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TR: Solo in LONDON for ten days on unfinished business ...

TR: Solo in LONDON for ten days on unfinished business ...

Old Jun 30th, 2014, 03:22 PM
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Hi Lateday--very happy that you started your trip report. I am reading with much enthusiasm. Looking forward to more of the report.
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Old Jun 30th, 2014, 05:53 PM
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LCBONITI,thanks for your interest.I fear that this TP will be a long one so I am trying to break it up into manageable parts.


Hi EUROPEANNOVICE,refresh my memory, aren't you folks heading for London this summer or have you been?
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Old Jun 30th, 2014, 06:32 PM
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Our revisit to the UK is scheduled for much later on in the summer. Cant' wait actually. For now, enjoying all your details and taking notes.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 12:00 AM
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>>Then he learned that the legacy was not cash, but more silver. "Just what I need," he fumed.<<

Sounds just like my mother; "One more thing to bloody well dust".
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 12:25 AM
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Boswell's life of Johnson is a hoot
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 02:50 AM
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Hi PATRICKLONDON,


Your mother sounds like a character. But members of that generation were more interested in elegant tableware than my children's contemporaries.


BIBLOBURGLER, "Boswell's life of Johnson is a hoot" I am sure it is, especially regarding Johnson's love/hate relationship with the Scotch.

Last winter I read SAMUEL JOHNSON by Joseph Wood Krutch, an old chestnut, which described the friendship of the bard and his protege very well.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 08:10 AM
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Tuesday, June 17 continued...

After visiting the SILVER VAULTS and DR. JOHNSON'S HOUSE, I took a bus along Fleet Street to BANK. My destination was MANSION HOUSE, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of the City of London - that independent "Square Mile," the financial nerve center of the UK. Built in the Palladian style in the 1740s, the house is used for many official functions/events including a conference attended by Bill Clinton a few months ago. (I read it on the DAILY MAIL.)

https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/abou...s/default.aspx

Mansion House is open to visitors most Tuesdays at 2 PM (but check their website) with free tours limited to forty people - first come, first served. Elaborate chains on the front gates were foreboding until I noticed a side entrance where a number of folks had gathered. Then two staff members emerged and greeted us warmly.

The male guide welcomed us into this regal enclave (after passing through security) and gave us an overview of the house and its traditions. Each Lord Mayor (the election process is labyrinthine) serves for one year. The present Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf was in China on a trade mission that day so was unable to greet us. Factoid: Fiona is the 686th Lord Mayor and only the second woman to hold the position.

The tour through this palatial setting lasted exactly one hour. Gorgeous art work and chandeliers. Furniture was being rearranged for a dinner the following evening for the Chinese premier. I noticed that as our guide was talking, his female counterpart who had greeted us on entry, circled around making sure that no one strayed beyond the group. I observed her "counting heads" as we passed from one room to another. When I used the ladies room before leaving, I noticed that a staff member lingered there "fixing her hair." Obviously, security remains tight, especially considering the arrival of their august visitor the next day. I really enjoyed exploring MANSION HOUSE.

Since I did not expect to return to this part of town, I dropped in to the BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM across the way which I described in my trip report last summer. The facility had been renovated with more user- friendly and colorful displays. Like most visitors, I just had to try again to lift that 28 pound gold bar secured behind protective glass.

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/educa...g/default.aspx

Took the Tube back to the Strand Palace to rest up for my pub crawl that night with LondonWalks - "Hidden Pubs of Old London Town." Again, it was a lovely evening as we gathered at Temple Tube on the Victoria Embankment, a group of some 25 or so. Andrew, our guide, shepherded us to the nearby gardens for a few introductory remarks - he was lively, amusing, and well-informed. He then pointed out the elaborate gothic mansion across the road overlooking the Thames built by the controversial American banker Viscount Astor. One of the most expensively built homes in London at the time, now used as office space for a non-profit.

Andrew then led us through the INNER TEMPLE and MIDDLE TEMPLE premises explaining the complexities and traditions of these British legal establishments. Their origins sprung from the powerful KNIGHTS TEMPLARS, an organization that was dissolved by King Edward II in 1312. (Hey, Annhig, or others help me out here!) Andrew then clarified the difference between "solicitors" (they prepare the cases) and "barristers" (they argue the cases in court).

Meanwhile, I had met two "mature" airline stus from the States who now only fly occasionally.

Time for a drink. Andrew led us down a lane to a corner where we had a choice of two pubs (since our group was so large). The two gals and I chose the EDGAR WALLACE PUB, named for a popular crime writer and journalist who died in 1932. We invited another woman (who at first seemed rather distant) to join us. She (Christina) was delighted and warmed up telling us of her many travels, especially in Asia.

In case you are wondering how these pub crawls work - the guide leads you to the establishment, explains the pub offerings in ales, largers, and the like, and tells the crowd they have 20 minutes. Bartenders serve the group as quickly as possible and the patrons seem not to notice. I never finish my wine in that window, but we just move on.

We now crossed over onto FLEET STREET, which had been synonymous with the newspaper trade until the mid 1980s when linotype machines were replaced with new technology and the operations moved to the outskirts in Wapping. Violent strikes and protests followed. But, according to Andrew, the pressman's pubs survive on Fleet Street. We drifted across the street and passed DR. JOHNSON'S HOUSE (which I had visited earlier in the day) to honor his fondness for pub life in London. The irrepressible SAMUEL PEYPS, made famous by his diary, was also acknowledged - Andrew knew his stuff.

