Despite enjoying some of the world’s best museums, I began feeling restless and a bit complacent about all the artwork and artifacts so I spent a day outdoors by walking along the Thames River.
As I headed toward the river, I passed through Covent Garden for a quick peek. It was bustling with people – families and friends – enjoying lunch on a sunny London day. I poked around in some shops and watched entertainers performing for the lunch crowd. It seemed like there was a mix of locals and tourists and felt like a nice way to spend a few hours.
However, I was determined to get a look at this river so I continued on. Like most of my travels so far, I didn’t bother with a guidebook and just followed my instincts. I couldn’t tell you the river’s history or significance if my life depended on it. Like many places in this great city, its name sounded familiar and, in my book, that’s good enough to warrant a visit.
I’m not sure what I was expecting to see, but the Thames River looked like any other major waterway with barges, boats and water taxis. There were many bridges that linked the two sides and carried a steady stream of cars to and fro. Down the river to my right was the London Eye and over to my left was St Paul’s Cathedral. I was extremely happy for the sunshine-y weather because the air was brisk and could be felt even through a jacket. And the sun somehow managed to make the muddy river not so gloomy.
I stopped midway across one of the bridges for some photos and could just imagine what this place may have looked like back in the 1700s and 1800s – pollution in the air from the industrial revolution; inadequate sewer system contaminating the waterways; trash, grime and mud littering the streets. Boy, how things have changed since then.
As I continued walking, I noticed many areas that were under redevelopment. New shops and restaurants opening up along the river were sure to lure tourists. There were also what looked to be some amazing riverside flats or offices, which must cost a fortune, that looked appealing from the outside.
I passed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a recreation of the original theater in which Shakespeare performed. As I was boycotting any more cultural interchanges today, I skipped the attraction to save for another time and another day.