A Walk around London
16.08.2009 - 16.08.2009 25 °C
Today we are on our own. No Howard to get us up, tell us what we're doing, and give us a running commentary. No more Mario to do all the driving for us. No more fancy hotels at group booking prices. So the first thing we did this morning was to move to an affordable hotel. We had been warned about rogue taxi drivers in London, so we hopped into a black cab after giving the driver the third degree about estimated cost etc. But he was a charming fellow, and when after the journey we realised that he had accidently short-changed himself, we were seized with this desire to track him down and give him the remainder. But it was short-lived.
Anyway, our new hotel for the next 2 nights was in Marble Arch, within walking distance to all the sights. It was a squeezy room in a squeezy but charming hotel in a back street. We left our bags in the room, and started walking towards London. I had become the Tour Director, and I decided that we were so close to London, it was pointless taking buses everywhere because we would spend half our time catching them, then getting off. In the next 2 days we tramped more than 35 kms (verified by gps), and I am forgetting now which streets we crossed and criss-crossed, but this is basically how it went. We headed from Marble Arch along Oxford Street, then Regent Street to Picadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, down a few streets that pilfered their names from a Monopoly board (how unoriginal!), crossed the Thames, and walked along the south bank past various theatres, festival halls and columns, until we reached a park near the Millenium walking bridge. There we met Debra, a young relative of Margarets from Australia who is living and working in London for a while. She accompanied us for the next few hour or so. We had lunch, then continued our walk along the south bank, past Drake's ship the Golden Hind, past London Bridge (a new one - the old one had been sold to a Texan - yes the story really is true!), finally crossing over the Tower Bridge before reaching the Tower of London. Here we parted ways with Debre, before spending the next couple of hours in the Tower. From there, we followed the Thames Walk, along the north bank, past St Pauls church, past other sights too numerous to mention, down more monopoly streets, through Soho, and finally back to the hotel.