Cruisin’ on the Thames

I took some friendly advice from a Londoner and spent the late afternoon cruising on the River Thames. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time touring the city yet, so he suggested this would be a good start.

The Tower of London is located next to the Pier, and as you can see there was something happening. Dear Google, ‘Why is the Tower of London covered in red flowers?’…

The Tower of London marked the 100th year anniversary of the First World War with an installation (the peonies) called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.

tower of londonThere will be 888,246 ceramic poppies to fill the Tower’s moat. One poppy for each British military fatality during the war.

The public can purchase their very own ceramic poppy as well. The hope is to sell all the poppies to raise money to be shared equally amongst six service charities.

Each poppy is £25 each, so with a little quick math = a heck of a lot of money.poppies

more poppies

It may not be blue, but I bought a poppy in memory of Aunty since she loved London so much. Just a bit of history and supporting a good cause. 

tower of londonNow back to the cruise…While the boat is in motion, please sit on your duff. 

cruisin the thamesSee that walkie talkie looking building, well, it’s nicknamed the Walkie-Talkie. The front of the building is black, which is a cover-like tarp that was later added to the building to prevent the sun from reflecting off its shiny exterior.

Last September, the sun reflected off the building and onto a parked Jaguar car. The reflection of the sun was so powerful it actually melted some of the car’s plastic parts. Whoops!

the shardThis lovely building above is called the Shard. Looks like a shard of glass, ay? Well this Shard building is 310 meters tall (1,016ft) high, with 72 stories. The very top is a viewing gallery for tourists & a bar with the most incredible views of the city.

I visited the Aqua Shard last summer and sneakily learned you can avoid the £25 lift ticket to the top but visiting the bar! Instead, you will spend £30+ on a single drink and the view is included! Pricey but worth the view – at least once.

It’s also the tallest building in western Europe. I need to fact check this detail, but the captain told the boat that the architect behind the building’s design was offered £1 million in exchange for the sketch. Instead, Renzo Piano negotiated an apartment within the sky scraper in exchange. Apparently, the apartment is now worth £40 million or $66 million dollars! Holy Toledo.

Next, we passed under the Millennium Bridge. A pedestrian bridge for all the Londoners and tourists crossing the Thames. The Bridge was nicknamed the Wobbly Bridge after it was discovered only two days after the opening, that it swayed. Really swayed.

wibbly wobblyThe bridge was immediately shut down and after 2 years of work and another £5 million, it was reopened in 2002.

the ladies bridgeThis lovely cement bridge doesn’t appear to be anything special however, ladiessss, this bridge is one we can all be proud of. Waterloo Bridge is nicknamed the Ladies Bridge because it was built largely by women during World War II. It was also said, that the bridge was completed on time and on budget.

london skylineThe tour finished with the views of Parliament and Big Ben.

london eyeAnd the London Eye.

london eyeLast stop, Tower Bridge. Fun fact, in 1952 bus driver Albert Gunton, was driving a double-decker bus. A malfunction with the safety gates occurred and poor Albert was not alerted that the bridge was rising. He made a split second decision and accelerated the bus, jumping the three-foot leap with 20 passengers on board.

Albert was awarded £10 for his bravery.

Another reason I don’t ride the bus.
tower bridgeWhen the tour was finished, I took a stroll past St. Paul’s Cathedral.

st pauls
st pauls…then over a bridge to catch the sunset. sunset bridge

sunset bridgeAnother beautiful night in London.

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