Friday, 9 September 2016

London Loop, tranquility hikes INSIDE London

Yes, this is still London.
Pic Credit Hina Pandya 2016©️
When I had a rather hectic time at work my friend suggested I take a hike.
Now, I love hiking, so it wasn't hard to say yes.
But I couldn't really travel far to the hills of the Brecon Beacons in Wales or to the beautiful Ben Nevis in Scotland.
I live in London, a city, buildings not greenery... or so I thought.

I was wrong. Apparently the London Loop which has long been in existence is signposted and has trails you'd never know existed.
Secret alcoves with nesting birds, Pic credit Hina Pandya 2016 ©️

Straight off the tube we hiked 10 miles through trails of trees, besides waterways of the Grand Union canal, down across field of cows, through corn fields- yes I said corn fields, across deep forest where we were quiet enough- and slow enough- it was uphill to see wild deer, and all in London.
The instructions to find the paths can sometimes be very obscure like "find a big bush and turn right into the forest" Bizarrely you find it.

Seriously amazing.
It feels like a real accomplishment.

Forests with deer, be very quiet or you'll miss them
Pic credit Hina Pandya 2016©️
It completely shook me out of my city hectic mode, and took me to a wonderful magical area I thought was only accessible by a plane or by many hours of driving, and actually all it took was a few stops on the tube.
We followed the directions from a book bought specifically to do all 24 hikes, but event TFL has a link to the London Loop here.
None of the walks are too strenuous I'd say. But some inclines and uneven grounds. These can be avoided too, by following the instructions from the book.

*We went from Uxbridge to Moor Park. 10 miles.
Uxbridge to Harefield West
Harefield West to Moor Park

Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Great Fire! Fire! of London 1666-2016

You've heard the nursery rhyme, "London's burning, London's Burning.. fetch the engines, fetch the engines.
Fire! Fire!
Fire! Fire!
Pour on water, pour on water"
Well, it was no nursery rhyme.
It was a true story...
Barge on Thames w Shard in background. Pic Credit Hina Pandya 2016©️

Walking down the river on the 1st of September, I came across this barge by Blackfriars bridge and near the Temple buildings, if that walk wasn't beautiful enough, this barge appeared and shows the beautiful skyline of London in 1666, when of course the great fire of London happened.

It started across the river in Bakers Lane and destroyed much of London, to be rebuilt and of course took many lives, but it also took the lives of the plague infested rats that spread disease to people like wildfire, if you'll pardon the pun.
Close up of the skyline of London in 1666. Pic Credit Hina Pandya2016©️

It also created The Monument- another landmark of London also on the Thames and accessible only by it's 311 stairs; built for the observation of the whole of London, so that if a fire broke out again then there would be a forewarning, and therefore prevent damage and casualties, because with the creation of the London Fire Brigade a bell would be rung and the fire service signalled so they could get to the fire and smoke fast, and put it out.

Which reminded me, that even in the darkest of times..macabre events described in the innocence of a nursery rhyme, people can learn lessons, improve and change, that horrid infested places can be saved, not without loss and in the most dramatic of ways, but eradicated of disease.

Proving miracles happen, and even when you're burnt to a cinder; good days are a comin'; have you seen the banks of the Thames lately?

The BBC has a nice video explaining how it was constructed, how school children were involved and when it'll be burnt down tonight at 8:30