Tuesday, August 26, 2008

London Calling

Big Ben from the Thames A friend left for London last week—she’s the type that had done tons of research and had her travel guides highlighted and filled with sticky notes. I gave her a few must do items, even though she was sure she had all the key notes highlighted or with hot colored stickies.

Here are my “must” do items. They are eclectic, but will give you more a feel to London than a canned tour on a coach:

  • Stop on the sidewalk in London and listen for Big Ben. Simple yes, but I cannot tell you how many friends ran around London for days and never heard Big Ben!

  • Walk across the Thames on the Westminster Bridge and look back at Parliament—then stop on the other side. That is where Monet and Turner stood to paint their famous paintings of Parliament. And walk it not just once, notice the changes in the early morning and at sunset.

  • Take left over lunch rolls and feed the ducks and swans in the lakes in Kensington Garden and don’t forget to say hello to the Peter Pan sculpture.

  • And pet the lions in Trafalgar Square, you will go away saying “Trafalgar Square, Trafalgar Square, I fed the lions when I was there!”

  • Don’t just go into a post office for stamps for your postcards, look for a philatelist shop and purchase older British stamps for your mail—I found a swan stamp for pennies more than a regular stamp to go on a special notecard.

  • And remember to explore those little lanes, and by the way, Bookmakers do not make books to read, they take bets!

  • Look for the blue plaques and stop to read them—the home of Charles Dickens, Sylvia Plath, William Butler Yeats and even the fictional Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street.

  • Attend a jumble sale in St. Martin’s in the Fields crypt, yes bargain sales right over the graves of Knights and Ladies.

My good friend lives in London and even she joins me to tour the city and see it with new eyes when I visit.
Yes, there are amazing art galleries and historic museums, they begin to blend together in one’s mind. But I can assure you, you will long remember the deep sound of Big Ben on a foggy morning.
cover of book by PCH @ Main

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