15.11.07

Hodgepodge

Today I decided to check out the Bank of England Museum, which as one could guess, is a museum about the history of the Bank of England, the English monetary system, and the like. I'd not been around the area of town (well, not really) where the museum resides, so I thought it would be good to check out the museum then do some exploring.

The museum itself is rather tiny yet security is the tightest and most annoying of any place I've yet been. You're forced to empty your pockets of all metal items, have bags run through an x-ray machine, and go through a metal detector just like at an airport. The security guard at the desk even likened the process to going through airport security.

Overall I spent about an hour in the museum though if I hadn't read nearly every word on every sign the journey would have taken much less time. As with several other places I've visited, photography was disallowed. This time, however, I didn't see the signs indicating no photography was allowed and once inside I snapped dozens of pictures before an attendant noticed me and asked me to put away my camera. By that time I'd gone through most areas of the museum so I really had no objection to cease my photography at that point.

After leaving the museum I saw a signpost for London Bridge and for the monument to the Great Fire of 1666 (previously photographed from atop St Paul's Cathedral) so I thought I'd go check those out. I'd not been up close to the Great Fire monument so that was my chief destination.

It didn't take long before I got sidetracked and noticed I was maybe 7 or 8 blocks away from the Swiss Re building, aka 30 St Mary Axe, aka The Gherkin. I thought since I was so close, why not go up close and see how impressive it is from nearby. After weaving through a few streets (no street near me had direct access) I made my way to the front of the building and got some pictures. According to Wikipedia, it's the 6th tallest building in London and I must say it looks quite impressive from the base. Although it's curved inward as it goes up, it was nonetheless a literal pain in the neck looking up toward the top. A very cool sight it was.

I left the area and knew I needed to head south by the river to get to London Bridge, but what I hadn't noticed was how far west I'd walked and when I started to head south I wound up right by the Tower of London. I walked around the perimeter of the Tower grounds and made my way to the north bank of the Thames to continue my journey.

After going a ways down the walking path adjacent to the Thames I noticed I was right by the Great Fire monument... however it's undergoing cleaning or something and is all covered in scaffolding so it just looked silly and unimpressive. Nevertheless I snapped a couple photos and since it's near London Bridge I considered going up to street level and going across the bridge but ultimately didn't.

Rather, I kept going along the river path and went up to street level at the next bridge, Southwark Bridge, but only because the path stopped there. I wasn't far from the Millennium Bridge so I figured I'd cross at Southwark and go along the south bank to the Millennium Bridge and north to the St Paul's tube station and call it a day. That's exactly what I did, passing areas I'd previously been like Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern art museum and St Paul's on my way back here.

When I finally got to the tube station, after nearly 2 hours of walking around, it was of course busy since it's on a busy tube line and it was a busy time of day and the first train to come by was too packed to get on. The second wasn't much less packed but I still squeezed on and rode the 4 stops to Mile End. I went to the market to grab some stuff for dinner and made my way back here and that's where things are at now.

Pictures are being posted as I type this, and now it's time to kick back for a bit and chill.

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