the world, showcasing a collection of paintings dating back to the 13th Century. Among the two thousand paintings featured here, are among those done by the masters: Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, and Van Gogh.


Nelson's Column

* Situated at the center of the square is Nelson's Column, built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson's victory in leading the British Navy against the French at Cape Trafalgar, Spain. How decisive was the battle? Twenty-three British ships sunk thirty-three French and Spanish ships WITHOUT losing a single ship! That's 0-33 people!! Unfortunately Admiral Nelson was mortally wounded in the battle, but that hasn't stopped historians and Britons from referring to him, to this day, as Britain's greatest naval war hero, ever!

St. Martin-In-The-Fields Church

* To the right of the National Gallery is the oddly named, St. Martin-In-The-Fields Church, an Anglican Church dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. Born in Hungary and having lived in Italy and France, Saint Martin is beloved by Europeans all over and is referred to as an example of spirituality rising above cultural differences. Strangely, there was a protest going on that day at the Church's steps wherein the protesters were decrying the treatment of Bradley Manning, the American soldier who released the largest set of classified documents ever leaked to the public via the infamous site, Wikileaks.

Nelson's Column

* At the base of Nelson's Column, are four humongous statues of Lions just chillin' about.  Somehow, children just love climbing Mufasa and Simba!

Trafalgar Square

* Some other sites around Trafalgar Square include: a statue of Sir Henry Havelock (upper left), who served the Crown admirably in India and died in the Siege of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion of 1857; and a giant, blue rooster (top right) standing randomly on one of the prominent columns. Okay... I don't get it....

Trafalgar Square

* Trying out the Panoramic setting of my Lumix Camera by taking this shot of the National Gallery. Not too bad! On that day, a raggae artist was jamming on one side of the steps while beatboxers and breakdancers occupied the other.

Trafalgar Square

*  A kindly old gentleman, walking around with nothing but his shorts, sneakers and purse. Like a boss!!

London Chinatown

* Take a 3 minute walk from Trafalgar Square and you'll find London's Chinatown; a series of streets lined with Chinese restaurants, supermarkets, souvenir shops and random Chinese artifacts, such as this Arch.

London Chinatown

Tokyo Diner.. in Chinatown... makes perfect sense! Strangely enough, there were more Caucasians in this area than Chinese.

London Chinatown

* And an establishment priding itself on being an Award Winning Gay Bar! Take note of the "Licensed to 3AM" sign, as most bars and pubs in London stop serving beer REAL early. I found that lesson out the hard way as I walked around with some colleagues near our hotel looking for a nightcap, without much success.

London Chinatown

* Paradoxically, I found in London REALLY good, authentic Chinese food! I couldn't wrap my head around it until it was explained to me that a lot of Chinese master chefs migrated to the UK, and have been doing so since the early 20th Century; majority of which from Hong Kong, a former British colony.

London Chinatown

* Finally, a genuine, seedy, adult store! Complete with sketchy staircase, dim lighting and graffiti plastered on the walls!

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