Not very creatively, I start with a walk around my neighbourhood in London for prospective visitors to look forward to their stay and for my family in Germany to understand why I left that small village in Bavaria to move to beautiful London.
So this is where I live, in one of the red brick houses in the back. Although it is quite central, in the borough of Southwark, you can already see that it is a green area. Bermondsey Spa Gardens Park is just outside my house and a perfect place for a quick run, to eat dinner outside or to enjoy the sun.
London is generally much greener than people (who haven’t visited yet) think. The following are a few images from Southwark Park, the largest park (25 hectares) in my vicinity. It would be a great place to go running if it wasn’t for the many dogs there.
By now you must think that I live in the countryside and not in a city of 8 million people. So we’ll leave the park and walk back home. This short walk leads past St James Church.
This effect of old versus new, and unfortunately too often: old dwarfed by new, can be seen at a few other locations as well. Another example is the church of St George the Martyr in Borough which is now overshadowed by the skeleton of the Shard Tower being built:
The Shard Tower being built in the background will be a glass-clad skyscraper with 72 floors. It will be the tallest building in Europe. residents argue whether it is ugly or beautiful, I just find it convenient because wherever in London I am, it shows me the direction I have to walk to reach home.
But it is certainly a dominating structure, especially at night when it is lit.
But at night, there are more beautiful sights. Just a few minutes north from where I live, I can enjoy this view on my evening walks: the famous Tower Bridge.
Walking westwards along the Thames, you will see more monuments that you easily recognise, like St Paul’s Cathedral, photographed here from under the bridge that leads to it from the Tate Modern Gallery.
But one of the better things in London is that you are always surprised by unexpected attractions, such as this man with an invisible head. (Note that he has the box for the money chained to his leg for fear of thieves.)
Continuing westwards, we reach the Palace of Westminster, the seat of Parliament since 1295 and a beautiful complex of buildings.
When you’ve had enough of old buildings, history and the political system of a country that survives without a written constitution, I recommend a rest in nearby St James’s Park which provides you with a place to rest and beautiful views.
As the sun begins to set, it’s time to head back to the Thames to have another look at Westminster Palace, this time at dusk.
Walking back home, I should be honest and lay open that not all spots in London are as beautiful as the ones that you have seen. As any large city, London has striking contrasts between beautiful and ugly, well-maintained and forgotten, rich and poor parts.
One neighbour in Mandela Way apparently thinks that the area is even dangerous enough to warrant putting a T-34 tank into his yard:
I hope that this doesn’t scare you off and that I will see you in London soon.(All photos (C) by Andreas Moser)