Before there was public transit people everywhere were forced to walk to all the places they wanted to go. (In this scenario horses and bicycles do not exist.) It seems I'm very stubborn and force myself to walk all the great distances rather than part with the money it costs to take public transit. Above is the map of where I walked to on March 19th on my 3rd and last full day in London. From the British Museum to the Monument to the Great Fire of London.
The good thing about walking everywhere is you get to go at your own pace. You can stop and snap a photo. The underground doesn't provide much opportunity for photos and though buses are great for scoping out places to visit, often they move past a place too fast for you to get a decent shot of whatever it is you want to photograph.
I strolled the streets of London, looking around at all the buildings and interesting shops but mostly trying to not get in anyone's way. Londoners love to run to work as well as bike. You see a lot of people in running gear with their backpacks on filled with their work clothes. I was heading past this church yard when I stopped and decided to go inside and have a sit.
I enjoyed some of my short bread and some water, resting back and looking at the ancient brick surrounded by more modern buildings. The above photo is of Christ Church Greyfriars and the below photo is of its gardens. Wikipedia says the first church that stood on the site was from the 13th Century It had a rough time before being destroyed by the great fire of London and then was rebuilt by Christopher Wren, the architect behind St. Paul's Cathedral.
I first learned about the park from the film Closer. Jude Law and Natalie Portman's characters wander through the park. It has always stuck with me and so was placed on my list of places to visit in London. I hadn't been so accurate in my sightseeing so visiting it this morning was amazing. It worked out perfectly on my way to the Monument. I read through all the plaques and recommend google image searching the park if you care to read more. They are in a wording that hits you right in the feels.
On my way out I took a few moments to contemplate this grouping of gravestones. Attempting to read some of the inscriptions but not getting far. Upon doing a bit of reading on wikipedia I have learned that Postman's Park is actually a combination of three different burial grounds. I am not sure if the graves have been exhumed but I think they were. I am still continuously being overwhelmed by London and its history.
Leaving the park I headed back on my journey and arrived at the Monument. The Monument to the Great Fire of London is 202 ft tall and 202 ft away from the place where the Great Fire started on September 2 1666. It is the tallest isolated stone column in the world. The column was designed by Christopher Wren.
I arrived early in the day so the crowds were not out though I ma not sure how many people visit the Monument. Most of the people I spoke to at my hostel did not know it existed. After walking for so long the 311 steps seemed quite daunting but I told myself I would take it easy and not rush up them. At £3 the fee to enter and go up it for an amazing view of London is a steal. It's not the tallest building in London but you still get a good view of the city.
At the start of the stairs, looking up. All those stairs! It's quite daunting!
The view down to the street.
The new Shard.
The view was very breathtaking and I enjoyed it. A little bit windy there were only a few people that came up when I was there. I can't imagine being up there with more. I enjoyed my bottle of water and more short bread as I leaned against the metal railing and admired the view around me.
The next challenge was to get down. The steps are quite small and tight at the very top and they slowly get larger the lower you get. It was a bit daunting at first but I got used to the spinning and made it to the ground without falling and taking out anyone.
After getting to the base I sat on a bench and wrote a postcard to Hillary, trying to rest my legs. I headed off and purchased stamps at the nearest post office before wandering around a little, trying to decide what next to do. I decided I would take in the Tate Britain. I have never been to Tate Britain but have been to the Tate Modern. I much prefer classical art so this was a good choice for me. I had to take the tube because walking there would have took me ages and after climbing up the Monument, walking really was not what I wanted to do.
I enjoyed the museum a lot. I highly recommend the museum if you like more traditional art. It's free! I was very happy to see a John William Waterhouse painting there. I wandered the rooms before I felt it was time to go. I dropped my cellphone on the floor on the way out and this lovely school girl chased me down to give it back to me. I am so lucky. I would have been devastated to have lost it. Containing so much info and a lot of photos from the day. Lucky day!
I decided that rather than taking the tube again that I would walk. My poor legs! It was about a 45 minute to an hour walk. I was slow. I stopped a lot. I sat down in the Victoria Tower Gardens and enjoyed some more shortbread cookies and admired the view of the parliament buildings.
Along my walk I encountered Mr. Horse Guard. I thought of Carol right away. They stand on guard in front of the Household Cavalry Museum. I was tempted to go inside but I don't think they actually have any horses inside you can pet and it cost money. I stood and watched the guard though with a mix of interest and pity. He's a trained soldier and its an amazing honour for them to guard the palaces and everything but this one was sat on a horse. The poor horse! Having to deal with the hordes of tourists going right up next to it and taking photos. The horse was beautiful. Would have loved to give it a cuddle but probably would have been stabbed. Onwards I marched!
In my food coma I wandered the streets in the general direction of my hostel, twisting and turning and going through narrow alleys that would be perfect for a Jack Ripper murder. I overshot my hostel by about four blocks and had to wander back and over a little bit but ended up back in my hostel. Happily heading to bed early as I was going to be up bright and early to head to Cardiff.
Next stop/post: Cardiff, Wales