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Once upon a time....


Well, after an incredible last minute frantic rush to get my house ready for someone to rent it out, I made it to London. Landing in Gatwick airport, south of London's city center, you learn quickly how to manage the trains. Having been in "rush" mode leading up to this trip, I had to remind myself to calm down, relax, take it easy. If I did't get on one train, there'd be another in a few minutes.

To bad I forgot to pack a towel and shirts. Towel? When you stay in Youth Hostels, you have to bring your own. Hostels are pretty interesting places to stay. Since you share a room with 5-10 other travelers, you meet some interesting people and learn the value of ear plugs (you always get a snorrer). And in this case, London Youth Hostel on Carter Lane (formerly the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir Boys School) has the Grange St. Pauls Hotel being constructed across the street. It get's a little noisy

    Here's a picture of the bunks so you get a better idea. Those are your lockers you see below the center bunk. It helps to pack light!
  I'm staying at the St. Pauls Youth Hostel on Carter Lane. It is a block away from the St. Pauls Cathedral. What struck me was the number of memorials in the cathedral (including tombs) commemorating various generals and their battles. I make no claims as to being an overly religous sort, but it seemed out of place to memoralize death and destruction in a house of God, which, to me, should be more about peace, love and understanding. I'll have to do my research and find out if all these battles were more of a defensive nature.  
  And now I suppose you think you're looking at Big Ben. Guess again bucko! I was recently educated to the fact that what you are looking at here is the Clock Tower. Big Ben is the name of the bell within the tower. So, unless you've been inside the tower itself, you have not really seen Big Ben. .  

And then there was the "Jack the Ripper Tour". This walking tour was hosted by Stevie Dixon of History Nut Tours (GREATBRITTONS@aol.com Tel. 07952 589 516 ). Given at night it included visits to many of the sites where Jack's victims were found and highlighted by the reading of some of the autopsy reports in all their gory detail. Aside from the blood and guts, I learned about the social and economic details of London in the late 1800's which included the things women were forced to do in order to afford a bed to sleep in for the night.

We attempted to have a drink at one of the pubs made famous by Jack the Ripper but it was too crowded ( yeah, people were just dying to get in).

  Wandering around Sunday I suddenly heard a marching band. It was part of a procession to one of the local churches, St. Mary le Bow. It included members of a Victorian era society that dress quite uniquely and provide charity services to the needy. They are know as the Pearly Kings and Queens. In 1911 an organised pearly society was formed in Finchley, north London. (Thank you Wikipedia )

More information can be found at The Original Pearly Kings and Queens Association website.
  Saint Paul's Cathedral. There is a crypt within the cathedral. What I found interesting was that the cathedral's cafe and restaurant was located in the crypt. They served Becks beer and I thought about having one. It would have been a religous experience I'm sure. Having a cold one with the saints and sinners.

To see where else I've been, click on a page number below.

  Page 1

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