Tag Archives: London

Day the Fourth Part the First: Westminster Abbey

I got all verbose on the Abbey, so I’m breaking up my entries a bit. Onward, then.

Memories are already fading, which is disappointing, but here we go. I was a little slow in waking up, since I didn’t sleep very well the night before. Part of this — hell with it. All of it has to do with sleeping in a hostel. I’ll be posting a separate rumination on my London accommodation later, but for the time being, just know that it’s a bad idea to forget your earplugs when sleeping in a hostel. That, and the blister demanded some proper attention. Cleaned it up, slapped a plaster on it, and out I went into the incredibly clear and clean and not at all rainy morning.

I bought trip insurance just in case it snowed in the UK. I missed it by a week and a half.

I realize now I was so damned tired I can’t remember how I got there. I’m pretty sure I took the Tube. I didn’t want to be delayed by morning city traffic while riding a bus. But I didn’t get off at the Westminster stop, since I clearly remember walking toward the east, past the Sanctuary, to get to the northern entrance. Did I get off at St James’ Park? Honestly, what-the-what? I know I would have remembered passing by the New Scotland Yard.

This is why I wish I’d written these while traveling. But I guess I’d be forgetting even more things with the increased lack of sleep. This is what photos are for, presumably. Maybe next time I’ll sketch notes as I go along.

I will admit, to my complete shame, that I’d never really understood how significant the Abbey is in British history. I usually like to have a sense of the places I’ll be visiting; I like to be at least a little prepped. But here, I had very little to go on. In a way that was refreshing — I got to feel that rush of discovery as it was happening, in the place itself, but I worry I missed out on some great details due to lack of context.

The LondonPass got me into the Abbey with no trouble at all. There was nearly no queue, but regardless, it was nice to just walk right on up and hand over the little card. Another thing that I liked very much: a free audioguide. These aren’t headphone sets, they’re these elongated things, looking vaguely like an old mobile phone. They hang around your neck incredibly awkwardly, especially if you have a bag of some kind. I had a camera bag, but it stayed shut most of the time. No photography allowed in the interior of the church.

Which is an enormous shame (though I completely understand and respect the reasons for it), because the place is just astonishing. It’s a dark church. Ordinarily I’d find that cold, unpleasant, but not here. Maybe it was the quire with its little lit lamps (one of my favorite places in the abbey). Maybe it was the sheer number of staff and volunteers cheerily helping people out. There certainly wasn’t much light coming through the windows on an overcast winter morning. But it was a close, comfortable feel, like this was a place travelled by people who knew and loved it. This is an important distinction, because in other cathedrals I’ve been to, this sense of close comfort is markedly absent.

And the chairs. So many, specifically set out for visitors. Listen, British museums and historical places are the most user-friendly I’ve ever visited. So I took myself a seat and listened to the little hanset around my neck.

I can’t talk about any of the non-English audio, but the English guide is excellent. In addition to the specific tour components, there are additional items you can listen to, like a welcome from the Dean of the abbey, or an explanation of the ritual of holy communion, which was really well done. There were extras covering the quire, including music, and — this is my favorite part — a video tour of the shrine of St Edward the Confessor, which is too edlicate to allow regular tourist traffic. The handset has a little window, maybe two or three centimeters diagonal, big enough to get a sense of the shrine.

Moving from the quire, you start to circulate around the abbey itself. I felt a bit rude, walking amongst all these graves; I’ve never liked the idea of touring the dead. Setting that aside, though, the stonework — and woodwork — on the tomb effigies was amazing. It’s easy to dismiss the Middle Ages as the Dark Ages, which isn’t true at all. The sophistication in technique and artistry in a number of different disciplines leaves me, in today’s ready-made disposable modern world, in shame.

This is why I loved the Lady Chapel so much. I really wish I could have taken photos of it, but I’ll just have to leave you with this one, of the vaulted ceiling.

The vaulted ceiling of the Lady Chapel

Image from Freemysoul's Flickr. I really wish I could have taken photos. I stared at this ceiling for fifteen solid minutes. Every time I tried to look away I'd find a new detail.

The RAF chapel also called my attention, not just because it reveres those who fought in the Battle of Britain, but because there’s a small hole in the wall, caused by a German bomb. It’s covered with glass to keep the elements out, but it’s clearly a pocked hole, straight through the stone. It’s sobering. Mainland America was never under that kind of threat.

