Published: August 3rd 2012August 3rd 2012
Explore London 002
The Stations I concentrated on today
Before I began my challenge I needed to spend some time jotting down each and every station on the London Underground Map. As I did this it dawned on me how many stations I had never even heard of before even though I have worked in the City for many years and now also live here. To avoid repetition and for ease of use as a reference point I decided to separate them according to the underground lines that they are situated on. I also made the decision to include the London Overground and DLR lines seeing as they are present on the official London Tube Map. As time progresses I may well randomly pick an area of the City to visit, but for my first foray into the city I decided to start by exploring the areas surrounding Tower Hill to Mansion House on the Circle Line. I'm starting here because the Circle Line runs in a general loop around the very centre of the City.
It just so happened to be the first day after the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics as I embarked on my first journey. Tower Hill is a hotspot for tourists at the
best of times, but today and probably for the next few weeks it was twice as busy. An exellent place to begin, I began by seeking peace and wandering Trinity Square Gardens where I stumbled across a huge memorial that I was previously unaware of. The memorial is dedicated to those that lost their lives in both the World Wars and commemorates those from the Merchant Navy that lost their lives at sea. Parts of this memorial were first opened way back in 1928, and even today fresh poppies are still being placed here.
Leaving here and edging back into the crowds I spotted a statue of a Roman soldier and wandered over for a closer look. There was a tour guide in progression at the time and I tried to eavesdrop on the conversation to find out some interesting facts to include here but was unable to ascertain any relevent information. He seemed to be guarding a large section of the London Wall though. Digging a little deeper I discovered that the statue depicts the Roman Emporer 'Trajan'. Tower Hill boasts one of the most impressive sections of this historic wall (it says so on a plaque!) which
was said to be built by the Romans as far back as 200AD. I'm aware that there are remnants of the wall to be found dotted around in various places as it once fully surrounded the city so perhaps I'll uncover other sections as I explore further. For now though I edged closer to The Tower of London and then on to Tower Bridge, immersing myself once again into the throng of tourists as I went.
From here I headed away from the crowds and into the peaceful financial areas (it being a Saturday) between Tower Hill and Monument. At various points around the City there are hidden Olympic mascots to discover - 85 in total - and I soon found myself taking photos as I stumbled across them. It appears others were taking on the challenge more seriously, a guy in his 40's telling me how he had to photograph them all for a bet in as quick a time as possible; 'the things you do after having a few beers,' he wheezed at me before riding off to find his next statue. As I captured my third mascot, another guy with a camera stopped to reassure me
that 'don't worry, I'm just as sad as you' before he too wandered off in pursuit of his next goal. Now if only he knew the extent of the challenge I was undertaking, I'm not sure if he would still have made that comment.
Passing through an eerily quiet Leadenhall Market, I made my way to Monument station and photographed Monument itself for probably the 1000th time in my life. I haven't seen much of London, but there are some places that just draw you back time and again, and this is one of them. After a stroll down by the River Thames I made my way to Cannon Street in search of The London Stone. Finding it was easy enough, embedded as it was in the wall of 111 Cannon Street. Seeing it was another matter, to the unaware passer by it probably seemed as though I was just taking a photograph of a grate on a wall. It seems nobody really knows the full story behind the stone anyway, some say it is thousands of years old and many believe it sits on a key ley line between historical buildings therefore making it the spritual centre of
London. For all that knowledge though, it could just be a big piece of rock! Either way, I've now seen it, another famous rock ticked off of my list!
There are more photos below