After the parade had passed St. Paul’s and disappeared for a while the whole of the city was still closed to traffic, so it was wonderful to be able to walk along in the middle of the traffic free streets, with just the sound of voices filling the air, and no fumes. I managed to get some (I thought) good photos of St. Paul’s, and we passed the
Then on the way to The Shard by pure coincidence was the church where Dick Whittington was buried, and though not open to see inside there was a plaque to him on its wall. Nearing The Shard we took advantage of London’s cosmopolitan nature and tried a Peruvian meal, which was very interesting and very filling. We both liked the look of the same meal and chose, a Cerviche of Seafood would have been an ample main course anywhere else followed by an equally filling main course complete with Peruvian natural freeze air dried potato. Suitably topped up, including some Peruvian beer, it left us just enough time to walk to the top of the street where I had booked us into the viewing platform at The Shard.
The finale to the Lord Mayor’s Show was to be a fantastic display of fireworks let off from a barge in the middle of the Thames by Southwark Bridge, so hoping for a clear day I had taken the risk of booking to go up The Shard that afternoon. The idea being to get some views of the city in the daylight, watch the day fade, if luck was in see a sunset over the city, then the lights come on, and finally (all being well) see the fireworks.
The day was a bit iffy in places though it mostly stayed dry and although there was no ‘sunset’ as such it was interesting, even for someone who knows little or nothing of London to admire the views and watch the ‘toy trains’ run along the little railway lines set out just like a child’s model at some seventy two floors beneath our feet.
I had phoned to check if I would be allowed to take a folding camping-seat stick with me, but told, no, that was not permitted, so I dreaded having to stand from three thirty in the afternoon (the latest timed tickets available to purchase) to five thirty in the evening by which time I assumed the fireworks would be over.
Security getting in was a bit of a performance, but not too bad, except when they were insisting on taking a photo which I thought was for some sort of identification badge, but was in fact to sell you later as a souvenir. Needless to say as soon as I realised what was going on I picked up my coat and bag and stomped off.
The lifts positively whisk you up the floors; you have to change half way up, and then again when you reach the top. There is a viewing floor and champagne bar (again with no seats) on floor sixty nine and on floor seventy two the upper viewing floor, which is open to the elements, but with glass windows to stop you falling out and cut down the wind.
Even though it is only a short distance between the two the view from the upper floor feels much higher. The loos also have floor to ceiling clear glass windows. Once you get over the surprise of sitting on a loo in the evening as the lights are coming on and with no curtains the idea of a loo with a view takes over.
In the daylight the great pool of memorial poppies at the Tower just over the Thames were very moving and then it was not too long after that darkness and the fireworks were due to start.
They were truly spectacular, and even at that distance made a real show, sometimes seeming to light up the whole of the city. When one in particular went up and burst to make a red heart in the sky the oohhh’s and aarrhhh’s peaked. But you will have to wait until I am better at editing video, as otherwise it will last over half and hour!