British Holiday Chapter 2: Walking around the City

(I apologize for the time between chapters 1 and 2. I've had a cold of doom, and I started a new job.)
Elephant. check. Castle. check.

This was the first full day in London. We sat down and planned out a complete itinerary, involving tubing to London Bridge, walking down Bankside to the Tate Modern, across the Millenium Bridge, by St Paul's, and through the City.

By being insistent despite having a poor grasp of the lay of the land, we made it 10 feet out of the London Bridge tube station before I cocked up the whole plan. I always like to think like I know where I'm going. I never do.

But it was ok, we still saw all the stuff. We just did it backwards, so to speak. So we started off with a walk through the City to St Paul's.

St Paul's
St Paul's from some park
It's a nice old pile. Everybody knows its story, right? Should I go in to it? The Great Fire burns everything down. Christopher Wren gets tapped to rebuild it. He's all "Screw this Gothic crap, it's the Renaissance Bitches."

St Paul's
"Any of you suckers been to Rome?" he continued, even though he hadn't. "That Basilica is the fucking business. Let's do one of them." Unlike the Basilica, there is an extra nested dome, for a total of three. Like the the Basilica, they are held together with honking great chains. 

There's also a clock tower sort of thing. As we sat in the courtyard and I took a sound recording and happened to get the clock striking 11.

St Pauls Courtyard
The fun part is that we didn't even go in to the church. Bunches of it was under construction, but they were still charging the same rates. So we just went down the basement to feel the fury of their gift shop, and then we headed back down south.

In our wandering we encountered some iconic City things. 

The Cockpit
Fancy Posts
We didn't go to the Cockpit, though I've heard since that we missed a good pub. Instead, we grabbed some Pret and took it down to the Thames, in the shadow of the Millenium Bridge. It was lunchtime and benches where scarce, but we found one eventually. We sat, with our backs to the City of London School, where Daniel Radcliffe did his learning when not on Harry Potter sets, ate our sandwiches and watched the joggers.
The Shard and Tower Bridge from Millenium Bridge
The tide was low, and amateur archeology on the banks of the Thames has been on the London todo list for years. "Hey look," we will say, "a Victorian clay pipe stem!" We will be so excited. But this was not the day. It was muddy down there and we were traveling light. We didn't have any extra shoes.

The sound of roller suitcases on the Millenium Bridge when heard from below was incredible. Unfortunately, I didn't capture it. But I still uploaded what I got, because I'm like that.

Under the millenium bridge
Now, it's impossible to cross the Millenium Bridge without stopping at the Tate Modern. I mean, it's right there. Bruno, our airbnb host, suggested hanging out at the bar on the top floor. 

Tate Modern
Tate Stack
But we were not particularly in the mood for booze. We did make it up to the upper cafe, which has a balcony, which we went on. Maybe because it was still pretty hazy, I didn't get any photos that were that interesting. So here are some balls.

On the way back to the tube stop, we pass through the Borough Market. It was not too crowded, which was nice. I hate crowds. Strange that I love London so much while hating crowds. Some how I can put up with masses of people in London. Maybe it's because most of the individuals know how to be in a crowd. It doesn't seem like something you could be skilled at, but you can, and Londoners are, and I appreciate it.

Borough Market
We noticed a dude in red trousers at the London Bridge tube station. Rakka mentioned him. He followed us all the way back to the E&C. It makes you wonder, how many people without conspicuous trousers get on and off the same trains at the same time and go to the same places as you. Are well all following each other around all the time?

Red Trouser Man
Regrouping in the fastness of Isengard gave us the opportunity to just stare at the view for a bit. We were in this room for 5 days and it never got old. I could live in Strata SE1, no problem. 
View from Isengard
Except for money. It's not cheap. £350 for a 1 bedroom doesn't sound like a lot, until you notice that UK rents are always specified per week. Think of all the train tickets that money could pay for.

Anyway, we were still mad with jet lag at this point. We went out for an early dinner at the Greek place around the corner. There was all kinds of construction junk in the way (a recurring theme for the trip, especially in London) but none of that mattered. The food was great.

Greek Food
For some reason I was enthralled by the lights in the windows. Probably the jet lag and the general sort of exhaustion from walking for miles around all day. 

Greek Light Balls
It was a bit weird to be ending our first day in London eating Greek food. But there was still plenty of time for pubs, sandwiches and kebabs. That all comes later. But not tomorrow. Paris tomorrow. 

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