After spending a day and a half in Blackpool, we drove onto nearby Liverpool to visit MaccaMecca as I like to call it! [Macca is Paul McCartney's nickname here in England.] We visited the rebuilt Cavern Club and this is a portion of the wall outside. It is covered with the names of all the groups and musicians who have played here over the years. Many, many, many famous (and sometimes unexpected) names cover the wall. Of course, in the central place of honor are the four lads who really made this locale famous. Notice that Stu and Pete are also listed under Ringo and George. They are both former members of the early incarnations of the Beatles. Sadly Stu (Sutcliffe) died very young before they made it really big and Pete (Best) was replaced as drummer by Ringo in 1962.
I have wanted to go to a palm reader for a long time. It just seems like it'd be so much fun. Well, it was! I paid my money and sat in a tiny closed off room inside the miniature house. She didn't ask me any information like birthday or anything.. she just started looking at my palm and reading my face (apparently!) She said the next 3 years will be an upturn of luck and things will go well, including a change in jobs and a move.. hmmmmmm.... we'll see!
Stuart and I went for lunch at the pub here (The Albert) and saw this guy having a drink inside. He explained a little about why he was in red to me, but I didn't go up to the guy. After Stuart went back to work, I went back to the pub to take some photos (it's got some gorgeous Victorian era windows) and the Chelsea Pensioner as they're known was standing in the doorway (having a smoke!) Chelsea Pensioners are former soldiers in the British Army who are retired and live at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea full time. They wear the distinctive red coats (which have a name that I've forgotten!) everywhere. I politely asked if I could take his picture. He seemed more than pleased and was happy to stand and chat with me a few minutes, telling me some stories of when he was in the military and stationed in Palestine! He told me how he was injured by a bomb explosion and lost some hearing and took two years to recover and learn to walk again. Pretty impressive!
This is a shot near where Charles Dickens lived with his wife and family for a few years in London. It's an absolutely beautiful area of town! I've decided that [when I get that 6 figure paying job] I will live here some day! It's still rather near the British Museum and busier sections of town, but it retains a calm, away-from-it-all feel. It's at the very least a nice place to spend an afternoon strolling about.
I took a day trip out to Bath today (about 1 1/2 hours outside of London) and had a wander around. I went to the Roman baths first in the morning, then after having a picnic lunch in front of the Abbey, I headed inside. I was just in time for their 1:10 Summer event series. On Mondays, it's a reading from the Bible which lasts about 30 minutes. He read from the book of Acts (chap. 8-10) which was interesting. There wasn't any preaching or praying or anything like that. Just a simple Bible reading, which with the backdrop of the beautiful Abbey was a relaxing few moments of the day.
Another beautiful day (thank goodness!!) so we walked down to the giganto Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer. Love them! Got some shorts for my beach trip to Spain next week at M&S. Sadly, the big shops all close at 5:00 on Sundays (I know! Crazy! lol), so by the time we got here after doing some shopping at the other shops across the street, it was already 4:30. I definitely think a trip back here is in order. If anything, I want to go inside the gigantic Sainsbury's!
We went for a little walk around Tooting since the weather was so nice today. Came across the market in town. I love outdoor markets! I think this is one major thing we are missing in Atlanta. There may be some obscure ones downtown on Saturdays during the summer or something, but a full-time fresh market where you can get local foods would be so welcome.
I went over to the Farringdon area today to visit the St. John Order museum and this church, St. Bartholomew the Great. It dates to Norman times (talking 1050 here!) and this is the view from a side street. It turns out, this church was used in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral! I can't believe I never thought to look up some of those sites (seeing as that is one of my favorite movies that I've seen a bajillion times!!) This was where (as the man inside put it) where Duckface slapped Hugh Grant. I think that's the 3rd wedding? I will definitely have to go back and watch the film again when I get home! I will look up where some of the other sites from the movie are and go find them, too, I guess!
And, uh, not sure why the picture is crooked. The church must be on a hill or something. ;)
This is the packed bus I had to take today due to the strike. It would have been a 15 or 20 minute ride on the tube, but there was a 15 minute wait for the bus, then an hour ride from Victoria to Bank. Oy. I'm just thankful I was one of the first people on and had a seat the whole time. There were long lines at every bus stop and a lot more street traffic in general. It will be nice when things return to normal!
