London’s Colombia Day to remember:
Sunday 6th September was Colombia Day. The Sun shone for the crowds at the South Dock in Docklands as they queued for a closer look and guided tour of the Arc Gloria, official flagship of the Colombian Navy. The Arc Gloria is one of the largest Tall ship’s in the World and was in London to participate in the Riverside Festival which was taking place in Potters Fields Park, next to Tower Bridge. The plan was for the ship to allow the public on board until late afternoon and then prepare to leave Docklands early evening for it’s journey West along the Thames, arriving for the organised Bridge lift of Tower Bridge at 7 pm. The popularity of the guided tours meant that I decided not to queue but to hop on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) at nearby South Quay and go over to Greenwich on the South side of the river. This I hoped would be a great spot to catch some decent photographs of Arc Gloria making her way to Tower Bridge. However, having enjoyed the fun atmosphere in the area adjacent to Cutty Sark, which included free dance lessons to 1940’s era music (and a swift Pale Ale) I decided to head back North. This time I used the Greenwich foot tunnel which goes under the Thames and emerges on the Southern tip of the Isle of Dogs at Island Gardens. After scaling the stairs out from the tunnel (it has a lift, I needed the exercise) I immediately entered Island Gardens. This superb spot has views immediately back across the river to Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich and into the distance up the hill to The Royal Observatory.
At 6.15pm just as I was planning my dash to Tower Bridge (and worried I had messed up big time) I heard in the distance the unmistakable sound of an enormously loud ship’s horn that must have resounded for many miles around. Within 5 minutes the Arc Gloria came into view around the bend. What a fantastic sight it was, worth the wait for sure. A dozen or so photos later I made a dash for nearby Island Gardens station (DLR) as the ship headed West towards Tower Bridge. A quick change at Canary Wharf for the Jubilee line and I arrived at London Bridge Station at 6.50 pm.
A quick shuffle up Tooley Street and my first glimpse of Tower Bridge nearly stopped me dead in my tracks. Thousands upon thousands of people, mainly Colombians in national colours had gathered all around Tower Bridge and were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their Navy’s official flagship. Many of the family orientated crowd had been their for hours enjoying the Colombian flavoured festivities in Potters Fields.Once again the ships horn blasted and the enormous crowd cheered and waved their flags. The noise that greeted the ship as it glided towards and then under (just) the opened Tower Bridge was fantastic. My day was complete with yet more photos but even more great memories of a fantastic Colombia Day 2015. I hope you enjoy the following images.