I’m doing the A to Z Challenge in April, using the theme of the UK & Ireland. For H, I wanted to revisit the Hungerford Bridge in London.
The Hungerford Bridge carries trains from Charing Cross station across the River Thames. Of course, a railroad bridge doesn’t usually hold much interest to visitors.
What’s special about the Hungerford Bridge are the two pedestrian bridges hung on each side. The Golden Jubilee Bridges were completed in 2002 and named for the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. If you want to walk from Trafalgar Square to the London Eye, this is the bridge that you’ll take across the river.
As someone who grew up in a small river town with an important bridge (because it was the only one for miles) and who lives in St. Louis, a river city, I gravitate toward rivers and the bridges that cross them.
A river keeps me oriented. Even though I live nowhere near the Mississippi River, I always know where it is. I mentally (occasionally, physically) turn myself so that my right shoulder points to the River and, now, I’m facing north and know all of my cardinal directions.
London makes it easy to stay oriented with the Thames by helpfully naming some of its prominent areas after the cardinal directions. We stayed just north of the Hungerford Bridge, across from Southwark. If I walked out the front door of the hotel and turned my back to the River, I was facing north with Westminster on my left and the East End many blocks away on the right.
Does anyone else use rivers to maintain a sense of direction?