Soon we were at the famous YE OLD CHESHIRE CHEESE PUB, built after the GREAT FIRE of 1666. Its literary devotees include Conan Doyle, Tennyson, and Dickens along with Dr. Johnson. We descended into the lower level (watch your head!), so dark and authentic, to enjoy another beverage. By now the two stus and the elegant Christina and I had bonded and were a bit remiss to leave.

After a few other stops our walk concluded near the PUNCH TAVERN which Andrew suggested would be a great way to end the evening. But by then it was near to ten, so I waved to my fellow walkers and took the Tube back from BLACKFRIARS. A young lady from the tour joined me so I had company back to Embankment Tube. On our way back to Trafalgar Square, she told me about her post-grad studies in London. Another farewell.

It had been quite an eventful first day in London.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 11:54 AM
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Wow, I should say it was! Love the pub crawl - I've thought about doing one but wasn't quite sure how it would work. Thanks for the details.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 12:38 PM
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Loving your report, and all the detail! I like to do the same kinds of things, and have had five trips to London, all solo - exploring to my heart's content. I haven't been back for many years, but reading your report makes me want to start all over! I remember reading your report of your Paris trip, and thinking"that woman and I are kindred spirits". I've been spending most of my travel time in Paris and other parts of France for the past 10 years, but I'm ready for England again. But I definitely won't drive there, as I do a lot in France.

Looking forward to the rest of your report!
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 01:24 PM
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Great TR so far, latedaytraveler. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 01:43 PM
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What a great start. I'll have to put the Silver Vaults and Mansion House on my list.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 05:13 PM
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Hi LCBONITI

"I've thought about doing one [a pub crawl] but wasn't quite sure how it would work." Basically, you are exploring an interesting locale, with 1-2 stops for a drink along the way. Of course, you don't have to drink - order a cold drink or just wander around the neighborhood.

When I did the "Literary Bloomsbury" Londonwalks last summer, we only stopped at one pub. Then the guide suggested that we finish on our own at a pub across from the British Museum. These junkets are fun!


SUE4
" I remember reading your report of your Paris trip, and thinking "that woman and I are kindred spirits."
Agreed! Solo travel is an acquired taste. This was my first trip entirely alone. But I met many interesting folks along the way. So much to do and see in London.


TROPHYWIFE007
(Love that name) thanks for following along.

THURSDAYSD
Always enjoy your input.
"I'll have to put the Silver Vaults and Mansion House on my list." You will enjoy both.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 05:27 PM
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Thanks, ldt, I am enjoying your trip story! Please continue.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 05:39 PM
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Thanks Lateday--A wonderful start. We also look forward to doing a couple of London Walks. Maybe a pub walk but also thinking of the Inns of Court walk where they also discuss the legal system. Did you find the discussion on the legal system interesting? We are not sure if we can squeeze it in though.

Would love to see the silver vaults too--didn't know about that.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 06:14 PM
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Hi IRISHFACE, thanks for following along. I see that you live in Massachusetts - I live in Lynnfield LOL


EUROPEANNOVICE, "Did you find the discussion on the legal system interesting?" Yes, and I suggest that you join a Londonwalk and have a guide lead you through. Their system is unique.

Have you folks decided on any "must dos" in London this time?
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 06:36 PM
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Hi Lateday--

Yes--my problem is we have too many "must dos" for London just like we have for my southeast list so some will be a "don't have time to do until next time".

At the very least our "must dos" include Bletchley Park (outside London), Wallace Collection, British Library, London Transport Museum and Tate Britain plus the Matisse exhibit at Tate Modern.

The Imperial War Museum will reopen with brand new exhibits. We saw the museum before so we may have to skip it but would like to see the new exhibits if we can. We loved the London Walks tours we took before so do want to do a few more but the timing may or may not fit in well for the walks we are interested in doing. There are countless things to do in London. You can spend a month and still not see or do everything.

Anyway looking forward to the rest of your report. Did you visit the British Library this trip? How much time did you spend there? How extensive was the WWI exhibit?
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 10:45 PM
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The Temple and the Templars: the Knights Templar originally had the land, and the church. But when the order was suppressed (as it was in other countries), the land fell vacant (and I assume reverted to the Crown).

Eventually, it became a place where lawyers stayed while the courts were in session (hence the term Inns of Court), and ultimately the different Inns became self-governing societies which became responsible for organising, representing and training lawyers, in much the same way as the City livery companies did for their professions and trades.

Whether it it was just coincidence, or a deliberate strategic choice, I don't think it's insignificant that the Inns are all more less equidistant between the City and Westminster, away from the immediate authority of both Crown and powerful City interests, and have some degree of enclosure from the outside world.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 01:14 AM
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Coincidentally, an American post-grad student is staying here in my B&B in Lincolnshire at the moment, researching sites of round Templar churches. She is just off to Temple Bruer, one of the few remaining buildings, while there are no visible remains of the Templar establishment in Aslackby.

Isn't the reason for the decline of the Templars to do with the disappearance of their raison d'etre when the Holy Land was lost?
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 01:52 AM
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I don't suppose mediaeval Popes and kings were too keen on the idea of an independent military order of knights sitting on substantial amounts of land and money and looking for something to keep them busy (other than the alleged heresies and general misbehaviours handily alleged against them)......
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 04:16 AM
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My understanding is similar to PL's. The Knights Templar were attacked and suppressed by the King of France for political and financial reasons. After all, the Knights of St. John continued after the loss of the Holy Land, removing themselves first to Rhodes and then Malta.
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