Jolly Old England

We’ll enough about our preparations…

We spent our first day in London with Natasha Koroluk, Patrick’s cousin’s daughter (first cousin once removed). She was a terrific host, who met us at the airport, got us to our hotel, and led us around for the first day. This helped to familiarize us with ‘the tube’ (London’s subway), british money, etc.

We’ve been in London for 3 ½ days, and things are going really well. Patrick read somewhere that a travel blog should not be an exhaustive description of all the things you’ve done, so here’s a short list, followed by some totally disconnected observations.
· Trafalgar Square
· British Museum
· Tate Modern
· National Galllery
· The Tower Bridge
· St. Paul’s Cathedral
· The Tower of London
· Westminster Abbey
· London Theatre – the musical “We will rock you”.

It reads like a Top 10 (well a top 9 so far) of London’s tourist attractions, and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it. In particular, St. Paul’s, The Tower of London, and Westminster Abbey are truly amazing. The history is so tangible, we can feel it. It seems more alive, more within our grasp. For example, today at Westminster Abbey, we saw the grave of Charles Dickens. On it were flesh flowers, with a card that read “On your 197th birthday, from the more than 100 living descendants of Charles Dickens”. How cool is that! Unfortunately we were not able to take pictures inside the church to share with you. Although Westminster was truly amazing it was also a bit creepy with all the people buried in the cathedral. Diane isn’t fond of walking of graves, but they’re everywhere, so you can’t help it.

When we were walking to the National Gallery, we saw a red helicopter circling low. As we approached, we saw people running. Diane, of course, wanted to head the other way, whereas Patrick wanted to get closer and see what it was about. Patrick was thinking “Oh, isn’t this exciting”, and Diane was thinking “Oh my god, is this a terrorist attack?”. It turned out that it was a medical emergency, and that Trafalgar square is actually an alternate landing place for medical transports.

At the British Museum, we spent time in the Egyptian wing, which has impressive examples of Egyptian artifacts, which were ‘obtained’ by England during the days of the British Empire. We hoped to learn a bit about what we’ll be seeing next week in Egypt.

There is a legend at the Tower of London, that if the “Blacka Chickens’ (aka Ravens) ever leave the tower, that the monarchy will break down (

Here is Patrick working on his jet lag at the Tate Modern.

The weather has been very cool, averaging a few degrees above zero (Celcius) during the day time, with a mix of rain, cloud, and a few bits of sun. With a wind chill of a few degrees, our safari clothes (when worn all at once) are just cutting it. Unfortuntely, the cathedrals are only a few degrees warmer than outside. After a day of viewing today, we just needed to sit in front of a big fire at the pub, have a couple of pints to warm up, and post this note. Diane must have been really cold, as she needed 2 ½ pints!

The English national team is playing Spain tonight, and the game is just getting underway. The pub is filling up with ‘football’ fans, and we’re looking forward to a great game. David Beckham may be playing. If so, he will have tied for the greatest number of games played for England!

And for you Anglophiles, here’s one more picture (Diane in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral)

Patrick and Diane

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9 thoughts on “Jolly Old England

  1. This sounds like wayyyyyyy to much fun you guys…I am bitterly envious. You both look so happy and relaxed.You haven’t mentioned how the accommodations have been???Hostelling it if I recall correctly.Keep the updates and pictures coming…we are all living vicariously through you two…

  2. Did you get to experience any hooliganism while watching the football match? How did you like “We Will Rock You?” Ron and I took the kids to see that 5 years ago when we were in London. We loved it. Keep up the observations. You’re giving Bill Bryson some serious competition!

  3. Wow! Great to read about your adventures so far and the packing picture truly reflects Patrick’s anal personality. I’ve never seen anything like it! You are truly the Grand Poobah of Packing!England to do list(are you writing this down?): Warwick Castle, Stonehenge and Avebury Stones, Salisbury Cathedral and in London – St. Martin’s in the Field Church (by Trafalgar Square) for free music concerts and delicious scones and tea downstairs in the church-run tea room. Jolly Good!Joanie

  4. Patrick and Diane’s responses…Accomodations for Don – accomodations in London were adequate. Old hotel undergoing renovations. Clean and basic.Hooliganism for Miss B – no fights at the pub. England lost 2 nil, so the crowd was subdued. We ended up talking to an older local, who was interesting until he started sharing his quasi-racist comments on immigation.Queen for Miss B – We really enjoyed it. Great music (of course) and an fun interesting concept. We both fell asleep briefly at some point, due to the jet lag. Paid 8 dollars for a fountain drink, which even the server acknowledged was outrageous.Question for Miss B – who is Bill Bryson?

  5. Joanie – we saw your list as we were leaving London, but we didn’t do too badly on your tick list.Warwick Castle – no, but we did go to Old Sarum, the remains of a medieval castle.Stonehenge – tickAvebury – asked about it, but didn’t have time to do both. We talked with my relatives about you and the marathon.Salisbury Cathedral – tickSt. Martin’s in the Field Church – went to Trafalgar and walked by the church, but didn’t go in.All in all, we had a terrific time in England.

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