The people flood the sidewalks, drinking pints of ale, talking and laughing in clusters. Inside, the bar is jammed as well, but it’s mostly people having drinks on a Friday night. This is London, after all, and they know how to properly end a work week. But the tables are largely open at 7 PM; our timing was good. They fill soon after.

It was a good time to take a break. Five miles of cobblestones and stairs weren’t kind to the seniors in our group, and the last mile across the Millennium Bridge to The Blackfriar was especially challenging. Travel let’s you explore the world and your limitations all at once. When you travel alone that’s the story. When you travel with others your story changes with the dynamics of the group. And you either roll with it or you chafe.

The Blackfriar describes itself as a “traditional pub with Henry Poole’s Art Nouveau reliefs reflecting the friary that once stood there.” Good fish & chips and meat pies, especially after miles of walking. Those reliefs are fascinating to look at, especially with pint of ale or a glass or two of their excellent gin and tonic selection. I could have stayed all night.