Tuesday, November 18, 2008

London Tower Bridge

When I think of London, I think of the landmark Tower Bridge with its neo-Gothic towers. I knew my trip to London would be incomplete without getting up close to this world famous bridge. The weather could not have been worse for my bridge excursion, but I headed out anyway.

Pouring rain soaked my jeans from the knees down to the hems. And gale force winds threatened to lift me and my umbrella like Mary Poppins into the sky above the Thames River. Still, I walked across the bridge along the pedestrian path with lumbering red double-decker buses, speeding taxis and rumbling delivery trucks splashing as they drove past.

For relief from the pelting rain, I paid my £6 for admission to the Tower Bridge Experience. The Experience videos tell the story of the bridge construction in the 1890s, construction which at the time was considered an outstanding engineering achievement. Over 1-million rivets went into the construction, many of which were visible in the supports as I walked through the towers and upper walkways. Though I am not an engineer, I marveled at the intricate crisscross of the bridge’s steel beams. I also enjoyed seeing the mechanisms of the engine room where giant boilers remain. They once drove the hydraulic system to raise the drawbridge and give tall ships passage on the Thames River.

Even with the non-stop rain, the sights from the elevated walkway linking the two bridge towers gave panoramic views of London and the Thames from 45 meter high. I lingered there taking photos through raindrop coated windows and blue& white pattern of the structure. Now, my trip would be complete. I had experienced the Tower Bridge.

November 10, 2008

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