Blog2018 ≫ London weekender day 3

Another day, another massive Premier Inn breakfast, these boys particularly love it. I had the full breakfast and Clare had the continental or (continatial* as we both still like to call it) which qualifies both the boys for as much food as they can eat. Clare did sneak a slice of bacon for a bacon sandwich from someone's plate with her continatial breakfast too, naughty. We all ate our fill planning to only have one meal mid afternoon.

Still hella cold again this morning but we bundled up and headed to the Monument. Not the tube this time but the actual monument to the Great Fire Of London that the area is named after. It's awesome, imagine if you could climb up the inside of Nelson's Column - it is basically that. The boys love it, I think this was more interesting than the London Eye. Little one in particular is very keen on identifying all the oddly named land marks all around and you can see them from the top of the 311 steps. Amazing that it was built in 1671 and is still basically the same.

Next we headed to Tower Bridge but it was so cold on the way there that we had to stop in somewhere for a coffee, even though we'd only just had breakfast. The Pret that we stopped in first was heaving but had a fault so could serve no hot drinks. There's a Starbucks over the road, equally heaving, but we could sit down and warm up, which was wanted more than the coffee. Luckily it was the slowest coffee shop in the world so the boys got to sit comfortably for a while playing Top Trumps and watching all the milling tourists.

Next into Tower Bridge itself, also really cool. The main feature is to be able to walk across the top part, which has a glass floor in parts. So you're high up above the traffic and river below, glass floor, straight down. The boys were wary but enjoyed it. There's also an interesting display on various bridges of the world and a tour of the engine rooms that raise and lower the bridge. The bridge was due to be raised three times this week for tall ships to go through (mostly dismissed as booze cruisers by one of the guides I spoke to) but was not being raised on the day we were there. Other interesting facts, it wasn't built until 1894, it is the second newest of the bridges across the Thames, and "only" ten people died during its construction.

Next meandering to lunch, we went to Wagamama at the Clink prison, via Borough Market. But Borough Market is closed on a Sunday, so there was not loads to see. A good Wagamama, successful eating for the boys, and a nice location too. Then home, I walked back to the hotel to pick up the bag we left there, so over London Bridge again and along the Thames path back to Monument and our Premier Inn, while Clare and the boys got the tube directly to St Pancras. We were out of radio contact for all this time, which set me imagining what would happen if we failed to rendezvous. Clare's phone was out of battery, and though I have spare batteries and leads, and she even has a spare battery, she did not have a charging lead for the iphone. It all worked out as planned, but now we've bought an extra iphone lead just in case for next time. So two more things for my almost-every day carry; a spare comb and a charging lead for a phone I do not own.

Easy train ride back to the car, the boys playing the fun free Tower Bridge phone app we got and carrying on with the puzzles and colouring we picked up there and in the restaurant. Picked up the car, it had a coating of snow but no parking tickets, and home.

I usually end up thinking "why did I bother?" on these trips, but not this time, it was awesome and I am thinking about our next trip. Also when we got back we booked New York, so something else to look forward to later this year.

*Continatial because of a badly spelled shop sign in Finsbury park that we used to pass every day on the bus.

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Paul Clarke's weblog - I live in Hythe near Folkestone. Wed + dad to 2, I'm a full stack web engineer, + I do js / Node, some ruby, python, php etc. I like pubbing, parkrun, eating, home automation and other diy jiggery-pokery, history, genealogy, Television, squirrels, pirates, lego, and TIME TRAVEL.