Continuing on, I stopped by the tombs of Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots (situated very close together in death), and then Poet’s Corner. I hate to say it, but I was very cynical about Poet’s Corner. My university years were spent in the company of a lot of art students (theater and film, mainly), and we all go through our rabid literature fanboy phase. Well, not me, because I had a different rabid fandom, which made me special, and so I looked down on the kids who got all misty-eyed and artsy-arrogant over having visited Shakespeare’s memorial in the abbey.

Unfortunately, the feeling’s stuck, and I wandered by the markers of different actors and authors with a faint sense of irritation. It bugs me that I let those things live on so long, little petty things from fifteen years ago. Who does it benefit? No one. Certainly not me. Anyway. From the Corner it’s out to the Great Cloister. And aside from the fact that I love cloisters, photography was allowed there. So I have pictures to share.

The Great Cloister at Westminster Abbey

Now we're getting a feel for that specific green color of British grass. Yes, I know I sound mad, but I mean it. There's a very specific color to it. Or, rather, colour.

Cloister detail

Lookit me, gettin' all fancy with wide aperture and fast shutter speed! I took a photography class in undergrad, and it still serves me to this very day. And look at that green. I only hope your monitor is calibrated like mine.

Westminster Abbey, Great Cloister

I love the feeling this photo evokes. It's not sepiatone, but he colors are muted in a way that indicates age that doesn't necessarily correspond to the past. The post-production filter takes the image, mirrors it, and overlays it at high transparency.

I stopped briefly by the little snack shops they had on one side of the cloister and had a bit of breakfast, nothing big. It gave me time to just sit on the low stone wall and admire the cloister itself. Have I said that I love cloisters? I think I have.

With food eaten, I stopped briefly by the abbey’s museum, but I felt like time was beginning to slip by and I wanted to get some time at Parliament. So I moved to the final stop on the tour: the nave, where the west entrance is, and where regular worship is held. A service started while I was there. I felt a bit self-conscious, standing there as a tourist while people were attending formal service, but I let it go and instead stayed as out of the way as best I could while still seeing what I wanted to see. A little to the side was a table where anyone could write a prayer request, which the priests would fulfil at the shrine of St Edward the Confessor in the next few days. I can’t remember if there was a charge for it — nothing obnoxious, just a donation box — but I know I left a five pound note just on general principle, to help maintain the church.

Once outside, I was treated to as much Gothic architecture as I could possibly stand. I love Gothic architecture. I suppose a lot of people do. I’m not a fan of modernist architecture, of form over function. I’ve had enough poured concrete and cinderblock to last me twenty lifetimes. I understand it’s expensive as hell to use building elements that have some kind of detailed design in them, as that calls for expert craftsmanship, but come on.

North entry of Westminster Abbey

I can only imagine how many decades it took for the masons to do this. Yeah, I said decades. This is the north entrance of the abbey.

Outside the nave of Westminster Abbey

Look at this detail. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to do detail shots of the work on the nave's exterior. I must have been really, really tired.

Westminster Palace

From Gothic, to Neo-Gothic. When are we going to stop exalting the concrete box and its accents of glass and steel? The Gherkin's a good start, but we need more progress on this.

From here, it was a short jaunt to Westminster Palace, or Parliament. Halfway there I gave directions to a Brazilian tourist; we met halfway linguistically, me with my Spanish and her with her Portuguese. She wanted to know if the abbey was where Prince William was married, and if the place I’d just come from was the abbey. She kept thinking Parliament was the abbey. I can’t entirely fault her on that, either. At any rate, our exchange was charming and a lot of fun, and adds to the list of places I’ve visited where people stop and ask me directions. Maybe I’ve got a friendly demeanor? Maybe I give off this sense of I know what I’m doing? (I find the last statement hard to believe.)

Next: Parliament, and probably the Museum of London. Now for some sleep.

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Just a day or two more

Well, as is obvious, I’m late with my post. There are two reasons: one, it’s brutally hot and humid around here now, making me useless at a keyboard, and two, I’ve gotten into the doctoral program I wanted, and have been a bit busy taking care of paperwork and the like.

I’ve gotten a bunch of hits for Seawise Camden, which I find lovely and amusing. I’m glad I gave them a positive mention, as they definitely deserve it, and are just starting out in their Stable Market location.

