A Bit of the Unusual in London

When traveling, most people take pictures of their family in front of famous sites. I may do that, but I always seem to notice the not so ordinary things that intrigue me. Some are funny, some are unusual, and some are just strange.

On Leake Street near the Waterloo Station in London is the fantastic London Grafitti Tunnel. Apparently, it is an old traffic tunnel that has been changed into a footpath where grafitti is encouraged.

We were looking for a store and turned down Leake Street and I have to admit I thought it was a bad idea at first going through the tunnel. But then I saw some of the art on the walls and there were several artists working, a video being shot, and a photo shoot with models on the other end. This is a busy place with lots to see and it makes you want to join in. We even saw a family with young children who had their spray paint cans out “tagging.” This is what it looks like when you approach the entrance to the tunnel. You may feel like running in the other direction, but don’t. Wander in and enjoy the free art. Famous yet reclusive grafitti artist, Banksy, had an exhibition in the tunnel and celebrities like Brad Pitt and Christina Aguilera now collect his works. Click on this link to see a video clip of the tunnel and story.

Have you ever felt like sometimes you are the only one that notices things or that something always seems to show up wherever you go? For me, it’s Subway. Despite the fact that there is a Subway practically down the street from me, I can’t stop seeing them whenever I travel. It was bad enough to see McDonald’s infiltrate the European landscape and then Starbucks, but now Subway? I’m not picking on Subway and I don’t mind them when all I have is $5 at the bottom of my purse, but it’s not the first place I pick to go eat when I am thinking of a meal.

While riding the bus throughout London and feeling quite cold, but still snapping photos, I took a picture of this before I realized what it was. Yes, it is a very large bronze statue of a horse’s head in Marble Arch. Part of a large refurbishment of the area that cost £2 million in 2009, I wonder why no one considered how alarming this might look to say everyone or that one might think Tony Soprano had something to do with it.

A nice surprise was Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle that occupies the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. A scale replica of HMS Victory, it will be on display for 18 months (beginning May 2010) and we were lucky enough to see it. Who doesn’t marvel at a ship in a bottle, but one this size is an amazing feat to say the least.

As a lover of words and writing, I love reading signs whenever I travel. We were stopped at a light when I took a picture of this sign and as hard as I tried, I still didn’t understand what it meant. A little bit of research unveiled from this site that this is being done to reduce air pollution in London. Genius idea!

While walking along the Thames at night, we came across the London Eye Christmas Market. Although I will write more about that tomorrow, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this sign. I love British humor, especially when I realized that you could friend them on Facebook and it would say that I was now friends with “Well Hung and Tender.” This is a legitimate company that has raised top quality cattle for generation and started selling directly to the public in 2001. They sell top quality, grass-fed beef. Hungry yet?

As a non-meat eater, I embraced England as a fairly new vegetarian back in the day because they didn’t just accommodate me, they made food accessible and enjoyable. On this visit it was no different although I still wonder about this product at an Iceland store.

Tomorrow I’ll wrap up London before we head off to Spain. I could go on for days about my love for England and share the hundreds of pictures I took, but I won’t do that. You can thank me later. In the meantime…