Saturday, January 28, 2012

18 Dec 2011 - London city

Spitalfields market

After the whirlwind day trips out of  London, I decided we needed train respite and spent a leisurely day in London city itself.

First, it was off to Spitalfields for breakfast, located off Liverpool station. Spitalfields market has been upgraded and seemed to have lost its former charm, though facilities are improved.  In fact, it was very neatly confined to a covered area we walked around the compound to verify that we were at the right place.

At Spitalfields, we had egg bacon in bap, a simple but surprising delightful breakfast at a corner café, Square Pie. Pat had his second English breakfast in this holiday.

There was nothing much I liked to see in Spitalfields though H loved the creative products by vendors. We ventured to Petticoat Lane, an open market similar to People's Park, selling very cheap clothing. There was nothing I fancied as well. We made our way towards the Thames; it was a very long walk in the bright and cold morning and the near zero temperature  almost knocked me off my senses.

London Tower - Jail and execution grounds for the high profile prisoners in ancient days

Eventually we reached The Tower of London and the festive mood of Sunday returned, encouraged by the enormous number of tourists  around the Tower of London. There was a last minute change of plans as we were appalled at the paying crowd, ushered by Beefeaters to tour  the Tower. Instead, we took in the sun and beautiful surroundings ( Tower and Tower Bridge ) in our leisurely pace, spending almost 4 hours in the vicinity and generally fooling around taking trick photos. I was thankful at not getting the prepaid railpass that would give a 2for1 discount to the Tower - the visit was virtually impossible with such a crowd.

After dropping by Katherine's docks and envying the toys of  the big boys, we crossed the Tower Bridge and marveled at its towering structure looming above us. Over at the wharves, we explored back alleys peppered with quaint buildings, refurbished warehouses  turned apartments and took in the city view from the  perspective of the wharves.

London Bridge
Now almost 3 pm, we hit east towards the 'real' London Bridge, which was feted in the nursery rhyme. It s beauty was nowhere like Tower Bridge and I suspect the author of 'London Bridge' must have mixed up with 'Tower Bridge'.

Fish stall at Borough's

A little way south of London Bridge, we reached Borough Market. It would have been closed on Sundays except that it was near Christmas and the stall owners were all out to grab a bit of the shopping pie before the biggest holiday of the year.  It was one hour towards closing but it did not prevent us from buying  fleur de sel , 2 pies , 2 cheesecakes and a big lunch for ourselves.  It seemed like we were all out to make the best use of the time there.
London retiring for the day

It was almost sundown by 4 pm, but we pushed our weary feet towards Monument, across the Thames, where we caught a tube back to Gloucester Rd.

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