The tube workers are on strike for 48 hours. They started Tuesday evening at 7:00 and are going until 6:58 pm on Thursday. Most lines are completely closed with a few operating between a couple of random stations. I was lucky because the Northern line (where I connect) was running pretty much normally. I was able to take it 2 stops to then catch a regular train into town. I walked the rest of the day (not even attempting to get a bus with the crowds waiting for each one). Traffic in general was busier than normal. Luckily, London's not quite as bad as it would have been if this were Paris. It's certainly been a fun experience!
I spent the afternoon at Hampton Court Palace and there was a reenactment of Henry VIII's and Kateryn Parr's wedding day going on. It was very exciting and well done on their part! The actors wandered around doing various events as if they really were living there. We all just happened to be there, too. It was a lot of fun and really made the visit even more memorable. The actor who played Henry VIII was very friendly and seemed genuinely interested in talking to all the tourists asking for photos with him.
*FYI, if you want to see more about my visit to the Palace, check out my London travel blog here. I will have a post up shortly with more photos.
I decided to walk down to Hyde Park and possibly go to Kensington Palace today after lunch. Being in Soho, it's seemingly, not that far of a walk. However, Oxford Street is a constant log jam of people going every which way. It is quite frustrating!
On Sunday, it finally became a bit sunny and stopped raining. We took a nice walk around the city and ended up here at the Canal area. I think this was my favorite area of Birmingham. I could see strolling around here on a nice summer evening, then stopping at one of the many bars/restaurants for dinner on the open patio.
On Saturday, we went to Birmingham to visit some of Stuart's friends. It was pouring rain the whole day, but we still went and saw a few of the sights. Here is the statue of the bathing woman in Victoria Square. The locals call her the Floozy in the Jacuzzi. I have fully embraced that, since saying the word floozy is just so much fun!
This tea cafe, Sacred, was recommended to me by someone I met on the street in London. What a great place!! I had a wonderful pot of Japanese green tea and my very first scone with cream and jam. Holy cow. I don't think I'll ever be the same!
How very posh! Nothing like a bit of afternoon croquet and a spot of tea.... I came across this scene while I was over in Greenwich this afternoon. I saw the Prime Meridian there (pretty cool) and there is a large park at the base of the observatory, oddly enough called Greenwich Park. I'm definitely going to return there some sunny weekend afternoon for a picnic and sun time! Also, I got to ride the DLR train which was nice. It's above ground and takes you right by the docks and stuff. I enjoyed the change of pace this afternoon.
Hidden behind the main drag of Regent Street is Savile Row. If you are Beatles fan, then you know what this place is significant for! If you look up, waaaaay up, to the roof, you might recognize the view. This is where they played their last ever live performance together on January 30, 1969! The building was their Apple offices for a while (until they moved to Abbey Road) which is why they chose to play here. It was cool to be able to stand on the stairs there (yes, I'm one of those fans...) I can't believe I was so close to here all these visits and didn't even think to come see it. The street is very quiet now, but I can only imagine how amazing it was for the shop and office workers to suddenly hear live Beatles music coming from outside! I also passed by the police station from where officers were sent down to stop the noise back in 1969.
We had more gorgeous weather today and pretty much everyone was out in the sun to take advantage! I was on my way to the National Gallery and the lure of these chairs was strong. I decided it was more fun to just go ahead and have a little relaxing nap in St. James's Park instead of rushing on to the museum. It was lovely! Of course, at one point, this man comes up to me in my chair asking for money. I told him I was sleeping and to go away. Um, it turned out he's the chair fee collecting man! Oops! I'm sure he's heard it all the time anyway. He didn't seem phased.
So, it's my first day in London with absolutely no plans. I passed by Westminster and figured I may as well go ahead in and visit it finally. It's quite expensive (£15!!) which is why I've never done it before. However, I'd already decided I'd go at some point on this trip. It was very well organized- we got free listening guides at the door which were narrated by Jeremy Irons. That was funny! The map was clearly marked with each location's number which corresponded to the commentary on the audio guide. It was very interesting. I have to say, my favorite part was Poet's Corner where all the writers are buried or memorialized. I'm glad I went in finally. I wish it had been a tad less expensive, but I suppose it was worth it in the end.
This is an idea I got from another website. Thought it would be fun to attempt to capture my daily life during my last year (?? at least for a while??) here in America. Objective is to take some kind of photo of some aspect of my life every day and upload it here. I will try not to have any repeats!