So. Next will be Day the Fourth, which comprises Westminster Abbey, Parliament, and the Museum of London. I don’t really have photos from the Museum of London, but I have a few from the prior two places. To make up for a lack of posting, I’ll show you a couple here.

Plants growing in cracks in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey

In the cloisters of Westminster Abbey, I found these little plants growing from cracks in the stone. They charmed the heck out of me.

Palace of Westminster clock tower

I know that neither the clock nor the tower are called Big Ben. It's the bell that chimes the hours. I'm pretty sure that globe was once, a hundred or so years ago, a proper gaslight. Which makes me squee.


Is it cheating?

Is it cheating if I’m already back home, now, and still posting about my trip? I hope not. I do plan to cover every day, and add a quick note about the Tower. It was just getting too time consuming to compose, upload photos, and post every night while still getting enough sleep to be functional the next day.

I like to think that the posts will be better, in a sense, because I’ve had time to mull over my experiences. You may not get immediate raw impressions, but I don’t think that it’s that much of a loss.

Adjusting to being back home is both easy and hard. It’s easy, because it’s home. It feels like home. I missed my Mister, and I missed the boys (we have two cats, no human children). But going from European winter (however mild) to Antipodean summer is a bit off-putting to say the least.

Also, I’ll now benefit from posting off my proper desktop machine of madness (it’s the most advanced and able computer I’ve ever owned), instead of trying to fiddle with photos on a little netbook. This is not to disparage the netbook, as it’s small and light and very nice for traveling. I would have not done well with a full-size laptop.

Anyway, I have to get some paperwork to the university before the day’s out, but I hope to post one or two days more before the end of this one, for y’all’s reading pleasure. And because I feel like a chump if I don’t post a photo, here’s one of London in the wee hours of the morning. Man, I miss that city. I really do love it.

London in the wee hours

King's Cross Road, near Pentonville Road. Gray AM light, slick slate sidewalk. I love it. Absolutely love it.


Minor delay, full post up soon.

So I’m already several days behind. The next post shall be Day the Fourth, which was Westminster Abbey, Parliament (a cool little adventure there!), and the Museum of London, an unsung hero of London’s museums.

That last part sounded weird, didn’t it.

Anyway. I had a lovely dinner tonight with a friend of mine, and it’s already 1 AM, and I want to visit the National Museum of the Middle Ages here in Paris before I get on the Eurostar for London tomorrow afternoon.

But because I’m not entirely heartless, here’s a bonus Stonehenge photo from the iPhone (all the photos in the previous post were from my proper real camera).

Stonehenge

Yes, it's Hipstamatic. I know I should be doing the work myself by adjusting aperture and shutter speed and doing post-production on my own with PhotoShop. But this just takes a click! And it came out quite handsomely, I think.


Day the Second: Routemasters and the Tower of London

Today was the day the blister won, but more on that later. On the way to pick up my LondonPass, I stopped by a pharmacy to get things to take care of the problem, namely antiseptic and blister bandages. I seem to be destined to hew to the Northern Line, so I grabbed a train to get me Leicester Square, the closest stop to the address listed for picking up the pass. It was listed as 11a. This is just a little misleading. The building marked 11 is on one side of the street; 11a is the basement of a kiosk in a tiny island of no man’s land between two streets.

So, know this: if you’ve pre-purchased a London Pass and need to go to 11a Charing Cross Road to get it, get off at Leicester Square, walk south, and when you get to 11 turn around and head for the little kiosk you’ll see. It doesn’t look like it could possibly have a stairway in it, but it does, a tiny winding thing. With it you get a little booklet listing all the places where the LondonPass gives you an advantage (usually admission, sometimes fast-track admission, but not always; in some places you get a free simulation ride or a free guide book in addition admission).

It is completely worth it to get this thing, I promise.

Remember what I said about liking the Tube? Still true. And I managed to take one of my favorite photos so far in Euston Station.

Train arrives at Euston Station

Sometimes, I am very lucky. The photo kami were with me on this one.

Anyway, I didn’t have much of a breakfast (my hotel, Clink 78, provides toast and cereal, but I am a carnivore and require something more substantial than that before long), so while between Leicester Square and Charing Cross I looked for a place to eat. I missed out on getting an English breakfast, as it was past 11. So I took a look at the Bear and Staff, but wasn’t really thrilled. And so I happened on the Garrick Arms. Now, after doing a bit of research, I think I would have been too intimidated to go had I known then what I know now, but I can tell you they have well earned their reputation. The staff were friendly, relaxed, and helpful. The barman recommended an ale to go with the Suffolk pork sausages I ordered, which was fantastic (unsurprisingly a Greene Knight IPA, but to my delight pulled from a cask!), and the manager (possibly the proprietor) was moving around among the customers, making sure everything was all right.

