July 10, 2014 – London.
From my journal:
Rose a little before 8:00 and walked down the street to the other side of Vincent Square to retrieve our laundry. £3 to dry. Showered under a single trickle of water. Laura, too, as she ducked into the same stall, but I didn’t see her to warn her.
Most hostels have shared bath and showers; a few are co-ed. That’s not as scary as it may sound to some. There is plenty of privacy.
Coffee and cereal again in the pub.
Sometimes that is as scary as it sounds.
We took the tube to Westminster and toured the Churchill War Rooms – terrific. Walked to Trafalgar Square, where the striking unions were demonstrating. Then to Leicester, then into Chinatown, where we ate lunch, a buffet of standard fare. Then through Soho, which didn’t offer much beside crowded streets.
Warning: Extreme geekiness follows.
We took the tube to the British Library and viewed the Library Treasures.
- The handwritten lyrics by Lennon & McCartney. “Help!,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Yesterday,” and “Michelle.” Yeah!
- Notebooks by DaVinci
- A sketch and a letter from Michelangelo
- Shakespeare’s First Folio – which I snapped a picture of before the guardian told me, No photos.
- The oldest MSS of “Beowulf,” and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
- A royal grant document dated 679 – the oldest existing document in Anglo-Saxon (Old English)!
- A Gutenberg Bible, Wycliffe Bible, and some marvelous illuminated Gospels, Bibles, and other texts.
- The Magna Carta
- And the Codex Sinaiticus – the oldest complete NT MS in Greek – 4th century.
After the Library we tubed back to Oxford Circus, where we walked west through Mayfair to Hyde park. We walked down Upper Brook St and crossed through Grosvenor Square, seeing a moving Sept. 11 memorial, and statues of FDR and Eisenhower.
We came to Hyde Park at the Speaker’s Corner (Nothing today. Only Sundays.), and I got a cappuccino. We saw some Aston Martins across the way – one was a 1970 used in a one-season show with Tony Curtis & Roger Moore – a beauty. (The Persuaders)
Tube over to the East Side, Liverpool Street, where we walked around Spitalsfield. Ate at a restaurant in the New Spitalsfield Market.
Walked up Bishopsgate to Bushfield which took us to Christ Church. We walked around the Gardens and left just as a “Jack the Ripper” tour came in. There were at least three on the block at the same time.
Went up to Commercial and took Lamb back Bishopsgate, then to the tube. Back home via Pimlico stop. Showers. Bed.
Last day in London.