Posted by: lifeonislandtime | July 28, 2015

London Calling

London calling
It amazes me how much you can do in London, and feel like you didn’t do much. Our first full day in London was spent at 2 places: the Tower and Fleet Street. In Paris, dinner isn’t even begun until after 8pm. Tourist sites are open until 9. In London, we discovered (to our chagrin, on the first night) that in pubs, hot food isn’t served past 8, and many restaurants close by then. Tourist sites close around 4:30-5:00. This makes your sightseeing day very short, as nothing opens before 9, and sometimes 10. 
On our first sightseeing day, the Tower took much of our day. The rest of the list consisted of St. Paul’s cathedral and the historic buildings and churches on Fleet Street. St. Paul’s closes at 4, so by the time we finished at the tower at 2, and made our way to St Paul’s, we had less than the hour and a half needed to see it. We instead walked down and looked in pubs from the 1300’s, and saw churches just as old. 
Temple church was closed early for choir practice, so that was out. Instead, we popped in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant for a drink and some food, and then returned to The City for a Jack the Ripper tour. 
The Jack the Ripper tour is VERY popular. There were at least 20 people in our group, and there were about 10 other groups of similar or larger sizes walking the same general area. Our tour was given by an off-duty Yeoman Warder, aka Tower Guard. These gentlemen (and one lady) are fantastic storytellers, and the walk was entertaining. The only real problem was that the area of Whitechapel, where the murders took place, was pretty much leveled during the Blitz, and most of the streets and references are no longer there. 
The next day we made it to St. Paul’s and Temple church. Both were fun in their own ways. After standing at Napoleon’s tomb, it was nice to stand before his adversaries: the Duke of Wellington, and Lord Nelson. Sadly, neither of these men have as grand of tombs as Napoleon. I guess that the adage, “to the victor go the spoils” is not always accurate when dealing with the French and British.
The next day was Camden Town market, the Sherlock Holmes museum, and the Victoria and Albert museum. The Sherlock Holmes museum was a spendy 12£ per person for not much to see, so we only went in the gift shop. The line of those willing to pay the premium, however, stretched down the block. The gift shop was filled with Benedict Cumberbatch souvenirs and ridiculously kitschy Victorian knick -knacks. I bought a reproduction flier about the Jack the Ripper killings. It would be a good decoration in my classroom…
When you count it up, we saw 2 museums, 2 churches, a street market, a tour, and 4 pubs in 3 days. Not too shabby, but when you consider all that we missed, it’s staggering….


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