London: A Cruise on the Thames

I could not believe it: our full last day in London had arrived. Olivia and I had reservations for a London Eye ride and river boat cruise. I was super excited for both, as I have been on many rivers in many huge cities around the world (Paris, Berlin, Budapest), and I was glad to add onto the list. Plus, the London Eye was something that so many people brought up when I said I was visiting.

The day started with a trip on the Thames, which was narrated by a guide who gave us a blurb about many sites along the way:

  • Westminster and Lambeth Bridges: Also known as the green and red bridges due to their color, the Westminster Bridge was used by members of the House of Commons, while the Lambeth Bridge was used by members of the House of Lords, so the Houses of Parliament did not mix when entering the building.
  • Palace of Westminster: We learned that the fire that largely destroyed the palace in 1834 was caused by the burning of ballot sticks in its basement.
  • Ministry of Defense: With its windows completely shuttered closed, this building houses some of the most top secret information, and apparently dives 19 floors underground. Rumor has it that there is a bomb shelter, tunnels and a wine cellar from Henry VIII hidden underneath.
  • Royal National Theater: I would not expect this gray, cement building to host three theaters.
  • ITV Studios: Lights, camera, action! This is where This Morning is taped.
  • Paul’s: Amidst restoration work, the cathedral was absolutely gutted during the Great Fire of 1666.
  • Millennium Bridge: A steel suspension bridge opened in 2000 solely for human crossing, it is famous for its cameo in the sixth Harry Potter film.

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  • London Bridge: There have been many bridges that spanned the Thames that wore this name, with the first apparently being the original bridge in London. One would not not think it is so famous, considering the current 1973 London Bridge is simply concrete and steel.
  • HMS Belfast: This is the last remaining White Star Line ship in the world. It served in both world wars and is extremely famous for carrying first and second class passengers to the Titanic.
  • Tower Bridge: There is a set schedule for when this iconic bridge opens to let tall ships though. Also, the extra fancy stonework that decorates the bridge is completely unnecessary and is only there to complement the Tower of London.
  • Tate Modern: A modern art gallery located on the Thames. I would love to visit in the future.
  • Mooring Rings: There are lion heads that act as mooring rings along the river, and people say, “When the lions drink, London will sink.”
  • Somerset House: A historical building that I would like to visit. It holds London’s fashion week.

Although the day was foggy and gray and any color was washed right out of the city, I was glad I got to be on the water, my favorite place to be. After the cruise, we headed to our next destination: The Sky Garden.

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