Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Glimpses of London

I spent last weekend in London seeing relatives. We were looking for sightseeing things to do, and we landed on the idea of visiting this place:

You might not recognise the area from this close-up shot, but it's on TV all the time. It's more commonly known as the Old Bailey.

We were hoping to see if we could watch some criminal proceedings, as there is a public gallery for such things. We got there too late though, and the guard told us the judge was wrapping up. He advised us that the best times to come were in the mornings or after lunch, Monday to Thursday. The Old Bailey doesn't allow you to enter the building if you have any cameras on you, and it doesn't provide storage. So if we do go back again (which I'd like to) we'd have to leave our phones at home.

St Paul's Cathedral makes an interesting tour no matter what your religious beliefs are. It's an incredible building, built between 1675 and 1710, after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Services began in 1697. The MP3 audio tour is fascinating. You'll be given the headphone pack on entry to the building.

The cathedral floor takes up the majority of the structure, and the attention to detail in the d├ęcor both there and throughout the entire building is incredible. Watch out for a few hidden artistic gems, like the Henry Moore sculpture hiding in a conclave. The highlights of the building include the crypt at the bottom of the building, where you'll find the tombs of Lord Nelson, Lord Wellington and Sir Christopher Wren, among others, and the view of the city from the observatory at the top of the 111.3 metre-high dome.

On the Saturday I ran in the Barking Parkrun, a 5km, 2-lap dash of the East London public park. I enrolled beforehand so that my time could be recorded.

It was snowing. I find running in snow quite helpful: you need to run fast to keep warm, so you're always pushing yourself to stay at that pace.

To compare this to the rest of the running I do, I only ever run for 10 minutes. I last treadmilled at 12km/ph for 10 minutes, so 2km distance. So Parkrun was a bit of a slog. Good fun lapping the older folk though!

A few days later, Barking Parkrun administrators sent me this email:

Barking results for event #35. Your time was 25:30.
Congratulations on completing your 1st parkrun and your 1st at Barking today. You finished in 12th place and were the 10th gent out of a field of 22 parkrunners and you came 4th in your age category SM30-34.”

We checked out Greenwich Market, which is quite an eclectic trove. I would be the owner of this bad boy if I'd had actually been to a cash machine beforehand.

Yes, I know.


This is The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe. I've now found that there's an observatory for the public. Next time...

Also next time, I might dive in here:

Macbeth is one of the greatest stories ever told, and I'm keen to read a bit more Shakespeare, to be honest. I'm not a theatre person really, but I would check this out.

I'll be back to see more of the capital later in the year.

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