A city stroll in London
Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.Samuel Johnson
Above is the fuller version of the oft-quoted line, ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’. It comes from a discussion between Johnson and James Boswell about whether or not Boswell’s affection for London would wear thin should he be living there as Johnson did, rather than enjoying the city on occasional visits.
Take a walk in any part of London today and you will see many Johnsons and many Boswells. That is, the people you encounter will be a mix of locals and tourists. Some of the locals will be working of course, but many will be out enjoying all the delights London has to offer.
Like Johnson, I never tire of my home city. Whether it’s a trip to the cinema, a meal out with friends, an exhibition or simply a walk, there is always something to do here. And of course, my camera often goes with me.
For these outings I usually take my smaller Panasonic Lumix, a TZ70 point and shoot. I can slip it into my handbag, and although not as versatile as my larger FZ200 bridge camera, it copes well with almost all I ask of it. So for Anne’s Lens Artists challenge this week, in which she asks us to share images taken with the same lens, I thought I would use a set taken on my most recent walk around London.
What made this particular outing special was that it was my first chance since I started blogging to meet up with a fellow blogger. I’ve met in person friends made online through Virtual Tourist many times, but until now no one met through blogging. There were a couple of near misses last year. I’d hoped to meet Restless Jo in Faro, but Covid thwarted our plans. And I hoped to meet Margaret at Fountains Abbey, but diaries didn’t align. This third attempt however worked out well, and I met up with Alison for a day out in the City. I guess you could say that I was the Samuel Johnson of our pair, since I live here, while she was, like Boswell, just visiting. Although in truth, as a former Londoner, Alison knows the city nearly as well as I do!
So for Anne’s challenge, and also as a belated Monday Walk for Jo, here are some favourites among the shots I took that day.
On my way to meet Alison at Barbican Station I passed Smithfield Market. My feature shot shows another detail of this rather fabulous building.
After coffee (and a lot of chat!) in the Barbican Centre we started to walk towards St Paul’s Cathedral. We passed the Ironmongers’ Hall, home to the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, one of the historic guilds of the City of London. It is now an events venue and not open to the public. But I took a few photos of the exterior details.
Near the cathedral we turned down Watling Street in search of lunch. This is a small stretch of the ancient road that once linked Dover on the south east coast to London, St Albans (Roman Verulamium) and on to Wroxeter in Shropshire (site of the Roman city of Viroconium). There are good views from here back to St Paul’s.
We passed a statue of a cordwainer or shoemaker. The sign on its plinth reads:
You are in the Ward of Cordwainer which in medieval times was the centre of shoe-making in the City of London. The finest leather from Cordoba in Spain was used which gave rise to the name of the craftsmen and the Ward.
After lunch we retraced our steps towards the cathedral, and I caught its reflection in a nearby modern building.
We then turned towards the river down Peter’s Hill. When I was a child in the 1960s St Paul’s was surrounded by tall buildings that obscured the views. Fortunately they have since been pulled down and the vista from the river opened up.
Along this path, with its steps leading you down towards the Millennium Bridge, several pieces of art add to the interest of the walk. There are a couple of large metal globes that create rather bizarre reflections of the cathedral and surrounding area.
Crossing the river we stopped for a selfie (see below) but surprisingly I didn’t take any photos. That’s perhaps because I come here so often, or perhaps because my fingers were getting cold!
Instead we carried on and went into the Tate Modern art gallery on the south bank, where this image caught my eye. I thought at the time that it would work well in black and white. But I took it in colour just in case and converted it later in Silver Efex Pro.
We went up to the gallery’s sixth floor bar. From here you can get a great view of St Paul’s and the City skyline.
We finished our walk with a riverside stroll to Blackfriars Bridge, underneath which is this rather lovely bit of street art by James Cochran, known as Jimmy C.
At Blackfriars we separated; I headed home while Alison returned to her parents’ house where she was staying. But I can’t finish this post without sharing this selfie, a memento of our meet-up. The photo credit goes to Alison as she took this on her phone. And I must apologise to Anne as it breaks the ‘one lens’ rule of her challenge. But I couldn’t leave it out!
It is great to hear of your love for London and for introducing me to the “Johnson – Boswell” story. It is interesting, and now I can understand how easily it could be to become numb to the city you live in, a Johnson, and when allowed to hang with a Boswell, do it. 🙂
Yes, it’s good to see your city through someone else’s eyes from time to time, but like Johnson I love London and don’t need a visitor to remind me of that fact!
Loved every word and every photo as you meandered around London. It is one of my favorite cities to walk in. Always something to see and let the eyes wander as well . Fantastic to think you were able to meet up with Alison for your walk together. You were so detailed in the walk, I believe I could save it and use it as a guide. Then again, I will just call you next time we visit.
Oh, you absolutely must do that! Meanwhile, I’m so glad you enjoyed this little walk. It was easy for me to be detailed as I’ve walked these streets so many times – although I confess the pub that Alison found on her map was a new one to me (and could easily become a favourite!)
So great to meet up with blogger friends! And the walk is interesting and as usual well photographed. Loved the B&W! A marvelous shot.
Thank you Ann-Christine 😀 Yes, the meet-up was fun and so was the walk! Glad you liked that B&W shot 🙂
How fabulous that you & Ali met for a scenic explore through one of my favourite cities … to see lovely London through your eyes & lens! My favourite capture has to be your selfie! Those smiles are priceless!
