Some traffic delays meant that we were a little late to meet our guide Victoria and to proceed to a modern barge moored in the King George V dock – an excellent relaxed setting, close to the end of the runway at London City Airport (perhaps closer to planes than at any other airport!!). The airport was a very busy one for its size, with frequent landings and take-offs, which did not intrude on our delicious Brunch – very welcome by this time (so good, we even suggested that the next Probus lunch should follow the Brunch format).
Then a short hop to the northern terminal of the Emirates Cable car near the Excel Centre in the Royal Docks, where we boarded cabins to ‘fly’ high over the Thames to the O2 dome. Excellent views both up and down the Thames, as far as the Thames Barrier, Greenwich, all of Canary Wharf and as far as the London Eye – the level of detail which could be seen from such a vantage was excellent (despite the light rain which had arrived earlier than forecast). The flight was smooth, the winds being fairly light, with only small bumps as our pulleys went over each pylon, and a smooth steep approach and landing.
Once returned to Terra Firma, we commenced a coach tour of London Hotspots’ – this being very a comprehensive coverage of those areas of the Capital which had recently been in the news, or recently been redeveloped, but also highlighting those landmarks which have been preserved or under threat. So we covered Greenwich Museums and historic Palaces , Cutty Sark, the Gherkin, the Walkie Talkie, The Cheese grater, the Shard, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Thames Street, the Embankment, the boundaries of the City, Big Ben, Palace of Westminster, Parliament Square, Whitehall, 10 Downing Street, Admiralty Arch, the Mall (special License for our coach), Buckingham Palace, Wellington Arch, Duke of Wellington, Apsley House, Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square, Strand. Fleet Street and St Pauls. To many of us, that included many, many streets that we had never travelled before.
After a very short break, return to the cable car, for our second ‘flight’ in the dark, to view the myriad of colours , as we soared to the heights again – especially the red lights on the other cable cars coming towards us. What an experience!
Our thanks to Victoria for an excellent faultless commentary, recalling so many evocative names and explanations of the results of political decisions: to Adam for tireless negotiation of all manner of London streets and complex junctions: and to Steve Duckworth for organising such an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable outing.