Monday, July 26, 2010

26 July 2010 Thames Cruise Picadilly Circus Covent Garden London Transport Museum

Tower Bridge from Thames River

London Eye from Thames River

River Thames Water Police

Lyn in front of Tower of London

London Buses at the London Transport Museum

Trolley Bus at the London Transport Museum as used in Nottingham as well

Royal Opera House Covent Garden

Lyn in Covent Garden

Lyn outside Covent Garden Tube Station

Street Gymnasts at Covent Garden

Mick and Lyn having dinner at a restaurant at Covent Garden

The odd shower forecast for today so we took our backpack with umbrella and wet weather coats just in case. We hadn't booked anything for today.

We took our usual route to the city and got off the train at London Bridge where we decided to go for an extended river cruise (more extended than the last one).

Many of the river cruise operators work from the Tower of London side of the river so we caught the tube to Tower Hill and walked down to the river.

There we hopped onto a river cruise boat which took us down river for about half and hour and the did a U-turn to return to the same pier. This allows us to get a good view of both sides of the river without having to shift seats. It was good to get additional pictures of landmarks from the river as there is nothing obstructing the view.

Following the river cruise Mick suggested we go and checkout Piccadilly Circus which is a famous road junction and public area where people congregate in London's West End at Westminster in London. It is also the name of a tube station.

Piccadilly Circus is noted for it's video displays on one of the buildings there and also a statue of an archer in the centre of the fountain commonly known as Eros although Mick thinks it isn't Eros at all.

When Mick visited as a child he seems to remember the area being a busy roundabout which it still is despite the congestion tax. He thought the area where the statue is had had more paving added to accommodate the hoards of people who like to visit it.

After relaxing and taking a few pictures, we caught the tube to Covent Garden to have a look at the theatre district. Apparently there are more theatres per square metre than anywhere else in the country.

Covent Garden is famous for the Royal Opera House, restaurants, street performers, theatres, shops, bars and there was also a street market when we were there. It is a sort of piazza as you might find in Italy with large paved areas replacing the roads making it a great place to just wander through, taking it all in. It also has many fashionable boutiques which Lyn thought were a bit too posh for her tastes.

Covent Garden is in the heart of London's West End and is known worldwide as London's premier entertainment and leisure destination. We certainly found it captivating.

Mick also found the London Transport Museum but as Lyn isn't keen on Museums we decided to split up with Lyn going around the shops and Mick going to the museum.

After about 90 minutes Lyn wandered down to the gift shop in the museum to find Mick just coming out. Perfect timing.

Mick found the museum very interesting with heaps of information about the development of London transport in general and particularly the London underground which started in the 1860's.

The first underground lines were built using the cut and cover method since in the 1860's, when the first line was built, there were no tunnel boring machines. This was done manually by digging a deep trench and creating the tube and then filling it in. Later of course the lines went much deeper as tunnel boring machines were developed.

The first trains used steam engines and despite ventilation, the tunnels were a smokey, sulphur filled place to be. Mick couldn't imagine travelling underground in such conditions but apparently it worked reasonably well and was a popular method of transport.

Today of course it is electrically powered with the lines being electrified so it's not a good idea to jump down amongst them. Quite often you can see sparks flying when the trains head off into the dark tunnels.

The current network has 270 stations and 400klms of track. Although it is called an underground (now more commonly known as the tube) 55% of it runs above ground.

Anyway, enough of Mick's museum stuff.

So we both met up and again and after watching some of the very clever street performers, we decided to have a meal there and picked a nice looking restaurant (Maxwells, 8 James Street, Covent Garden) to have dinner.

They gave us a nice table in the window so we were able to watch the people walking by and as per usual in this country,the meal was perfect. (Not to mention that on Monday nights, all their meals are half price, which was a nice surprise).

After the meal we had another walk around before catching the tube to a mainline station and heading home.

Great day.

Pressing invitation to Buckingham Palace tomorrow. Tickets bought so should be fun.

1 comment:

  1. We all love Lyn but one picture outside Covent Garden Tube Station is enough already!!!