The food arrived very fast, and I ordered a side of cabbage for the heck of it. Never had it, and I enjoyed it very much. Of course, it’s quicker to list the foods I don’t like compared to those I do. Anyway, the serving size was generous: three sausages set over cheddar mashed potatoes, in a shallow bowl with just the right amount of gravy. The sausage was exquisite, cooked to almost crispy on the outside. I did take pictures of the food, but it’s very difficult to keep bangers and mash from looking at best unappetizing and at worst faintly vulgar.

Garrick Arms

Lunchtime picks up at Garrick Arms.

After geting fed well enough to keep me from getting hungry until well past dinner, I decided to walk to Trafalgar Square, since I was not far away at all. I realize the National Gallery is there. While I am interested in painting and scuplture, I only have so many days, and they’re pretty much laid out. I love taking high speed pictures of water, so I hung around the fountain at the start, watching people climb up on the lion pedestals to get their photos taken. Moving away from the gallery, I discovered the view you get, and took a couple of pictures of that.

Lion at Trafalgar

I feel like a bit of voyeur, taking a photo being posed for someone else. Can't help but like it, though.

Trafalgar fountain

Man, I love high shutter speed photos of water. And the statue is just brilliant.

Parliament

"Ooh, pretty fountain, so pretty -- oh. Had no idea that was behind me. Right."

It was getting a bit late, so I wanted to get moving to the Tower. A quick check of my map showed me the 15 bus would get me there, and I’d heard they had some vintage Routemasters on that line. Transit geekery compelled me to take the bus. And as I was looking for the stop, what should pull up but a vintage Routemaster?

Routemaster

Transit geekery! A vintage Routemaster! I love this kind of thing, I really do.

I still can’t believe no one would come up to the top deck with me. Silly people.

Routemaster interior

I only wish I could have taken this photo without some obnoxious modern storefront name in it.

More Routemaster

Vintage-looking photo for a real vintage bus. I'm quite pleased with this, and the combination of filters was accidental.

About thirty minutes later I arrived at the Tower. No waiting for me, with my LondonPass, and my timing kept its good record as I arrived moments before a Yeoman tour. My thoughts on the Tower will have to wait; I’m still mulling things, and doing a bit of research. But if you haven’t gone, and you’re going to London, go see the Tower. And do stick around for the whole Yeoman tour.

The bridge at evening

I must admit, I really like the paint scheme for the Tower Bridge right now.

Close-up of the bridge

See? Cool colors.

After the Tower, I walked east along the river, taking in the view of the Tower Bridge. By this time my foot was beginning to seriously hurt. After a frustrating search for a toilet (found a pay toilet, happy to cough up the 50p once I got to it), I ended up back along the 15 route. And what should turn up? Another vintage Routemaster! The only trouble with the heritage route is that it terminates at Trafalgar Square. I’d been counting on it to go further, so I could get off at Piccadilly Circus and take the train back up to King’s Cross that way.

Another heritage Routemaster

You can't have too much Routemaster. You just can't.

But the blister won the day. I went ahead and took a cab. What a fantastic car the London cab is! My poor cabbie didn’t sound too thrilled with my destination, expecting the worst from someone asking to go to a hostel in King’s Cross. His attutude completely changed when I remembered to give him a proper tip–the fare came to £10.80, and customarily you just round up to the nearest pound. Twenty pence is just not enough, so I bumped it up to £12, which still left me feeling a bit like a cheapskate, but he seemed genuinely appreciative.

So now, back at the temporary homestead, I’m taking things easy. I’ll try to take a shower tonight, though I’m not looking forward to it (unisex showers–fantastic). Tomorrow is Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor, so I have to make sure the foot is appeased and I get some rest, since I don’t want to sleep too much on the tour bus. Bonus: got reservations at St John Bread & Wine for after I get back. If I’m too tired to get there on my own, I might take a cab again, but that’ll break my daily spending limit (set by me as a personal exercise, not by any financial institution).


