Local Tourist

Trip Start Aug 01, 2012
Trip End Aug 15, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, August 6, 2012

After a day of recovering from Super Saturday, which was followed by the Bolt seen around the world, I felt it was time to do some proper tourism in London. The best place I felt to begin was where we'd left off on Sunday: Tower Bridge. During our walk on Saturday night, it became clear that probably the best place to see Tower Bridge was actually from London Bridge, so that was my starting off point.

Don’t ask me why, but on coming out of London Bridge station, I happened to look up and was amazed to see 'The Shard’. Now, I should say that normally London Bridge is just a connection for me to go to Charing Cross. I never actually leave the station itself. So when I asked about The Shard, I don’t know why I should have been surprised to find out that it had been started some 5 years ago – I must have been past it several times completely oblivious to what was going on.

The Shard was only completed 4 or 5 months ago and has 72 floors, making it 309.6 metres tall, making it the tallest building in Europe. And an impressive building it is too. It completely dominates the London skyline, unsurprisingly. Next up was a back along the river to Tower Bridge, passing HMS Belfast on the way. Tower Bridge looked almost as good as it did on Saturday night, but the illumination at night adds a certain je ne sais quoi.

This short walk along the Southwark Bank brings you to what I call The Egg or to give it its proper title City Hall. I’d often glimpsed it between buildings, usually from a train, but I’d never actually seen it properly (Saturday night doesn’t count). It’s surprisingly small, but it is a very funky building, but what else can be expected from a Norman Foster design?

A few photos later and wary that my camera battery was running low, I headed back to London Bridge, crossed over to the North Bank and followed the Thames Path to the Embankment Tube Station. It was a leisurely walk, but I have to say I was knackered by the end; the total distance was approximately 3 miles, not much by most people’s standards, but for me, it might as well have been a marathon. However, it did give me the chance to be a proper tourist, allowing me to take in The Gherkin, Southwark Cathedral, The Millennium Bridge, The Tate Modern, St. Paul’s, The South Bank and Blackfriars. Unfortunately my camera battery finally gave out at the Millennium Bridge, which meant that my sightseeing was effectively over.

I wasn’t able to take a photo of what seems to be the best located school in the whole country – The City Of London School, which is on the Thames sandwiched between St. Paul’s behind it and The Tate Modern in front on the opposite bank of the river. Nor was I able to take a photo of an old-fashioned police box, a sort of mini Tardis, if you will (although I did try, unsuccessfully, with my iPod).

The weather had been typically British; patchy sunshine, showers and eventually overcast – but I have to admit, London is a beautiful city.
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