John & Anne Wiley

2018/10/20

London Gifts

It happened that Tripp’s new “dad” flew her home on his birthday, and we celebrated both our birthdays in London. Gifts all ’round.

5256 Tower Bridge

5256 Tower Bridge

Our first UK day found us strolling walkways on both sides of the Thames, feeling overwhelmed by all this amazing city has to offer. We wandered some streets and many alleys too. If you’ve perused this blog at all you know that I’m fascinated by the innumerable rock formations we’ve seen flying low and slow. One of my theories is that they’re natural “sculptures” so maybe that’s why all over UK & EU my fascination extended to human sculpture, like these building ornaments.

5276 Sculpture Rampage

5276 Sculpture Rampage

London offers an eclectic mix of architectures and a range from ancient to cutting edge. Lunging above the collection, the “Shard” seems to grasp at airliners.

5280 The Shard

5280 The Shard

It has at least two public viewing levels, but as with all our adventures the “plan” to get that view didn’t emerge from the “trip” we took. Maybe we can go back some day? Another contrast in architectures and change in plans emerged as we strolled around the Tower of London but didn’t go in.

5284 Tower of London

5284 Tower of London

The next morning we walked again, this time getting a view of the “Walkie Talkie,” “Pickle” and Tower of London amid a flurry of new construction across the Thames.

5385 Walkie, Pickle, Tower

5385 Walkie, Pickle, Tower

We chanced upon the intriguing ruins of the circa 1136 Winchester Palace.

5474 Palace Ruins

5474 Palace Ruins

One of our planned activities was to walk out on the Millennium Bridge and after snapping this we did manage to do it.

5495 Millennium Bridge

5495 Millennium Bridge

It didn’t go all wobbly like in that Harry Potter movie, but the metal deck polished to a brilliant sheen by millions of feet made pix of us on the bridge rather challenging. Out on the bridge were different views of the city, like this perspective on the Tate Modern and the building Londoners call The Vase.

5515 The Vase

5515 The Vase

I didn’t try to find out why Londoners come up with seemingly mocking names for the new buildings they seem to discreetly enjoy watching tourists in awe of. Perhaps to seem indifferent to the style and comfort, or object to the change from what was avant garde one or two thousand years ago? Like the sloping “Cheese Grater” to the right of the conventional (not yet derisively labeled by Londoners we spoke with) tower under construction at the left of this pic.

5534 Cheese Grater

5534 Cheese Grater

We saw people walking along the stony banks of the Thames too, and in places some were beachcombing. Maybe finding ancient artifacts, or valuables lost by tourists. Or just enjoying a stroll like the man in stylish blue hair amid the group on the ruins of a cobbled dock.

5559 Thames Moment

5559 Thames Moment

Amid all the stimulation, bustle and tight-scheduled photo-crazed tourists (guilty) are quieter spots like this shaded park.

5568 Leafy Green

5568 Leafy Green

I think it was under the Waterloo Bridge where we saw people watching people perusing a flea market.

5581 Open Business

5581 Open Business

A basement graffiti and skate park attracted a large crowd (in the distance at the right).

5586 Skate & Paint

5586 Skate & Paint

Sidewalk cafes abound along the Thames walkways, as with many areas of this diverse city.

5588 Giraffe Feel Good

5588 Giraffe Feel Good

There’s public art and music everywhere too of course. We wondered if this brilliant fluorescent sculpture was meant to be a kid slide, but the kids didn’t and the parents kept it all safe.

5592 Apparent Slide

5592 Apparent Slide

A brilliant converted classic double decker doing a brisk business attracted lots of attention, especially from tweens who know what the name means.

5595 Busy Bus

5595 Busy Bus

I was more impressed by this creative addition of two pedestrian bridges astride an old rail bridge, providing a quick and easy connection across the Thames.

5597 Feet & Rails

5597 Feet & Rails

I mentioned before a fascination with sculpture and you’ll see more of that in coming posts from this trip. Meanwhile, here’s an art deco ornamentation in the Old Globe complex that I like. I’m curious what the story is, but to me it evokes a guy in tux & tails.

5640 Bird in Tails

5640 Bird in Tails

This being a hasty taste of a vast and complex city of the world, rather than use the windowless Underground we rested our feet on an inexpensive tour boat back to the neighborhood of our hotel. Along the way we got a narrated review of places visited and glimpses of other areas.

5647 Tourist Time

5647 Tourist Time

I once briefly lived on a small boat, and could imagine how different in the heart of London on a spiffed up tugboat.

5649 Houseboats

5649 Houseboats

Thus ends this sampling of pix from the first stop in London on this adventure. Walking to the hotel from the tour boat dock, we paused for this memento provided by a kind photographer who put down her expensive camera to snap this.

5668 Last of First

5668 Last of First

Next stop: Berlin.

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