Thursday, August 28, 2014

Linda and the Tower of London
(taken on the Tower Bridge)
August 28, 2014 -- Today is our last day in London so we decided to take care of some housekeeping chores. We located a "wash and fold" laundry a couple of stops away on the DLR (Dockside Light Rail) and dropped our laundry off for a 5 p.m. pickup. We ventured across the street for breakfast and walked back to the DLR station. We weren't really sure what we were going to do for the day, but along the way we found a very neat little coffee joint called "Husk -- Coffee and Creative Space". We stopped in to have our morning coffee and enjoy a bit of "on-line" time.

Tower Bridge with the
draw bridge in use.
As it happens, and we found ourselves in these spontaneous moments from time to time, Husk is more than just a coffee bar.  It's an "artist led" gallery space hosted within Husk Coffee in Limehouse London. In a partnership with "Morphe Arts" it is is a network of artists, writers, designers and performers who offer free mentoring to "students of the arts" as well as hosting monthly events. While there, one of the hosts, an ex-pat from Kentucky now living in London for 3 years, suggested we try the "Tower of London" and the "Borough Market".  We found that both would be easy to reach by train, so after our coffee we took off for the Tower of London.

Borough Market, London.
The Tower of London is an historic castle on the north bank of the Thames. The current "tower" was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and durings its history, it has been a residence, a prison, a place of execution, an armory and a treasury. As we walked around the walls, we found loads of activities to entertain us. The "Tower Bridge" was in front of us. Its beautiful architecture of blue and white painted steel and grey stone date back to 1886.  While we were taking some photos, the bridge opened to allow the a ship to sail up the Thames. Of course, we stopped at a Starbuck's to enjoy a coffee and sit by the river, enjoying the warm sun and people watching for 30 minutes or so. It was another most enjoyable part of the afternoon. We decided, however, to forego the 22-pound fee each to enter the Tower!
Borough Market, Foods Everywhere!

We made our way back to the DLR and found the Borough Market a couple of stops away. As we left the "London Bridge" Underground station and were greeted by the Borough Market across the street. It simply looked like two buildings -- one obviously old and one made primarily of glass. We were pleasantly surprised as we entereed the "Market". It was packed with hundreds of vendors selling foods of all kinds. The aisles were packed with shoppers from all over Europe (in evidence by the many languages were heard). The Borough Market is one of the oldest in Europe -- and indeed is the largest and
Cash from a Phone Booth. Neat!
oldest in London. There is some confusion about the founding date of the Market. Some say 1014 while others say 1246 -- but in any case, it's been there for a while.  We explored the market and tasted many of the "samples" made available by the vendors. I bought some peaches and a "shrimp cocktail". I can't exaggerate how plentiful and exotic the variety of foods were available. It was quite an experience. Before leaving, we enjoyed a Guinness at a "Market Pub" just across a narrow street.

So, tomorrow we're off to Swindon for a visit with our friends Roger and Helen -- so be sure to check back!!