Things I like about London

Trip Start Jul 04, 2009
Trip End Aug 03, 2009

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, July 11, 2009

It is really amazing to me that you can stroll into a grocery store in London and buy a HUGE variety of small servings of whatever you like.  They sell single servings of desserts of all sorts (including creme brulee and tiramisu!!), salads of all kinds, sandwiches with everything you can imagine, pastries (both sweet and with meat), varieties of couscous, and best of all Indian food.  I enjoyed chicken jalfrezi on the street yesterday for lunch.  It is not uncommon to smell curries cooking as you walk down the sidewalks! 
The first Indian meal I enjoyed in London, though, was a few days ago when I went to Kerala's off of Oxford Circus.  A friend of mine in Lexington whose culinary tastes I completely trust recommended that I eat Indian food while in London.  So, I followed his advice and found out where the best Southern Indian restaurant in town was.  I was not disappointed!
There are so many things I like about London.  Among the places on top of the list are Charles Dickens' house, John Wesley's house and church, Abbey Road, Houses of Parliament and Notting Hill.  At the Charles Dickens house you can learn all about his career and life as a writer and even see the very place he slept.  The John Wesley chapel is absolutely charming.  Right beside it is the Foundery (the first chapel he built) where his mother died, and where Charles Wesley's organ still sits!  I could just imagine Charles Wesley playing 'O For a Thousand Tongues To Sing' while sitting on that very spot.  It was very fun to have my picture taken in the same spot where the famous Beatles picture for the 'Abbey Road' album was taken.  There are some really great songs on that album, my favorite is perhaps 'Something'.  We went to Notting Hill's Portabella Market this morning.  Notting Hill is such a charming place, and yes, it looks just like the famous Hugh Grant movie!  Of course we have been to the British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone.  We've also had afternoon tea with milk, and many tube rides! 
Some great places we have visited outside of the city are Bath and Windsor.  We reached Bath by bus a couple of days ago.  Bath was so adorable.  I can't think of a better word to describe it.  Jane Austen lived in Bath from 1801 - 1806.  She much preferred the countryside and didn't enjoy her life in Bath very much, but refers to Bath affectionately in a couple of her books.  I can't imagine not loving Bath!  The people are so witty and friendly there especially.
I was told by a friend of mine about the 'mind the gap' that you see everywhere in the tube and train stations as you board the trains.  However, I wasn't prepared for how that phrase is used practically constantly and everywhere!  Not only is it painted on the floor, but they warn you repeatedly over the speakers to 'mind the gap'.  They also warn you to 'mind the doors'.  I have been in many places where I was told to 'mind your head' and 'mind the step'.  While in Windsor today I was sitting on a park bench, and there was a busted packet of ketchup on the sidewalk.  Two ladies were walking down the sidewalk and one looked at the other and said, "Mind where you walk!"  I'm picking up on a theme of minding here! 
It's interesting to note that the tube rides are really quiet, even when they are crowded.  I have been in several tube rides where I'm squeezed in so close to the people around me that it feels like our shirts are sticking together and need to be peeled apart when one of us needs to get off the tube!  Even in crowds this thick, no one talks.  Everyone is either reading the news, looking at the ceiling, starring at the floor or checking out the crowd.  Even in the terminals, you hear the sounds of the train squealing, feet pattering on the floor, but rarely people talking.  I've grown accustomed to reading the free newspapers that 'newsies' will give you before you enter the tube station.  (I am going to blog in a separate entry about some highly amusing and interesting reads that are found in the London newspapers!  It's no wonder everyone is busy reading the paper on the tube!  It's the most interesting news I've ever read because it is blunt and straightforward.)
We have been filling our days with so many things to do and see that it seems I've hardly had time to sit down and properly write about all I've experienced!  This is just a snapshot of this unique and so 'British' place called England!
I wish I had more time to document all of my experiences, but internet time is valuable at the hostel where we are staying here in London.  There are not many computers to go around.  In order to get to a computer I have to wake up really early.  I was lucky to get a computer during a reasonable time tonight.  It's because everyone is at the bar partying.  It's a Saturday night and I'm in a part of town that never closes!  I think that maybe I'm getting too old for hostels, although there are many people older than me that are staying here.  I just am getting tired of the whole majority of college kids and the atmosphere of hostels, and sharing a room with 7 other people!  But, I am grateful that I can stay in cheap places so I can have more money to be able to spend more time in Europe!

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