London - Towers and Tubes
Trip Start May 30, 2012
83Trip End Nov 07, 2012
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The next day was gorgeous, so we set off for a day outside. Most of the really iconic things to see in London are relatively close to each other along the River Thames. So we made use of our sunny day and saw as many of them as we could. It was a lovely walk that started at London Bridge and headed toward Tower Bridge. London Bridge was built and rebuilt several times before. The current bridge is made of concrete and steel, but before that it had been a stone-arch, a medieval structure, and a few timber bridges. The first one of the timber bridges was built by the Romans back when London was founded. Kind of anti-climactic when you see it now, because it is a regular vehicular traffic concrete bridge. Maybe decades from now, people will look back at the ancient concrete bridges and wonder at their antiqueness. Tower bridge on the other hand, is very much all it's cracked up to be. Although very stunning to see from affar, I think Tower Bridge is best appreciated by walking across it. Crazy detail and a very clever design. Just across Tower Bridge on the north side is the Tower of London. This castle used to be the royal residence and now is the home of the Crown Jewels. We could see the castle without going in and the price was a bit high to go in, so we opted out of this one. That's ok because later in the week I saw the Lego version of the Crown Jewels at Hamley's toy store
From London Tower we walked east and zig-zagged across the river. The different areas we passed were so diverse and unique. There was a section all business-like with modern looking buildings and art sculptures, and then there was an area with markets, any kind of restaurant you want, and a skate park with graffiti art everywhere. Also along our stroll was Shakespeare's Globe. This is a reconstructed theatre 750 feet from the original Globe Theatre where Shakespeare's plays were held. And finally, we kept going east until we hit the London Eye (a big ferris wheel), Big Ben, and the Parliament Buildings. Quite a sight these were! Again, stunning from afar, but not truely appreciated until you are close up to see the detail. Of course West Minster Abbey was a must see since it was across the street from the Parliament Buildings. We didn't think it was as impressive as Big Ben though. If that wasn't enough excitement for one day, we went home to make an Indian food feast for Heston and Lydia. Soon after we got home, the door bell rang with the sound of many childrens' voices outside the door. We soon became quite familiar with this sound as it happened a few times throughout the time we stayed at Heston and Lydia's place in Lewisham. It was the neighborhood kids wanting to come in and hang out for a bit. Heston and Lydia have been blessed with a very nice narrow, multi-leveled house with extra room for couch surfers and visits from the nieghborhood kids. The ground floor room turns into a kids' games/hang out room when the kids come a-knocking
We really wanted to check out another Hillsong Service after the one we went to in Paris. So after our morning Lewisham church meeting, we travelled across town to Tottenham Court Road, to a small music theatre to participate in a Hillsong London service. Even though there were tons of people there, we still felt very welcome and made a couple new friends. One of the songs we sang was the same one we sang in Paris, "Lord of All." We got back on the Tube and headed home to hang with our hosts. Speaking of the Tube, it's great! You can get pretty much anywhere you want to go in London by using the underground metro (the Tube) or the overground train. You always have to stay on your toes though, as there are so many options and signs to pay attention to. On weekends, there is always "scheduled engineering work," and some of the lines are closed. It's always fun listening to the announcments (sarcasm), trying to hear if the line we had to take was closed
Lots more about London to come in part two.