Day the First: a quick jaunt through some of Camden Markets

Despite being badly out of shape (trying to walk the breadth of New York like I once did proved to me just how awfully out of shape I am) and sporting a growing blister on my left foot, I decided that yesterday evening would be good for exploring a bit of the Camden area. I took the Northern Line from King’s Cross to Chalk Farm intending to walk all the way back to the hotel.

Firstly, I really like the Tube. I think it’s efficient, the announcements are intelligible, I’m a big fan of the Oyster card, and there are little LED signs that tell you when the next train’s coming. (New York has implemented some of these in my absence, but I’m granting the benefit of the doubt to London having put them in first.)

I’m fascinated by how much smaller the tunnels are, and how they’re round. I know that must sound idiotic, but it’s a very distinctive look. I’m used to the much bigger subway trains, with their straight flat ceilings and their taller tunnels. The Underground trains are beveled on top to account for the circumference of the tunnel, and are shorter anyway. The cars feel a lot more close. I wouldn’t precisely say intimate, but it’s a more communal feeling.

This said, I’m not a fan of the cost. In comparison with New York, the Underground is astronomical. I bought a weekly unlimited Oyster card (the MTA killed the unlimited option a couple of years ago) for about £24, or loosely $50-ish. Back when they were still available, a weekly unlimited MetroCard cost maybe half that. I do understand, though, that NYC transit is strongly subsidized by both state and federal funds. Surprisingly, I’m also keenly aware at the lack of facilities for the handicapped. I only realized it because I didn’t want to haul my suitcase all over the damn place. I do understand that adding ramps and lifts to stations would be a logistical nightmare.

Coming down from Chalk Farm station, I ended up at the Stable Markets. I was not entirely aware of the sheer size of the place, and got pleasantly lost in all the tunnels and passages. I also found a nice Spaniard making hot chocolate, so I most certainly indulged. It was thick and sweet, and I had to drink it fairly quickly before it congealed in the winter cool. Speaking of Spaniards, I was surprised to hear so many continental Europeans in the crowd. Portuguese, Spanish, many French, and even a German or three. It’s a bit foolish to feel surprised, I guess, but living in the US and now Australia has colored my sense of distance.

One thing that struck me is the fashion in those market stores, and along Camden High Street. I’d always assumed my sense of style, what little there is, was a matter of what I liked and might fit. But if I had to lock myself into a label, I’d say Camden, after what I saw. I’d post photos, but most stalls and shops expressly forbade taking pictures. I regret that mostly because I found an old original travel bag from BOAC, the predecessor to British Airways.

I’m a history geek. I like the minutiae of every day life, the little stories it tells. The stables were interesting in and of themselves, and I wish I knew a bit more of their history. I suppose a quick trip to Wikipedia will sort that out, but I can do that once I’m home. In the meantime, I enjoyed the architecture itself, brick and stone and wood.

Stable Market archway

An archway at the Stable Markets in Camden

Brick paved street

Bricks or cobblestones, I'm not quite sure

Camden Hall

I want to say this is Camden Hall, but I have the feeling I'm very wrong ...

Another thing that struck me was the food midway. I wouldn’t call it a court, as the food stalls occupy a central thoroughfare, much like the heavy-hitter games did in early 20th century traveling carnivals. The metaphor still holds in the sense that most vendors had a patter, calling directly to passers-by. Again, a bit of a yokel observation, maybe, but it struck me how all of them said “madam” and not “ma’am.” Writing it down makes the reasons obvious, but at the time it did feel a bit strange.

By this time I was starving, and for the heck of it drifted close to two Mexican food stalls. Chatted with the Indian proprietors in Spanish, which was a lot of fun, but before I had a quesadilla I spotted a fish and chips place up a little ways. Hell, I can make Mexican food whenever I want it. Fish and chips? Other matter entirely.

It’s called Seawise Camden [30 January 2012 editorial note: for some reason, the original Google Place page has vanished; I’ve changed the link to Seawise’s own page, which wasn’t up when I originally wrote the post; my glowing review still stands], and if you ever end up in the Stables Market, I suggest you go here straight away. It’s very near Proud Camden. I can give you the shop number, but I fould them useless for navigating. James, the owner, explained he’d been open only four weeks, and that Friday night had been the slowest he’d seen. Other vendors who’d been there longer confirmed it. He figured it was a combination of post-Christmas/New Year’s lull and people waiting until the summer to come to London, for the Olympics.

