London Bridge is fall… no, wait — the actual London Bridge is in Arizona somewhere, replaced now with a very sleek and modern span across the skyline,
so although the history associated with the bridge is interesting and full of drama, it means little if the bridge it’s all about it nowhere to be seen – sigh ….
My plan, after touring the City of London side of the Thames yesterday, was to cross London Bridge and explore the South Bank, known as the “wrong side of the tracks” dating as far back as Roman days (red light district, industrial wasteland, home of prostitutes and pick-pockets). Today this area has been revamped and is a treasury of pubs, inns, and historic sights. Rick Steves’ “one-hour walk” turned into a whole day of wandering for me filled with intrigue, instruction and investigation.
Immediately below London Bridge is Southwark Cathedral, a lovely restful place where (supposedly) Shakespeare prayed and his brother rang the bells, where Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee stained glass window is installed, and where countless noteworthy folks are entombed. Just for Lent, an artist has created what I found to be a very cool, meaningful woolen yarn falls draping the High Altar:
Nearby the cathedral, in the attic of a neighborhood church (reached by climbing the steep and circuitous bell tower spiral staircase), is the Old Operating Museum and Herb Garret, a place where, before anesthesia and without antiseptics, surgeries were performed. This particular place was created to care for women and was where Florence Nightengale started her nursing school. In addition to the operating theatre, much of the attic was set aside for the development and storage of herbal remedies. I was struck by how the ingredients of and effects attributed to individual herbal potions sound very much like the language used to describe contemporary essential oils’ benefits:
Leaving the attic hospital after spending much more time there than I ever thought I would, I enjoyed an open-air market set up directly under London Bridge. Fresh meats, vegetables, fruit and nuts shared space with all sorts of ethnic food stalls; it was a wonderfully aromatic place.
I was growing a bit weary, so stopped in the Anchor Pub, an establishment dating back some 800 years, where according to legend, Shakespeare, Dickens, and Samuel Johnson all had a pint or two. I had just a half-pint in one of many rooms in the warren-like place; the bartender allowed me to taste a couple of options before I chose a light lager. Having regained some energy, I followed the Thames-side walkway past the site of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, past the new Globe Theatre (with the first thatched roof allowed in the city since the Great Fire of 1666), across the Milennium pedestrian bridge
and eventually into the Tate Gallery of Modern Art. Discovering six original Picassos and Monet’s “Water Lilies” was the highlight of my visit, after which is was definitely time to return to the hotel.
Gerry and his Doyon colleagues talked to LOTS of folks about AKn oil exploration at the conference today, so came away feeling rather encouraged. Finding a partner would be a remarkable success, so we can hope for that outcome. We all went out for dinner together at a snazzy Italian place; Gerry and I shared double chocolate tort a la mode for dessert — what a great way to end the day!