After years of working in London I realised that I had walked past the Monument to the Fire of London many hundreds of times but had never climbed it. So, yesterday, I did.
The Monument, as it is known, was completed in 1677 and sits at the north end of London Bridge (that, for American readers, is different from Tower Bridge, the pretty one that lifts up in the middle – London Bridge is a very boring structure).
Anyway, tucked down a little side street the tower stands, increasingly dwarfed by surrounding modern buildings. For £3 you get to climb the 300-odd steps of a cantilever stone spiral staircase.
The staircase is tight and narrow and makes passing others going in the opposite direction a little tricky.
Once at the top you are in a wire mesh cage to stop those that want to end their lives in a spectacular way….you get a pretty good view of the Thames (even Tower Bridge about a mile away).
On the way down I took this pretty cool photo….
After our exertions I went to meet some friends in the George Inn, just over the river. This is a historic pub, being mentioned by both Shakespeare and Dickens, and is the last galleried coaching inn in London. It is worth a visit for the ambiance, but, as usual in London, the food they serve could have been better. Just a little more care…such a shame.
Anyway the friends that I met up with had just completed a cycle ride from Madrid to London, nearly 800 miles in a straight line. It took them two weeks to complete the journey using back roads and, as you can expect they had many adventures on the way….they were even made dinner in a French village, miles from anywhere and late at night, by the villagers who gathered round, and bought eggs and vegetables, opened up the village bar, and fed them. Who said the French were unfriendly…!!!
Anyway, my friends made lots of sponsorship money for UNICEF so the least I could do was buy them a cold beer….