Yes, it was fun to meet up and explore together for sure 🙂
A nice walk. (And encounter no doubt). I walked that this summer. Quite pleasant. Thanks for the stroll.
Glad you enjoyed reliving your own stroll 🙂
Fabulous one lens walk in London, Sarah. Thank you for sharing your selfie. The B&W image is incredible!
Thanks so much Amy 🙂 Alison gets the credit for the selfie (I almost never take them) but I’m pleased you like the B&W shot as I was pretty happy with that one myself!
London is a very apt place for globetrotters to meet up, being one of the World’s very greatest cities. I also love Smithfield is one of my favourites too, I often used to take brekkie there when up in town for work. Nice pic of your two smiling faces…
Thanks Phil 🙂 Hopefully you and Michaela will be added to the list of ‘bloggers I have met’ in the not too distant future!
Enjoyed taking this walk with you in your photogenic city!
Thank you Ruth 🙂 It IS photogenic, isn’t it?!
Well done Sarah and Alison – great that ye managed to meet up and have such a lovely day!
Thank Marie 🙂 Hopefully this will be the first of many meetings I have with my blogging friends, so if ever you’re in London …!
Thanks for taking us along on your walk with Alison. All your photos of known landmarks were made ever more lovely by sunshine. Love the photo of Jimmie C.’s street art. I’ve only been in London one time for a few days, and it was gorgeous. I can’t imagine growing tired of living there.
Thank you Rose 😊 Certainly it’s a city that deserves more than a few days, if ever you can manage a return visit!
OMG, Sarah! Nice photo walk. It’s gonna look like I copied your topic in a way. I’ve been working on my walk and I guess you’ll see what I mean when it posts on Thursday. >grin<
Now you have me wondering John – I’m eager to see what you post!
Beautiful walk. I don’t think I’d tire of London even if Iived there.. so much to see/do
Thank you Tanja – I know how much you love my city!
This is a great post. I hope you might take me on a London stroll one day when I’m down. I love to discover favourite spots that aren’t on everyone’s Must See list: Smithfield’s a favourite I can include if I’m very (very) early to my train from KX. What is Alison’s blog?
Ooh, I’d love to do that Margaret! I thought I’d linked to Alison but it seems she’s the only person I DIDN’T link to – how remiss of me. Here she is: https://travelswithali.com/ Do pay her a visit 🙂 Meanwhile I’ll edit this to include a link!
Hey lovelies…that’s wonderful to see that you’ve found the time to catch up!
Thanks Teresa, we were pleased to be able to make this work 🙂 Now we just need to do the same when you next visit your son!
Hopefully soon! I am getting excited just with the thought of it. But getting scared already thinking of the long haul flight. hehe
I know the thought of the first long haul post-Covid is a little daunting, but I found that as soon as I was at the airport it was as if I’d never been away!
the eternal traveller
It’s always lovely to meet a blogging friend in person, especially in a fantastic location.
It was great, and I hope for many more!
I’m so glad you closed with the portrait of you and Alison. What a wonderful way to end a great day with a blogging friend. Your Lumix took great images and just goes to show it’s the photographer behind the camera that counts.
Thank you Anne, that’s a lovely thing to say 😊
Londinium at it’s finest!
A wonderful post Sarah, and a perfect choice for the challenge. The images are terrific – surprised at their quality from a point and shoot so great work on that! And of course I loved the selfie 😊. I’ve met with several people known only through blogging and each has been great fun. Two of them have become what I’d call friends for life – how great is that?! In both of those cases we met their husbands as well – equally terrific!
Thank you Tina 🙂 I would say that the Lumix point and shoots have excellent lenses for their small size, and I also like the fact that unlike most other similar cameras on the market they have an admittedly small viewfinder, which on a sunny day like this I find hugely preferable to a screen! I would definitely say that some of my Virtual Tourist friends whom I’ve met up with have become friends for life too – one whom I’ve now met a number of times. And even if we haven’t seen each other for a year or more, living too far apart, we still pick up each time where we last left off!
Mike and Kellye Hefner
Oh, how fun! I wish I could’ve joined you two on your walk. Undoubtedly, you had a great time together. I enjoyed seeing bits of London through your eyes!
You know that if ever you two are in London I’d love to meet up and show you some of my favourite corners!
Mike and Kellye Hefner
Thanks, Sarah. We will definitely keep that in mind. You would be an absolutely perfect tour guide!
So funny that your first meet up is a lady living in Australia, Sarah. But then, I met Carol of Eternal Traveller in Yorkshire, a good few years ago, when she too was visiting from Down Under. It’s a small but beautiful world if you have the resources to enjoy it 😉. Thanks a lot for the link. Yours is a beautiful city. ❤️
Thank you Jo 🙂 Yes, Alison is hardly local to me, but I’m used to the Virtual Tourist tradition of meeting up with visitors to your home town/city so it seemed natural to me. And her family are still here in the UK, living just outside London, so Alison comes over quite often. I hope though that this will be the first of many blogger meet-ups for me, whether with people living nearby or far away! You included, naturally 😘
That’s a great post with wonderful photos and I love that I featured in it! It was such a fun day and lovely that we met up.
Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter
What a great day the two of you seem to have had!
Yes, it was great to meet you Alison, and I really enjoyed our day 🙂 Thanks for giving me an excuse (not that I need one!) to stroll around this part of the city.
Anabel, you’re right, we DID have a great day!