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Travelogue I6

June 8, 2016

The evening began to draw in on me beneath the walls of St. Dunstan’s. Knowing little time remained me that day, I pushed onward and made a circuit of Tower Hill and observed from the outside a collection of buildings which successive generation merely heaped upon one another. During my circuit, I noted a length of the Roman wall missed during my previous tour through the city; it appeared in substantially better shape that what I had seen elsewhere.

As mentioned above, at some point in the proceedings, I retired for an hour to a chain coffee shop from where I looked on All-Hallows-by-the-Tower. Through the plate-glass before me, I could trace the height of the spire from which Samuel Pepys had watched the Great Fire advance on the City’s outer wards. After my stop for overpriced coffee came a stretch of lanes and streets through which I attempted to keep pace with the sinking sun. This effort also saw me trace, albeit unintentionally, the Great Fire from its outermost reach to its innermost spark. For, of that maze of thoroughfares, only one remained with me: within a radius equal to the height of the column making up the London Fire Monument runs Pudding Lane, home to the bakery at the origin of the conflagration. Thankfully, a plaque stood on hand to inform the visitor of the unseemly importance of a site about which nothing in its array of modern buildings and unadorned lanes would otherwise suggest.

Nightfall found me back at the hostel, stomach full of cheap rice and tofu bought in a shop of Holborn. Sidestepping baggage in a room not unlike a passenger hold in an old transatlantic vessel, I gained my berth and settled in for the long night ahead. From behind the curtains, I marveled that I could still be surprised by the specimens of humanity to be found in a hostel: some no more than unfurling bundles of id, then those fallen on hard times, without forgetting the preternaturally aged watching a series on the computer as soon as six o’clock the next morning. Some time later, my eyes closed to the sight of young German cyclists, newly arrived.

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