Got some catching up to do as we've missed the last three days blogs.
Saturday was another early start as we walked over Tower Bridge and along South Bank to Borough Market. There was first mention of a market here in 1276, although they believe it goes back further to Roman times. This is a fantastic gourmet food market, and although we only intended to look (and perhaps "sample") it was far too tempting for us to resist and we ended up with a whole bag load of goodies to take on a picnic.
Next door to the market is Southwark Cathedral. There has been a church on this site since 606AD, the present one dates from 1220. Thomas Becket preached here before he went to Canterbury. It was here that Shakespeare worshipped and his brother, Edmund is buried here. The grave is unmarked but inside the church is a commemorative plaque, as well as a statue of a reclining William Shakespeare and stained glass windows depicting scenes from some of his plays. It's also the church where John Harvard, founder of the Harvard University was baptised.
Keeping with the Shakespeare theme, our next stop was the Globe theatre. The original Globe burned down in 1613. It was rebuilt but then closed and pulled down, along with all the other theatres by Cromwell's puritan government in 1642 (guess they weren't a fan). The present theatre was completed in 1997 and is about 300 feet west of the original site.
We took a brief stop at the Tate modern for a cup of tea/coffee then headed into Oxford St, Regent St, Old Bond St, New Bond St, Piccidilly Circus, Burlington Arcade for some retail therapy. Just as out feet were about to fall off we stopped for "afternoon tea" We attempted to "take tea" at Fortnum and Masons, but the queue was a mile long, so we settled for a little cafe on Regent St. We took a quick trip back home to shower and changed then headed back to the West End to see Blood Brothers. Fantastic show!! Susan kept saying she didn't like musicals, but as we were in the West End she like to see one. At the end of the show she was a complete convert and now wants to see more!!
Sunday started with a walk to Petticoat Lane market. Nice name - crap market. Full of tat and crap clothes. It was probably once a good place to go for cheap clothing, but not worth the effort now. If you're every here, don't bother, there's much better markets, like our next stop - Camden.
We had a look around and stopped for coffee in the main market then went to Camden Lock Market. Fantastic, full of arts and crafts, hand made jewellery and bags etc. Things you won't find anywhere else. We spent far too much, and could have spent a lot more.
Time for a rest, so we took a barge from Camden Lock up Regents Canal to Regents Park and back again. Half way through the trip the wonderful English summer came to an end and it started raining. By the time we got back to Camden, I was so cold a couple of unmentionable things had dropped off!!!
On the way back, coming out of Tower Hill tube station, Susan fell over - I swear I didn't push her and I only laughed a little. I did go to help her up, but a nice man beat me to it. She was ok, it doesn't hurt when you're drunk......ok ok she wasn't drunk - honest.
Monday - The rain was still going from yesterday afternoon but it wasn't too bad. First stop today was to explore St Paul's Cathedral. We walked in and as soon as Susan looked up to the ceiling in the Dome, she burst into tears. I think she was overcome by the sheer majesty and beauty of it (either that or she was still shaken by yesterday fall) St Paul's, of course was built by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th Century after the previous one had burned down during the Great Fire of London in 1666, but there had been a church on the same spot since 604AD. It was here that funerals for Lord Horatio Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill were held. Inside are the tombs of these and other famous people like Wren himself, Florence Nightingale, Joshua Reynolds, Samuel Johnson, William Blake and (my favourite) Turner.
By the time we left St Paul's the rain had cleared up so we took a walk over the Millennium Bridge and into the Tate Modern. I'm afraid it was more tears here too. This time for both of us. I went first after being overwhelmed in the Rothko room. I don't pretend to understand art (and I certainly can't make it, you'd be lucky to get a recognisable stick figure out of me) but sometimes something beautiful just touches you (I said someTHING not someONE!) if you can't explain it, then emotion is the only way to release it. Next it was Susan's turn. We were like a crying tag team! For Susan it was a series of paintings by Gerhard Richter called Cage, after the composer John Cage. It was definitely time for a coffee break!!
Hyde Park was the next stop for today.
We took a short walk round and then headed to Marble Arch.
Some very interesting new statues here, a mix of traditional and modern.
As we were leaving Marble Arch to head to Covent Garden Susan fell over drunk again! She tells me she wasn't, and admittedly I hadn't seen her drink anything stronger than tea, but I have my suspicions!! Covent Garden was a welcome rest point from the day's walking.
A couple of glasses of wine (to get Susan steady on her feet) whilst listening to some classical buskers and we were off walking again.
This time along Charring Cross Rd and finishing off in Leicester Square, where we stopped for dinner.
Another walk along Whitehall to Westminster, which is lovely at night and the tube back home.
Another day over, this week in London is racing past!
Might have to extend the holiday (hint, hint Maria)