Seawise Camden

Seawise Camden. Seriously, go. James is awesome, the food is awesome, really, just go.

James’ father owns two seafood shops, and the freshness of the fish was evident. I asked for traditional fish and chips, though the cold and hot menus are extensive, and was rewarded with the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. He cooked it to order; nothing was sitting around, stewing in its own oil. The breading was perfect, hard-crisp on the outside, just a little soft and even a bit airy on the inside, and the fish flaked with ease. To top it off, I had an English oyster, just to try since I was stuffed, and it was wonderful. Briny, with that faint metallic taste you find in fresh oysters, bright and clean. A nice big one, too! I washed it all down with a Bulmer’s cider knowing I wouldn’t have to eat until well into the next morning.

Fish and chips

Look at the tasty. LOOK AT IT. Also, I'd make a poor food photographer. I'm better at landscapes. Maybe urban scenery. Maybe.

From there I wandered down Chalk Farm Road, then Camden High Street, until my foot blister finally declared war. I caught the Tube at Mornington Crescent, managed to get myself onto the Bank branch at Euston, and returned to the hotel for a well-deserved rest just off King’s Cross station.

Today is set for the Tower of London, and if I do things right, tomorrow’s a day trip to Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor.


Across the Pond

Once again, a nice big gap. At least it’s not six months, just two or so.

I’m in the middle of a trip, and a couple of weeks ago I decided to expand Storytrade to cover not just stuff about writing and telling stories, but other things as they come up.

So now you get to hear about the London/Paris leg of my trip. Catching the flight at Newark was bizarrely easy. There was no line. Yeah, you read that right, no line. A ticket agent was standing by the electronic ticket kiosks and asked if I was heading to London on Virgin Atlantic today. I said I was, and he walked me to his counter.

At Newark. This happened at Newark. Even more strangely, the security line was short, with no more than two people in front of me. At Newark. Say it with me: At Newark.

And then, the flight was maybe half-full. Listen: I know I’ve heard tell that the British are kind of cold and a bit brusque. Simply not true. Not a single soul has been unpleasant with me, and all I’ve received is courtesy and consideration. I do make an effort to be polite and helpful myself, but still.

The flight itself was an hour shorter than scheduled, but that’s not the important thing. The important thing is this: I waited 15 minutes in customs. No more than that. Didn’t even have to register my fingerprint, either. Afterwards, my bag was fairly quickto come off the carousel, and then to customs, where I ducked into the declaration line to let the nice customs people know I had a kitchen knife in my luggage and had no plans to take it out until I got home to put in away in my kitchen. No line there, either, and they had no problem with the knife.

And then I was off. We’re talking 20 minutes in customs. I was assuming two hours.

So I have a bit of time on my hands before I can get into my room. I’m in the lobby of Clink 78, an old courthouse converted into a hostel. I’m in a single, as I’m no longer young enough to find the thought of sharing a room with a stranger as a new and exciting thing. The sleep deprivation is beginning to hit me now, and I’m feeling a bit dizzy at the moment. I know what it is, so I’m not creeped out, but it’s not fun. I’m weighing whether to try to push through today and sleep early, or take a nap and wander at night. If I can book a table at St John Bread & Wine, I might just push through.

A pair of Aussies just rocked up to the front desk. I don’t think there were any on my flight, but I’m not really sure. (Full disclosure: I’m a US citizen living in Australia.) The Clink has an Australia Day celebration on the 26th; I don’t know if I’ll go. I was never the party type even in my mid-20s. I’m certainly not one now. I’m hoping noise doesn’t leak from the basement to my ground floor room.

I’m very close to King’s Cross station, which I like. I enjoyed my first Underground ride, but I’m a transit geek. I think, on the basis of one ride, it compares favorably with New York’s subway. I do like the Oyster card, which is much better than the MTA equivalent, the MetroCard. No RFID chip in the MetroCard. However, London has zones, and New York has a single fare system.

I’ve noticed a lack of bendy buses and a good number of modern double-deckers. This pleases me enormously. I know there are two routes that still run the old Routemasters, so I’ll try to snag one at some point.

I’m thinking I’ll try to book a day trip for this weekend, most likely to Stonehenge. I need to check my options for Dover Castle, though that may not pan out because it’s a bit far, even for a day trip. And I only have so many days, anyway.

At any rate, I hope to have some photos for the next post. Nothing special, just little things here and there.


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