Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One Last London Walk

This past weekend was our last in our London flat! We will check out of our apartment this Friday and head to Sue and Mark's for a brief stint before setting off on our European adventure. I wanted to take advantage of the weekend and check off one last must-do activity in London - visiting Borough Market. David and I set off first thing on Sunday morning and hopped on the train to London Bridge station.

The weather on Sunday was absolutely beautiful; sunny and temperate all day. David and I were feeling pretty cocky, until we arrived at Borough Market and discovered it's totally closed on Sundays. This would have been sad if it wasn't so funny, how unlike us it is not to check something like that beforehand. Sigh!

Borough Market. FYI - closed on Sundays.
Ah well, it was a beautiful day and we were together in central London. We decided to do one of our little walks around the area and just enjoy the city. We walked along the Thames toward Millennium Bridge, and decided (on my request) to cross it and walk back toward Tower Bridge, which I hadn't crossed before.  London was feeling surprisingly calm and quiet at this time of the weekend, and we drank it in as the sun shone down on our grateful vitamin-D-deficient faces.

David in front of the Tate Modern.

I've probably taken this same photo five times but I don't care!

Little house front near Shakespeare's Globe.

The Millennium Bridge looking toward St. Paul's - doesn't it look like the waters parting?

Another photo I never get tired of taking.
Fountain near St. Paul's

Midway through our walk we came upon the Monument, Christopher Wren's commemoration of the 1666 fire that destroyed most of the city. The Monument is supposed to mark the spot where the fire started, in that if you laid it down on its side (not sure this has ever been attempted) its point would touch the spot where the fire began.

We saw people up at the observatory at the top, and decided to do the climb ourselves and take in the city. It was 311 steps to the top!

In you go!
Ten steps down, 301 to go...
 After conquering the narrow staircase we were treated to some wonderful views of London. It really is neat seeing a city from high up - I guess I have done this from the CN Tower in Toronto, the Eiffel Tower and Sacré Coeur in Paris, and now in London. It's striking how different the character of each different city is. London's architecture is so eclectic, drawn from so many different time periods. It's very noticeable from above, and yet at ground level it has a kind of harmony about it.

The as-yet-unfinished Shard.
The Gherkin
Back down we go!
After that we continued on our way towards Tower Bridge, passing by the Tower of London as we went.

The infamous Traitor's Gate!

Tower Bridge - one of my favourite features of London's cityline
 I was actually really excited to have the chance to cross Tower Bridge and see it up close. After a year of living here, I think my favourite city view is Tower Bridge from London Bridge, in the evening when it's dark and the city is lit up. Amazing. This view was quite different, beautiful sunshine and happy tourists wandering along (lots of joggers too), as the modern cars zipped across this very "historical"-looking bridge.

Under the bridge, about to climb the stairs onto it.

London City Hall behind the girders of Tower Bridge.

By then we were about ready to head home (back to reality and more packing!) We stopped off briefly for a coffee and croissant at Pret. David was pleased with himself because he found us the perfect table, half-and-half sun and shade - sun for me, shade for him.

I will miss playing tourist in London! As of Friday we will once again be "homeless," but of course I'm looking forward to our next adventure.

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