So my first stop off of the tube from Kings Cross was the Monument stop. I really didn’t know a whole lot about the area other than a lot of people were getting off there, so I figured a good as place as any to start. So I start walking around, grab my bearings and begin exploring a lot of the “must-sees” in London: The Tower Bridge, Tower of London, London Bridge and the Monument.
I ended my night of walking around at the Monument where I was taking pictures and reading up on the history as much I could, when a guy in his late 40’s approached and asked if I’d like to hear a little bit about the history of what I was looking at. He explained that he was a tour guide in training so he was a plethora of information. He explained how it was erected as a monument to the great London fire of 1666 by Christopher Wren. If the Monument were to fall strait down toward Pudding Lane, its tip would mark the exact spot where the fire started. I then got a history lesson on the great fire and a couple more that occurred after. After, he explained how Wren took advantage of designing the Monument to turn it into a science lab–telescopes, meters of some sort, a pendulum, etc. He also highlighted the dark side of the Monument as a place to commit suicide. I found that odd, considering there wasn’t a shortage of bridges in the area.
The “tour guide” and I talked for quite awhile about my plans in London, other sites he thought I should see and the NFL game that would be played at Wembley in October. I let him know that I felt bad that Londoners were going to be seeing what I assumed to be 2 not very decent teams playing–the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants (yeah, I know, I bit my tongue later that year). He mentioned that he had been at the last NFL game played in London when Dan Marino and the Dolphins took on Joe Montana and the 49ers. He said that because of that game, the Dolphins are a team that locals like, just because they’ve seen them play. He also went on about how the NFL did a poor job back then of explaining the game across the pond and that it was as if the players could care less that they were playing abroad to a whole new potential fan base. It was pretty interesting to me to hear someone who is not an American football fan give their take on the sport, since it’s my favorite sport to watch and play. Of course, the convo went from American football to soccer and the guy proceeded to lecture me on why soccer is the best sport in the world. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the sport, but for me personally, it’s not my favorite. He tried hard to convert me, but it was getting late and I had a Prime Minister Questioning Session to get to in the morning…