Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Walking London

The Tower Bridge - with bus!
Our favorite part of the trip was the walking! We walked just about everywhere we went, whether it was along the river or just to the local Underground station. We explored many restaurants in the area where we were staying, including fabulous Thai, Mexican, Indian, and up-scale fusion restaurants. Fabulous food everywhere we went, in fact I’d probably say it’s a good thing that we are not living there because it would be way too easy to just want to out to eat every day.

A view of the old tower area as well
as the new "Shard" behind it.
Spent the first day walking along the Thames River, heading out across the new “London Bridge” (the original now resides in Lake Havasu, Arizona – obviously somebody had money to waste) and then on to the much more picturesque Tower Bridge. Spent the morning going through the Tower of London, a grand palace that has served as a royal residence, a zoo, as well as a prison for various famous (or notorious) historical figures. Most of the various monarchs expanded and built upon it, changing or embellishing upon the basic layout. They did, of course, highlight the various torture techniques used as well as information about the various prisoners and mysteries that passed through its walls.

Big Ben
We wandered along the banks of the river, getting numerous views of the famous Big Ben clock tower and the House of Parliament. Never realized that the name actually refers to one particular bell…the one that chimes the hour. There are actually 5 bells lodged in the top of the tower with the other 4 used for the quarter hours.

Eye of London
The Eye of London, at one time the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world, is also located on the banks of the river. Jeff definitely wanted to ride it to get that birds’ eye view of London but the lines were long, to put it mildly. There was one long line to buy the ticket and then another long line to get on the Eye. Looking at those lines, we estimated a 3 hour wait and decided we would skip it. Next time we will simply buy the ticket online for a given time, bypassing most of the long wait.

Colorful shade

Beautiful radishes
We also explored the Borough Market, probably the oldest food market in London. I think it could be described as an upscale Farmer’s Market. One section was all farmers with produce from all around the area. It was stunningly beautiful to see and the fruit and veggies looked delightful! Wish we had been staying longer because you sure could have stocked up a house and cooked up a storm with the bounty. 
The next section was a delightful collection of restaurants and small stalls (fancier than our Portland food carts but a similar idea) with wonderful tidbits to taste. Definitely made up for the inability to purchase all that fresh produce. I found a fabulous place that had a tremendous assortment of fresh, homemade salads. They offered a choice of 5 salads for one price – YUMM! I was amazed that the market even had wine available for sale…and you could walk around drinking it!

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