A couple of weeks ago, I went on an organized guided "walk" with a dozen or so gals in London. We toured an area that was unfamiliar to me--the area of Rotherhithe, located on the south bank of the Thames.
Much of our walk was east of the Tower Bridge on a cold fall morning. I spend most of my time in the West end of London, so it was some new territory for me.
The views looking back towards the west were spectacular that morning. On the far left side, you can see the construction of the "Shard" underway. Due to be completed in 2012, it will be the tallest building in the European Union, with 72 floors and a spire of 15 more floors, totaling 1,017 feet. Designed to be triangular in shape and covered in glass, it will soon be an iconic figure of the London skyline. An artist's depiction of the final construction can be found here.
Views down the Thames towards the east end revealed early morning activity. We toured the residential area of Rotherhithe on the south bank of the Thames, which has been a port since the 12th century and a shipyard since the Elizabethan era.
Indeed, this monument commemorates Christopher Jones, the captain of the Mayflower who is buried in the churchyard nearby. The Mayflower actually sailed the first leg of its voyage from Rotherhithe on its infamous journey to the New World via Southampton and Plymouth.
Today the Mayflower Pub, dating from the 1720's, stands on the site of the former Shippe pub of the 1500's that was close to the area where the Mayflower was fitted out for its long journey.
Of course, as Americans, we had to eat an early Thanksgiving lunch there to celebrate the discovery of our own country. In the spirit of the Mayflower and the founding Pilgrims, may those of us who are Americans spend Thanksgiving Day being thankful for the blessings and freedoms we all enjoy in this land we call "home."