London Town

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.

London Tower BridgeThames River, LondonWestminster_abbey_westPalace of Westminster, London

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.

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3 thoughts on “London Town

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed your time in the UK, and as for the cabbie… yeah, you either get a great one who's full of funny stories or you get the idiot who doesn't want to be there. I work at The Guardian newspaper (recently portrayed in The Bourne Ultimatum), which is a short walk from King's Cross, I feel so lucky seeing architecture like that almost every day.Being from the English countryside, I have to agree… it's a must. Stonehenge is an amazing place, and mystical. If you enjoyed that Glastonbury, in the South West is amazing too, and holds a fantastic music festival each year.I hope you really enjoyed your visit šŸ™‚

  2. Well, if my situation were "normal" (like, if I didn't have cancer), I might've pulled one of those things, where I'd extend my stay and force the hubby to meet me there. Or worse, I'd just find a flat and not return to the US, but maybe in another lifetime. Yes, I loved it that much. I dream about it quite often—it's probably just nostalgia, not having truly lived there.I've watched the Glastonbury Festival for a few years now, thanks to cable television footage. Getting tickets sound almost as impossible as…well, getting Radiohead tickets here. They sell out in about 30 seconds. But again, it's one of those wonderful things to look forward to someday!BTW, love your new photo—it looks very mystical.

  3. Yeah, getting ticket is a nightmare. And despite not having the Glastonbury hippie atmosphere, it's a much better view from your couch at home!I think that everywhere else that you visit always seems much better than home, or if not better, the change of scenery is inviting. I would love to live in the States, probably New York – if I had the courage to pick up and leave my friends, family and life over here. And the confidence to actually imagine I could do it. If it's not physical constraints it's mental restraint that holds us back in this life. Not to mention monetary… Thanks for the photo comment, I was really surprised to find the picture on my mobile phone. One of my housemates took it as I was enjoying the last of the UK 'summer' days this year, maybe I was reaching for something, I'm not sure…Also, your cat is adorable.

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