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Two bridges and beyond

London

overcast 6 °C
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While the weather has been glorious, it was cold and meant to be 6 degrees however with the wind it was a real feel of 1 and over the day progressively chilly.

Tower Bridge was our first stop and you access the north tower by elevator to an information area, the east/west viewing platforms including sections compiled of glass viewing floors and finally the south tower. The bridge took 8 years to build and helped support to reduce the traffic that once used London Bridge. Tower Bridge is ornate and has both pedestrian and vehicle access. After taking the elevator down and a short walk along you find the Tower Bridge former engine rooms with the bridge lifts coal driven, where nowadays it is electronic control. The bridge lifts are published online, so people can see the lift in action. Of course, the obligatory gift shops that accompany most monuments, including Tower Bridge, are worth a look and even if you don’t visit the particular monument or activity you can usually visit the gift shops.

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Walking along the southern side of the river we passed London Bridge which is a fairly non-descript bridge. This was the main bridge for centuries and a bridge crossing initially built during Roman times. Not far from the bridge is Borough market. This is an old market publicly recorded since the 12th century with various hall areas filled with fresh food - cheese, meats, seafood, fruit and vegetables, fresh flowers, fast food and many people.

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Leaving the Borough market area and around the corner we came across what was left of Winchester Palace and the Clink prison. The Clink Prison is a bit kitsch however is built on the site of the oldest London prison and the information and physical instruments about what went on in the men and women’s prisons truly terrifying including the reasons you ended up in the clink from crimes, to allegations (often fabricated) against persons and then failure to pay debtors. We also learnt the origin of some of our common sayings which puts them in a new light. Winchester Palace was the accommodation for the Bishops of Winchester and there is very little left of the building with the rose window still intact. This side of the river was outside the jurisdiction of London and under the Bishops authority, it was known as the Liberty Clink and had many places of ill-repute including prostitutes that were known as Winchester geese. Many noble man including the King were known to cross the river in the evenings.

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At the end of the same street, we saw the Golden Hinde, which is an operational reconstruction of the first English ship to navigate the world captained by Sir Francis Drake. The boat was on the dry docks undergoing various repairs and can be hired for kids parties, weddings and other functions. After another full day exploring we retraced our steps back to our apartment and reflected on how the history has shaped and is being used in modern day.

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Posted by bonne vie 02:32 Archived in United Kingdom

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