Thursday, January 27, 2011
London Bridge is Falling Down
Our Sunday in London was just as busy as our Saturday. We spent the morning walking along the River Thames to the famous Tower Bridge (the boring flat bridge next to Tower Bridge is the London Bridge from Roman times (though built up several times since then). First stop on our tour up the Thames was a glance at Big Ben, the Parliament and Westminster Abbey, all lined up in a Gothic row. (Our time in London was spent doing "free sights" so we didn't go in the Abbey for a hefty £16 each!).
Next along, we poked our nose into Somerset House and watched some kids skating in the courtyard. It's an interesting building... because back-in-the-day the Thames was much higher and the house was built with waterways into the main house. We then crossed over the millennium bridge (a footbridge, very much like the millennium bridge in Dublin... wonder who came first?) to the Tait gallery. My eco-revival senses are tickled by the Tait as it is clearly located in a disused power station! Right next door is a Disneyland version of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (meaning totally mock made, but in the likeness of the original). And right next door to that is the a replica of Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hinde warship (tourist central?)
From there we followed our foodie noses to the Borough Market... which, unfortunately, is closed on Sundays... but it got us in the hood of the Claire new office location (they move in next week). So we went for a look, only to discover that the numbers on Blackfriars jump from 40, to 5, completely skipping over Claire's building, #15. Perhaps it's a Harry Potter building and Claire just needs the secret words to be passed down from Steven Harper?
Back on the Thames we felt a bit of home, viewing the Olympic flag that once graced Vancouver City Hall now out in front of the very modern London City Hall. And at last... Tower Bridge. Like many tourists, Nikolai was convinced that Tower Bridge was the London Bridge of yore and was greatly interested in inspecting the craftsmanship of the "Brick and Stone" verse of the song. Whilst the adults enjoyed the cute neighbourhood, and another attempt at finding Claire's missing office building. No luck... even though we must have walked past it at least twice!
The afternoon was spent at the Museum of London. Highly, highly recommended. Even Nikolai loved it... and we all only made it to the Victorian era before burning out (spent only 15 min in the prehistoric period, but over 2 hours in the Romans to the Victorian era). We'll definitely be going back to finish the second half of the museum. It has a great explanation of the history of the city. I would have liked to have seen more about the plagues and the great fire, but I was the Nikolai wrangler during that section so we spent the time rocking out a harpsichord.
In the evening we went for dinner in Chinatown (smaller than Victoria's) and walked through Piccadilly Circus (sorry no clowns) on our way back to the hotel.
So two days in London, £0 spent on sights, and a toddler in tow; I think we did pretty well! And we certainly have a firm mental map of the city for the next time we visit Claire!
The photos are of the Tower Bridge and the Globe Theatre. We didn't bring a buggy, so we took turns with the carrier. In these photos Claire's wearing my baby-carrying sweater, and I've got her coat on.