My London Eye

There are a few landmarks that I see from a distance on the train as I make my way to Victoria.  I was delighted to be able to get up close and even climb one of them during hubs’ and my latest, weekly, non-touristy, visit to the smoke.

The first is called The Shard and you can see why.


It is 1020 feet tall and will not be open to the public until July 5th 2012, and I’ll still be here!  It is the tallest building in Europe and here are the most interesting things about it:

Offices are housed on the 2-28th floors;

There are restaurants on 31-33;

The Shangri la Hotel takes up floors 34-51 with the spa on 52;

Private residences are on 53-65;

An Observatory takes up floors 68-72 and,

The Spire soars from 73 to 87.

My questions are, what’s between the 28th and 31st floors and the 65th and 68th?

My challenge is, anyone want to race me up the stairs?

Talking of racing up stairs, we climbed The Monument, I was surprised hubs agreed to this departure from terra firma because he is not very good with heights.  From the ground it looks tall but not that tall!


Standing between Monument Hill and Fish Street Hill, The Monument was built to commemorate the Great Fire of London which started in Pudding Lane,


in the year 1666.

Sir Christopher Wren and Dr. Robert Hook came up with the design for this tall Doric column containing a cantelvered stone staircase of 311 steps up to a viewing platform that has been closed in with a cage due to many unfortunate incidents over the years.

Apparently if The Monument fell it would land in the exact spot on Pudding Lane where the first spark ignited the wooden structure of the baker’s shop.  I suppose that all depends on which way it falls or the direction of the wind!

Here is hubs preparing to bravely go where he would never normally venture!


Here is the half way mark, we think!


But really not!


At the top I hugged the wall along the blowy, narrow walkway for a the first few minutes, the height took some getting used to!

The first building I saw was The Shard.


Then I looked down to the river,


Hubs is wondering how he got there and checked the caging for safety!


I am windswept and getting my air legs in front of the Pickle!


On the way down we both had to sit and get a breather photo in!



Filled with a sense of euphoria that I’d survived the climb and received a certificate to prove it, I took a picture of a street filled with motorcycles,


only hubs said I was snapping men in business suits, so here’s a better view…of the cycles!


The Gherkin was our next sight, it goes all the way to the ground and through my view finder looks as though there are men in slings hanging off the sides engaged in the perpetual task of window cleaning!


Here is a view from street level and I am snapping men again, though this time it is hubs!


The Gherkin as it is affectionately called, and only the English would use the word ‘affectionate’ when referring to an inanimate object, is primarily office space although the plaza is for public use.  Perhaps someone was cleaning the windows look at all that glass!

Well, we can’t walk very far in London without coming across a pub and this one in particular caught my fancy,


It is situated on Tower Street, and has a plaque with a quote from one of Samuel Pepys‘ famous diaries which he wrote while living in Axe Yard near Westminster Palace.  It reads,


Landmarks would not be complete without the Tower which we Londoners tend to take for granted because we see it on the horizon from many parts of the City,


and for my barista daughter, here’s my final shot of a free standing Starbucks.


Have coffee, will travel.



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