My visit has come to and end, but it was a bit hectic over the last few days. I finished the business part of the trip last Wednesday, so I decided to go to Paris for a couple of days (I didn’t leave for Perth until Sunday). Well it was cold in London so I thought if I went further south it would get warmer.
That wasn’t clever thinking. It got down to -6 and the wind chill made it worse.
In spite of that Paris is a beautiful place. No-one worried about my camera and whenever I asked if it was OK to take photos they were genuinely surprised that I asked – go ahead they said with a smile. The only place I wasn’t allowed to take photos was in some exhibitions in the Louvre – but everywhere else in the Louvre was OK and that was 99.9% of it.
Even if I wasn’t allowed to take any photos Paris is amazing – just gorgeous. The traffic is breathtaking, the taxi drivers managed to turn 10 Euro fares into 25, the parking is a nightmare (you park where you can and no-one seems to mind) but the atmosphere of Paris is captivating. The cafes, the streets and alleys, but most of all the architecture. The consistent style everywhere – 6 stories, limestone and the wide streets just made for pavement cafes. In summer it would be even better, as over the time I was there the cold was bitter (and I was getting used to English weather).
So a big tick to France for being sensible – I didn’t see a No Photography sign until I got back to England.
On the first night I was in Paris I went out to the Arc De Triomphe (photos later). I could see the Eiffel Tower all lit up, so I walked in that direction until I found it. I went to the top, and the views were superb. However it was freezing cold at the top. The wind was about 15 knots and with the temp around -2 my hands became painful after a couple of minutes taking photos. Later I was buying something and my fingers wouldn’t work to get the right notes out of my wallet!
I am near Birmingham for a few days and went into the city centre to look around. Here is an image from a shopping centre. (I MUST go in on Monday and get a pass – but the security guard didn’t ask me to delete the photos I had taken).
I went up to Oxford today – the weather was dreary with constant drizzle. Somehow since I was last in this part of the world those in charge of these classic buildings seem to have got the idea that either people with nice cameras are either terrorists or that they intend to make money out of their photographs and that they would like a share of that. So in place after place they let people take photos with their iPhones, but took one look at me and said “you must apply for permission to use that in here”.
On the weekend I went back to London and managed to go inside Westminster Abbey and St Pauls Cathedral. Unfortunately photography isn’t allowed, so I couldn’t get any photos. Last time I was there was 30 years ago and at that time photography was allowed! Both these places are spectacular. The history in Westminster Abbey is almost beyond comprehension, and it is spectacularly beautiful. You have to be careful when you use such extreme descriptions because when you encounter something even better what do you say. And St Paul’s is even more beautiful.
As I couldn’t take any photos I have to show something from outside. Here is St Paul’s and the Millenium Bridge. The sun cooperated and lit up the cathedral at just the right time.