In lieu of actually posting photos, which were mostly taken with my friend's digital camera and I haven't received a cd copy of them yet, and a few taken with a painfully mediocre disposable camera with a highly inaccurate viewfinder—let's just say they're not worth sharing. That's right, I went to London without a camera, because my husband had the one we share on a business trip. Silly, I know. I contemplated purchasing one at the last minute, and probably should have, and returned it afterwards if unsatisfied. Oh well.
The Stonehenge photos came out ok though. That'll be another post.
I think I may be doomed to posting on this trip for a long time, possibly in bits and pieces, as I find things, and time to talk about it. I believe it's adequately digested and everything has the soft, fuzzy glow of memory blurring the edges now. Which doesn't make it less rock-n-roll, in a very old, thousand years sort of way. Which is why England, or maybe Europe in general, is so great for strange convergences of gothic fantasy taking place in modern surroundings (as in Harry Potter, say, or Underworld). All the buildings are ancient, such as the St. Pancras Chambers being converted into condominiums and a 10 million pound penthouse.
It's a gorgeous, old, holy-looking place next to Kings Cross station and a block from the British Library. Man, I can't even imagine how much those places would go for once they're built. Especially since the dollar is worth almost nothing in the UK/Europe. The BBC has a bit of a virtual tour of the grand interior on their site.
I will say this: a day trip to the English countryside is a must. No matter where you choose to go, you probably can't go wrong. I wish I'd gone for at least 10 days, and taken more than 2 tours. London has many charms in the form of tourist attractions and architectural focal points, and the atmosphere feels very easy and casual here. The people are mostly wonderful—I think we had one grouchy cabby that made a remark about how slow we were at exiting his cab ("Sometime today")…which is not nice when one has a cane and is trying to dismount onto a cobbled street. But the guy who exchanged our vouchers for theater tickets deserved flowers and chocolates and probably a nice dinner for staying 45 minutes past closing time for us, and for even answering the phone at closing time. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't happen here.
Anyway, more on specific points in another post. Consider this sort of a starter. In the meantime, for a quick and charming memoir about a trip to London, read Helene Hanff (of 84, Charing Cross Road fame)'s The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. It's a super-quick read.