Sunday, February 8, 2009

London Wrap-up II

To continue my list of adventures in London:

- Saw some amazing architecture: Tower Bridge, Lloyd's of London (the inside out building), London Wall, London bridge, The Gherkin glass building, and too many churches and government buildings and palaces to count. London is not a very tall city, but it is rich with history.

- Took the "Jack the Ripper" tour, which goes past the sites of Jack's murders, and stops at other places with sordid stories. London has had a great many hangings, plagues, beheadings, and general pestilence. One spot in particular I thought was cool is a spot on the bank of the Thames that runs into the Tower of London. They call it Dead Man's Hole, because the currents of the river and architecture of the pool all conspire to wash people in there and keep them stuck. They pull out an average of 50 bodies a year from that spot.

- Poked my nose around an old bookstore, and bought a book to read in my spare time. No internet in the cheap hostel, you know, so I have to have something to pass odd hours! I especially liked the children's section, believe it or not, they had all these darling illustrated children's books. Including some I read when I was a child - I think sadly my best-read genre is children's books. I read voraciously as a kid, then lost the time when I started college.

- Had lunch at The Porcupine, which is a very old restaurant that used to be a haven and lodge for the FreeMasons. They specialized in "pies" which I thought meant dessert, but forgot that I was in England. They make all their own meat pies, like shepard's pot pie. There was even a cornish game hen pie, and a kidney and onion pie. I passed on the kidneys...

- Went to see the new Underworld movie. The movie theaters work a little differently than ours - there were about four or five movie theaters in close proximity, so my labmate and I wandered around to see what each was playing. It turns out that instead of them all playing the same movies, each one was quite small and only played a few, with no overlap between theaters. So you go to the movie theater that plays what you want to see, instead of going to the theater and seeing what's on. Kinda cool, and efficient (if all the cinemas are close to begin with, I suppose). A little odd to see only two or three movie on the queue, though...

- On the walking tour, we went past Westminster Abbey and the church display board outside said that they had "Evensong" every evening. I asked about it, and it turns out this is a nightly church choir service. I really wanted to go, so my labmate dragged himself along. We went to see the soccer stadium because he wanted to, so really it was only fair. :) Okay, maybe a church service isn't quite on the same order. In any case, we showed up right on time and the doors were locked! We couldn't find a way in. I was quite dissapointed, so I suggested we just walk around the church and then head home. But it turns out the entrance was on the backside - yay! So we got to go after all. It was gorgeous - the church is incredible, and the choir music was excellent. The effect of those beautiful Latin harmonies in that old church filled with art was just inspiring.

1 comment:

  1. Little known fact of the day: I played Jack the Rippers, uh, victim (hooker) in a haunted house in undergrad.