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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Touring London

Last night, I looked at the London Walks and decided to do the Thursday Forbidden City walk lead by Helena. I decided to walk to the meeting place and took Black Prince Road to Lambeth Bridge and down Houndsberry to the meeting place. On the way I came upon the magistrates offices that was filled with photographers and film crews to record the entrance of Christopher Tapin for extradition hearings back to the USA. Across the street were protesters organized to protest the hurried and perhaps illegal extradition process in UK as prescribed by the US-UK Extradition Treaty. I didn't hang out to see the spectacle.

The walk would start at St Jame's Park Tube and this is the description:

This walk is what in another context would be called a game-changer. Sure, it's Landmark London – all the Big Ticket stuff. Palaces aplenty, the Changing of the Guard, No. 10 Downing Street, the "Royal Peculiar", the places where history – world history – has been made, etc. What makes it a game changer is the way we see it. In short, we nook and cranny it. Get around behind. Get up above*. Get inside. See things Londoners – let alone the tourist hordes – never get to see. It's that "specialilty" London Walks is famous for – "the degree of granularity that you get". Everything from the import of a black circle by the 2 on a certain clock to what the Horse Guards are actually guarding. Want to read a bit more? Here's a related "take" on this walk.

*Up above because we end with an optional visit to "the reviewing stand in the sky" - opened specially for us! – where we look down into Buckingham Palace Gardens. How wag-a-tail wonderful is that? We get to see exactly what's on the other side of that wall! Even the Corgis if they're out.

We ended at the war memorial park with Wellington Arch and many tributes to Australian, New Zealand, and British soldiers of various wars.

I walked to the bus stop and caught a bus to Hammersmith. I was sitting next to a gentleman who was taking two of his grandsons on a tour of London. He was giving them a guided tour and I benefitted from this. I spied a cycle shop and got off to go and find a Sky Cycle Club jersey. They had all the team jerseys and I got a long sleeved jersey. I learned that Contador had joined the Saxo Bank team, WOW!!

With my new jersey I got back on a bus to Hamersmith which is a major transportation hub with shopping, dining, bus, rail and city bus connections. I grabbed a bus that would take me through Chelsea and to Westminster where I would catch a bus back to the B&B. This bus wove its way to Westminster and passed the Chelsea Football Club grounds which were impressive. They are the current English Premier Champions and have started the season well. Soon after some hospitals we were in Chelsea proper. I know this as the Bentleys, the Porches, the other cars of the wealthy were all I saw. The well heeled were dining in fine restaurants, shopping in the best stores, and walking the street that looked like Fifth Avenue. Soon we were at Westminster cathedral and then Parliament Square.

Here I changed for a bus back across the Lambreth Bridge that delivered me to Kennington Lane. I stopped in a store to buy sandwiches and a cider to have in the garden. I spent time writing my journal and will rest a bit before the evening's pub walk.

The evening pub walk was spectacular through the Banks of England and along the byways of the financial district. We viewed the ancient stones and places of The City of London which included The London Stone from Roman times as well as some remarkable churches by Wren. The Monument was a prelude to the new modern buildings of Lloyd's and the bullet shaped building.

I took two buses home.

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