Our day, yesterday, started at Parliament House on the River Thames. Since it wasn’t raining, we thought we’d get in as much outdoor time as possible, so we decided to walk along the Thames to the Tower of London, the opposite direction compared to the ferry boat ride from the day before.
We started on the north bank where we came upon the monument for the Battle of Britain which honors the fallen RAF fighters and others that defended London from intense bomber attacks by the Luftwaffe during WWII. Relatively early in the war, Hitler had determined to invade Great Britain by way of a seaborne invasion, Operation Sea Lion, but the first stage was to be an air attack intended to decimate England’s ability to attack the German landing forces which, as it turned out, never came.
If I read the memorial correctly, it looks like nearly 20% of the RAF fighter pilots involved in the air defense of London died during the fighting, but their effort saved London and Great Britain and was one of the turning points of the war, forcing Hitler to scrap the invasion.
Soon after admiring the Battle of Britain memorial, we crossed over the Hungerford pedestrian bridge to the south bank of the river and strolled past the National Theater and the Tate Modern art museum, stopping only briefly since we are not big fans of modern art.
We then crossed back over to the north bank on the Millennium Bridge, another pedestrian crossing.
Crossing the Millennium Bridge from south to north, you look straight at the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, referred to earlier by our bus tour guide as the People’s Anglican Church, as opposed to Westminster Abbey which he called the Royal’s church, used for coronations.
We walked into, but opted to not tour, St. Paul’s. Passing around the church grounds we came upon this polished orb and took a self portrait with St. Paul’s in the background.
We wound our way around several construction sites – there is a lot of construction going on in London right now – and also explored a few quaint alleys, ultimately ending up back at the Tower of London…
…near the only remaining portion of the ancient Roman wall that surrounded the city nearly two millennia ago.
We explored the Tower of London for a while – the subject of my next post – before taking the Tube back to Victoria Station where we had tickets for a play at the Victoria Palace Theater, Billy Elliot.
Having a little time to kill, and not wanting to favor the Anglicans over the Catholics, we visited nearby Westminster Cathedral…
…just in time for the evening service which included a boys choir that was, as the English say, just lovely.
It was nice to get a bit of exercise and to enjoy some nice weather for a change.