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Friday, May 21, 2010

A Walk on the Wild Side

We went on a walk south of the Thames last Saturday. It began at the Tower Bridge, a site we have seen before but I love to see over and over. It’s been around since 1894 and was originally brown in color, which I thought was rather interesting. I think brown would not be very pleasing as a color…they repainted it red, white, and blue in 1977 for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, so that’s why we see it as it is today. I would really like to see the center of the bridge go up to let a ship through, but I have not yet have that experience. We crossed the bridge and saw the City Hall (see picture at left) where the London Assembly meets and where the mayor’s office is located. In the Thames we saw the HMS Belfast (see picture to right), which I had never noticed before (something that baffles me, considering how large it is and how many times I’ve been to this area). It’s a World War II battleship that served throughout the entire war and is open to visitors. How cool is that? We didn’t go in though…at least not this time. We instead went to Tooley Street and walked past some museums that looked more like haunted houses than museums, like the London Dungeon (see picture to right). It was rather amusing – they had this stage where they were pretending to chop off a bystander’s head and the guy who was running the whole thing was speaking in some devilish growly voice. We then approached Borough High Street and found our way into Borough Market, where (as I already stated in a previous post) I was able to eat ostrich and kangaroo burgers. There was tons of amazing food there. Right next to the market is Southwark Cathedral. Though it was extremely loud outside, as soon as we walked into the cathedral there was absolute silence. I love the cathedrals here. I keep thinking what it would be like if our church constructed such buildings. They’re quite amazing – I love stained glass windows. We continued on down and saw a replica of the Golden Hine (see picture at left), the ship that Sir Francis Drake sailed around the world in – I want to play on it really badly, but that wasn’t allowed. So we kept walking and we found the Clink Prison Museum, which also looked more like a haunted house than a museum. We next passed the Globe, where we are going to see Macbeth next week (yay!), and then the Millennial Bridge (see picture at right) which I learned was opened then closed for renovations because it swayed when people walked on it – scary! We passed the Tate Modern, which I intend on coming back to soon to look at in more detail, mostly to see some Andy Warhol work. Further down the Thames we found the South Bank Centre and an open air second book market. They had so many books – I wanted to stay there for much longer than we could. We passed the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the National Theatre, and the National Film Theatre which I am interested in returning to sometime. There are noon concerts at the Royal Festival Hall which I think would be fun to attend. We finished our little tour by walking across Hungerford Bridge which was originally an unsuccessful pedestrian toll bridge. There are actually two Hungerford Bridges – the other one is up by the London Eye. They were originally supposed to be connected, but that probably won’t ever happen.

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