"You must go see the Shard!" said friend Rosie. Americans might ask, what is it?
That which you see above is the Shard. Have you heard of it? The Shard, also called the Shard of Glass, is one of the most unique buildings in London. Since hearing of it from Rosie, I have always wanted to go up into it. That has not happened yet, but it might. Have you ever been inside the Shard? I would love to hear about it!
But do take a closer look at it, on your right, here. Who, or what, is that thing clinging to its side? Who, or what, looks like they are helplessly stuck onto the outside of it, looking in? I'll tell you who or what - it happens to be 3 window washers. Yes, that's right - 3 people up there washing away all 87 storeys of the dirt, grime, and unmentionable that finds its way onto the side of that building.
This building currently holds the record for being the tallest in the European Union. It is 1,004 feet high, and all 1,004 of those feet must be cleaned. Regularly. I would not want to be one of those cleaners, but I do wonder what they talk to each other about all day long.
Urban explorers, base jumpers, and 'place hackers' often find themselves up there, exploring, jumping and hacking away at the Shard. Even Prince Andrew rappelled down it, raising money for charity. From the 87th floor, mind you, but it must have been tough all the same (BTW, he said he would 'never do it again').
Some explorers believe that there should be no limitations on the general public having access to climb up and explore, or jump off, or rappel, or otherwise invade the place. They like taking photographs and putting them on the worldwide web, freaking people out and getting lots of media attention. Some ladies even went up there to protest Arctic oil drilling. It took them 16 hours to climb up it, and the Shard's staff became so alarmed that they provided them with a 'safety briefing' on their way up. I'm not sure if the ladies stopped to listen.
It's completely fascinating. I checked the price of getting in there legally. It's about 25 pounds, and well worth it, I would guess. Next time I get over to London I won't miss another chance. I just hope no one happens to be rappelling down at the same time I'm going up.
See you along the way!