It was a 5 km (3 mile) walk from the house to the bridge. With all the walking we've been doing, this is nothing!
Wandered around the Petticoat Lane market for a while. Mostly clothes, but if I needed some the prices seemed reasonable!
The overhead bridge walkways only open to the public at 10:00am, and we got there around noon. This particular day, the bridge itself was closed to traffic because they were installing the Olympic rings below the walkways. It'll look pretty neat with the rings there, so hopefully we'll get to see them before we leave London. It costs £8.00 ($13.12) to do the bridge exhibition, but if you want to go to the top of the fire monument as well it is £9.00 ($14.76) per person to do both of them. The fire monument on it's own is £3.00 ($4.92).
Looking east towards the Canary Wharf office towers.
Inside, a neat sculpture of men building the bridge. There were absolutely no health and safety rules during the eight years that it took to build the bridge, and ten workers lost their lives during the construction.
The upper walkways are lined with exhibits about other famous bridges around the world, and now a special exhibition about other cities that have hosted the summer Olympics.
Interestingly, the upper walkways were designed so that people could still walk across the bridge when the lower part was opened for boats to cross. But it was closed in 1910 due to lack of use. It didn't re-open to the public until 1982 despite the fact that some of the best views of London are from the walkways.
Looking north west. In the bottom right is the Tower of London. That's where we're going today!
Closed to traffic yesterday for installation of the Olympic rings that will hang from the overhead walkway.
Admission fee includes entrance to the old coal heated hydraulic steam engine rooms. This is how they operated the bridge from 1894 to 1976 when they were switched over to oil and electricity.
When we were done, we sat outside and had lunch.
Then we walked about 1.5 kms (.9 miles) over to the Fire Monument.
We walked by the Tower of London where we will be visiting today!
Saw the Hung Drawn and Quartered pub. The sign below says "I went to see Major General Harrison hung, drawn, and quartered. He was looking as cheerful as any man could in that condition." Samuel Pepys, 13th October, 1660.
A narrow lane in downtown London.
The Fire Monument was built as a lasting reminder to the great London fire of 1666. It is 202 feet high and was completed in 1677.
Looking down the 311 steps leading to the observation platform.
Looking east towards Tower Bridge.
London, south of the River Thames.
At around 20 stories, the tower is still taller than most surrounding structures. Quite a feat to build something like this in 1677!
It costs £3.00 to hike to the top of the tower. Or, for £6.00 more, you can buy entrance to both the Fire Monument and the Tower Bridge. I think that for £9.00 ($14.76), this is probably the best value for your money of you want to have some beautiful views of London. It took us about two hours to do both attractions, including the walk in between them so that's not bad.
Then we walked over to the Museum of London, which is free. This is a worthwhile place to spend another hour or two, even if you do it quickly. The great thing about museums being free is that you don't feel like you've wasted anything if you just opt for a quick tour. So we got a bit of an education regarding the history of London. No flash photography allowed, although I did take one photo before we noticed the signs saying so!
This is a surgeons tool kit from around 1836. Apparently they performed lots of amputations back then. Anesthetic? What's that?! Nasty.
It was almost 5:00pm by the time we decided to head home. I noticed one foot was getting a bit sore, so rather than risk aggravating it, we took the underground and overground trains back home. It is such an efficient way of travelling!
In the downtown core, you sometimes have to take a couple of these long escalators to get down to the tube platform. Way deep down!
Another busy day today as we are off to the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels!