Daily Musings

Climate Protest, Tate Modern, and the Thames – UK Trip Day 5

We started out by heading toward the climate change protest. Since we were headed via the Victoria line, we took a few photos of Victoria in front of her line sign.

On the way to the protest we found Penguin Random House UK, which was a nice surprise for Victoria. She’s trying to get published and she’s always been an avid reader.

One nice thing I noticed is that there are some raised and separated bicycle lanes. That seems much safer than just a line painted on the road, and pylons which drivers seem to enjoy running over.

I didn’t know this but we were headed for the Thames, so I was able to see it too for the first time. It is very brown, with many impressive buildings surrounding it.

We didn’t have to use the map as there were already swarms of people making it toward the protest site. We passed the Tate Britain along the way, but didn’t go inside as we had a mission.

Victoria pointed out more palm trees, which would never work in Toronto, so that was novel. We had finally arrived at the site and this was much bigger than we had anticipated. Protests in Toronto are not typically even close to this scale.

There were a lot of good signs and the protest took over a street and the adjacent park. There was a giant stage where the leaders of the protest said their piece, followed by a live band, which was a bit different from how the protests we had been to happened.

We were standing directly in the sun and after we had enough of that we made our way back, stopping for a walk along the banks of the Thames along the way. Victoria and I found quite a few interesting bits and pieces including a large black molar! Maybe from a cow?

Fully exhausted, we had planned to go back to the hotel for a nap, but London had other plans. A jumper cancelled all of the subway trains between ourselves and our hotel. We didn’t know this at the time, so we spent 10 or 15 minutes waiting on the sweltering tube station platform and took the train 1 stop before exiting onto the street.

We tried to find somewhere to go to the loo, and maybe have lunch, but there was really nowhere good/inexpensive. We found out that the bus on the surface went our way anyway, so we finally had a ride on a double-decker bus!

Lots of traffic and police sirens. We could have walked quicker, but were exhausted and enjoyed the sit. The bus was very slow, so I took some photos of Hyde Park, which we had also not seen yet.

After a brief nap, and Victoria with practically no rest at all, we had to head back out to meet Victoria’s friend Nick!

They had not seen each other in about 20 years, so even when we were standing about 10 feet away from each other it took a few minutes for them to recognize each other.

When we had said our hellos, we made a plan and walked over to the bust of Joseph Bazalgette, an engineer who is notable for finishing probably the first and last London public works project on time. He was responsible for the first major sewer system in London, and it was no small feat. We of course took nerdy appreciation selfies in front of the monument.

Nick’s next suggestion was a cafe in the crypt of St. Martin in the Fields. It was very crisp and clean for a crypt. There were interesting curved ceilings which lead into the columns. The floor had a few plaques which were completely unprotected, worn away under foot from years of foot traffic.

We crossed the foot bridge at Embankment station which was wavy and seemed to sway with the foot traffic. Nick suggested we take some touristy photos in front of the eye of London, which we did, as well as capturing a few photos of Big Ben during its face-lift. We all need a little care sometimes, it’s okay.

We walked along the other side of the Thames, past the National Theatre for a great view of the variety of modern buildings London has to offer. We were set on seeing the Tate Modern, which is free to enter and has some interesting displays.

Once we had our fill of culture, we headed for the Founder’s Arms pub nearby. We each had 1 pint and a very good chat. It was a great spot to take some night shots of the skyline, so Victoria grabbed my camera and took a few.

Nick had to get home to his family, and was taking a train from Paddington station. We were under the misapprehension that we had seen Paddington, but we had not. We had seen a tiny section of the tube station attached to it. Paddington station is huge. Nick insisted we take a photo with the real statue of Paddington if we were to take any at all.

We all wanted chips, but the nearby options were slim, and we headed into the McDonalds for some fries. There was no gravy and cheese curds, however. No poutine for us!

We spoke with Nick awhile until he had to get onto his train, said our goodbyes and headed home. What a nice day. Thank-you Nick for showing us around.