Blog Post Date: November 28, 2016
Journal Entry Date: October 8, 2016
I leave the tranquility of Cleary Gardens behind and walk up Bread Street toward the ruins of the London Wall. As I arrive at Cheapside again I see my next tree ahead, poking out from between several buildings, looking as if it barely fits. I wonder what sort of garden is hidden in the small space among the cement and windows. The London Plane (Platens x hispanica definitely demands respect among all those rectangles and straight edges.
Standing beneath it, the giant appears even more majestic. There is little left of the churchyard in which the roots can spread themselves before jamming into the foundations of the far younger buildings.
The tree is well over two hundred years old!
My head spins and my body feels a bit faint from what I am coming to think of as sauntering time travel. Single words contrasted against dark glass jump out at me, jolt me from the distant past into a space and time that doesn’t quite feel like the present. I’ve never seen a city with this magnitude of curving windows and playful geometric structures.
At Gresham Street I find the City of London Guildhall. Had I done my research I would have known to step inside to see the carvings of the two legendary giants, Gog and Magog, the library, art galleries and the medieval great hall. The building was begun in 1411 and completed in 1440.
On the corner of Milk Street and Love Lane I found the Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum) in the former churchyard of St.Mary Aldermanbury. In the center of the courtyard I see a bust of Shakespeare.
The list of history books I want to read keeps growing longer.
I wish I had more control over my time traveling so that I could sit at a table in an Inn with Shakespeare, Heminge and Condell.
A short distance from the memorial I get my first glimpse of the London Wall.
It’s a Saturday evening and I feel as if I have the city to myself. I definitely have the ruins of the London Wall to myself. There is absolutely no one around, no one who is living. Ghosts populate the cut grass and sit upon the ruins.
I appreciate the information panels that I find along the path.
Old and new continue to play havoc with my mind.
Another bit of history to tease my curiosity about days gone by.
Hidden behind one of the tallest portions of the wall a kitchen garden flourishes.
The newer city attempts to live with the old in harmony.
Ghosts come to life through the hands of graffiti artists.
Such an odd vision, a bit of Venice in London. I had no idea it was part of the Barbican Centre. I really should have read up on London. The Barbican Centre is another place I must return to.
My last glimpse at the London Wall.
Back on Wood street I see a familiar site, air vents like of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. I get the feeling that the architect, Richard Rogers, is responsible for a great deal of the glass structures I am seeing in London. Another book to add to the list.
I enjoy the curved glass buildings more than I do linear glass buildings.
My feet are weary and I’ve worked up an appetite. Street Art calls out to me one more time before I disappear down into the depths of the Underground and make my way back to Hammersmith.
Around the corner from St. Christopher’s Inn is a Wagamama. I order a delicious plate of veggies and sip a glass of red wine. It’s hard to believe I’ve only been in London for seven hours.
Belushi’s Bar is connected with St. Christopher’s Hostel where I will be staying for the next three nights. I stopped in for a bit of drawing and a pint of ale.
My last challenge for the day was to climb the four flights of stairs to my room. I smiled a weary smile at the poster on the landing of the second floor, a photo of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Nicole and I had visited the cathedral together in March of 2004. I had an experience in the cathedral that changed my life. My connection to the natural world was awakened from a long slumber and my wanderlust was reignited. My daughter, Nicole is one of the best travel partners I’ve ever had. Every evening we climbed the narrow stairs to our tiny room, a stone’s throw from Las Ramblas. We ached from a long day of walking and digesting inspiration. We washed up, crawled into our beds and wrote in our journals, emptying our heads to make room for the next day of adventures.
My first day in London came to a close.