London Miscellany

No, I haven’t finished posting about our trip last September. For now, I’d like to share some photos and impressions of the few days we spent in London.

Millenium Bridge
Millennium Bridge

Millenium Bridge

St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral

This is an interesting city for walking. The weather tended to be overcast with occasional rain, but we didn’t let that discourage us. One destination was Millennium Bridge, which stands between St. Paul’s and the Tate Modern. I really liked the sleek, fluid shape of this bridge, and it afforded some excellent views.

Old  Bailey

I was very excited when by luck we found ourselves walking by the Old Bailey, stomping grounds of Horace Rumpole, my favorite fictional barrister.

Christchurch Garden
Christchurch Garden

Christchurch Garden

Another unplanned find was the Christchurch Garden, which was created between the walls of a church that had been bombed out during World War II. Creating a garden on the site of such terrible destruction seems like an admirable act of optimism.

2013-09-10 10.53.20

2013-09-10 10.54.50

The garden had tall, rectangular wooden trellises that I wish I could make or acquire for myself. There were many blooms – Roses, Clematis, Salvias, Buddleia, Agastache, Agapanthus, etc. The colors were mostly blue and white, and created a serene atmosphere.

2013-09-10 06.32.26

London is very bustling city with lots of construction going on. Buildings are at times mixed in a hodgepodge of the venerable, the aggressively modern, and the ugly. Sometimes this mix is exciting.

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At other times, to my mind, somewhat jarring.Β It also surprised me that parts of the Thames River front have been left undeveloped.

Double Decker bus
When you sit on top in the front, it feels like you’re going to keep going forward, leaving the rest of the bus behind, when the driver steps on the brakes.
Russel Square tube stop
The subway station at Russel Square, near where we were staying.

Getting around London can be intimidating, as it is such a gigantic place. We tried the subway, which is efficient but very expensive. The buses were more reasonable. We sat at the front of the second level, which was fun except that we had the constant sensation that the top of the bus was going to keep moving onto the vehicles in front of us when the rest of the bus stopped.

London Bridge

We also took a ride on the Thames, so we got to see Tower Bridge opening up for the river traffic.

After we left London we visited Judy’s old friend and her husband, who live in a small Sussex village. They drove us around to the gardens at Great Dixter, Sissinghurst, and Wisley, as well as various castles and other sites. I’ll do posts on these in the course of the bleak winter weeks.

42 Comments on “London Miscellany

  1. Great post about London BUT just a small correction, the bridge in the last image is TOWER BRIDGE not London bridge which was sold to Arizona and everyone thinks that they thought they had boughtthis one! This bridge is much, much older than London bridge. You were lucky to see it opening and getting such a great photo.

  2. You made me laugh this morning, thats exactly what our buses do! The tube is much too expensive and that very tall building is new – The Shard. I haven’t been to Christchurch garden, but after your post I would like to visit, it looks like an oasis of calm. There have been some plans drawn by the Olympic Stadium architect (not approved yet…) for another bridge – The Garden Bridge, which will be a huge living garden including trees spanning the Thames.

  3. I LOVE London and have been there many times, including a 6 month stay back in 1983-84 as an au-pair. It has changed a great deal with the many new modern buildings.
    Look forward to seeing the posts on the gardens.

  4. The Christchurch garden is gorgeous set against that aged brick!!! Optimism indeed!! And your photos are just spectacular! I can not wait to see more of the gardens you visited! How lucky were you both to have friends to take you around!

  5. This is the perfect time of year, especially for us outdoorsy types, to revisit excursion pictures. I love the Christchurch garden shots in particular. I haven’t been to London but the contrast of greenery with stone reminds me of Ireland.

  6. im so excited to see London! i just got my first ever passport and in late Aug. my daughter and i are doing 2-3 weeks exploring the UK!
    looks like good raingear needs to be purchased before we go? your pics, and everyone I’ve spoken to, seem to say the days are intermittently cloudy and drizzly?

    • Congratulations, I’m sure you will have a wonderful time! If our experience was typical (we were only there for a few days), I’d say yes, come prepared for the rain. It only came down for an hour or so on one day, though.

  7. I still have not posted about our trip to London…and several other European countries…2 or 3 summers ago. So many photos…and so much time has gone by, it becomes just another thing on the back burner. You’ve inspired me to think about it again πŸ˜‰ Unfortunately, wordpress will not allow me to sign into your blog with my google/blogger account so I have to sign in using facebook; hope you can read it πŸ˜‰

    • I can read it fine, but that’s weird about wordpress. That’s the problem about digital cameras, it is so easy to take literally hundreds of pictures.

  8. Ah yes….good to see scenes from our old smoke! I love the Christ church gardens, a similar thing has happened at an old bombed out church in Liverpool. I really enjoyed your take on London.xxx

  9. Love seeing pictures of my home country! I haven’t been to London for many years and have never visited those gardens you mention, so look forward to the upcoming posts too. πŸ˜€

  10. The garden in Christ Church must be a real oasis in the city. I did not know about it. The Millennium Bridge is most impressive.

  11. Hey Jason,

    I also LOVE the Christchurch Garden. Talk about a profound use structure in the garden. Keep ’em coming, my friend.

    • It is an odd skyline, isn’t it? And I wasn’t a big fan of the eye, that giant ferris wheel. Chicago has a giant ferris wheel too, and I don’t get the appeal.

  12. I only spent a little bit of time in London when I was there last July. I’m used to the DC metro so the tube felt familiar,although much brighter. Christchurch looks like a wonderfully quiet place.

  13. This all looks so familiar. πŸ˜‰ I agree–London is huge! I had no idea it was so sprawling. But the tube didn’t seem any more expensive than the DC metro, and it sure was convenient. I think we got some kind of package deal (Oyster Card), though. We used the same pass on the buses that we used on the metro. London sure is a fun city, though! We didn’t get to the Christchurch garden–optimistic, indeed!

  14. I want to go back to England at some point, specifically to spend more time in London. I did the tube, taxi cab and bus, but my favorite was a wonderful trip on the Thames from Hampton Court to the heart of the city. I am looking forward to the rest of your UK posts.

  15. Its always interesting to see other people’s impressions of a city I know so well – I lived and still occasionally work there. Years ago I remember taking American friends on double decker buses around country lanes – they freaked! I guess you just get used to it πŸ™‚

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