Sunday, 8 April 2012

River Thames Walks

 Went to stay with my eldest son on Thursday, it was a warmish evening so we set off to the South Bank and walked. First up river to as far as the MI6 building, where the river path stops. Walking back I loved the juxtaposition of this shed against the backdrop of one of the worlds most famous building!
 Continued on back past the London Eye back to the restaurants around the back of Festival Hall and I was taken to a place called the Canteen, which only produces good quality English food, like roast beef, fish and chips, pies or bangers and mash (sausages and potatoes!)
 My son has worked in London now for three years and I've never seen where he worked except as close I could once get on a boat trip. So Saturday was the day, we decided, cause he said it was only an hours walk, to walk from his office back into the centre for lunch. This was after already walking a couple of miles around Highgate to meet my cousin and his wife for breakfast.
 I was blown away by this part of London, it could have been anywhere, New York, Hong Kong, incredible to be walking through this part. There were very few people around, when the city isn't working then the streets are more of less deserted. There were a few cafebars open with a few tourists. I can only imagine the difference during the working week.

 My son's office is on the Isle of Dogs, next to Canary Wharf. He works on the 15th floor of the blue glass building behind him. The water is not really part of the river here or in the other two photos. These are the old water pools that made up the docks in years gone by. Hence the name Docklands now!
 We walked back as much as possible beside the River Thames. Everywhere at  this end of the river is modern,very little of the original remains. Many of the warehouses that once loaded and unloaded cargo from all four corners of the globe are now extremely expensive apartments.But now and again along the path there are staircases that have been there since Victorian times, as in the case of this one. We had to keep cutting back up by these steps and allyways as the apartments own their stretch of path and not open to the public and then down the next one....
..... this one is a lot older and is next to a very old pub. The pubs along this stretch of the Thames have been here since Elizabethan times. One of them still has a gibbot hanging over the river where once criminals hung. Although the current rope I think is more for tourists to photograph then to be actually used! I believe that you can still be hung In Britain, but only for treason and it hasn't been used as a punishment since the beginning of the 1960s
When we saw this view we know the end was almost in sight. This is another wonderful juxtaposition of the very old Thames Barges, Tower Bridge and The Shard, a building in progress that towers over the landscape. And does to me look out of place. The buildings in docklands are tall but they are together. This one stands alone in it's great height and there is no more building land around it so I think, if you pardon the pun, sticks out like a sore thumb!

From Tower Bridge you pass the edge of the Tower of London, photographs impossible at this point the crowds where enormous, and it felt like walking in a flock of black crows, with the occasional flash of colour from someone being brave enough not to wear the uniform black of winter coats.

On we walked past St Paul's Cathedral, down Fleet Street, into the Strand. Stopped for what we hopped would be lunch but the place we had in mind was heaving with people, so it was an emergency coffee and sandwich then carry on walking up to Trafalgar Square, along Piccadilly, past the Ritz and so to Green Park tube. Once off the tube my son lives five minutes walk from the station. So all in all I think we walked close to nine miles from one side of London to the middle. We were exhausted......

Neither of us could cook we had no energy left, so an Indian take away was ordered from the shop across the road from the flat. But we were too far gone and neither of us managed to eat half of our very lovely curries.

I did have very sensible boots on for my trip, but it is amazing how much more effort walking on pavements is compared to hills. I did realise that when I am out walking in the hills I have a rucksack on my back rather than my handbag on my shoulder, which got heavier with every mile!

So after breakfast in Kentish Town Canteen with my son and his girlfriend  on Saturday morning it was time to get back on the tube and then train and come home to the lush green hills that surround where I live.


Pam said...

I enjoyed that post - all the sights without the sore feet! So easy to overdo it when you have to grab opportunities to do things and make the most of precious family time. I agree with you Mandy that cities are really hard on the feet, but I'm always amazed at how fashionable young things can navigate them so quickly on enormously high heels!

Mel said...

Wow........what amazing photos. And what wondrous places. And WOW.....15th floor, eh?

They grow up so darn fast, huh?

(((((((( the byrdie ))))))))))

Anonymous said...

So glad you got to spend the day with some one you love!
Happy Birthday Byrd~!
Love you lots!!!

Val said...

I love London and especially walking through historic parts and its all there - right there. the Dickensian scenes. glad you had a special day

Dragonfly Dreams said...

What an absolutely delightful Saturday for you!

Paula said...

You bring back wonderful memories from my time in London. I love the docklands and have done this walk oftehn over the weekends. In sensible walking shoes and 20 years younger feet and joints ;-) Love and hugs

GaynorB said...

Great post and a walk so different to the ones you usually invite to share with you.
I hope you had a lovely time with your son, gaining more of an insight into his world.