Thursday, June 25, 2009

The London WE Saw...

Bart and are not exactly typical tourists. (Really?) Oh sure, we wound up looking for the Clock Tower (which harbors the bell Big Ben) at Parliament and gaped at the sheer magnificence of Westminster Abby and had a drink or two in Soho… but then again, we didn’t fall just for the tourist “traps,” either. Such as the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace. Nope. Didn’t see those.

We each had our own agenda driving our needs and wants during the visit. Bart, you see, relished in seeing the various locales of Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone from the TV series Absolutely Fabulous. And me? Some of my fascination spots arose from songs of the Pet Shop Boys. Hey, it made us happy, all right? :)

However, we both shared a desire to visit “Literary London.” Besides being amazed by “Poet’s Corner” in Westminster Abby (where many of the greats are either buried or honored) we also sought out such places as Baker Street, an actual street that is the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes. In fact, it’s no longer fiction, sort of… For anyone going to London, I cannot recommend The Sherlock Holmes Museum highly enough. It’s delightful. It’s literally like walking into Holmes’s residence. You’ll find items from his various cases, his equipment and desk, portraits… all manner of decoration to pass as a believable and entertaining home and display. Dr. Watson even greets you and will chat with you, in character.

Like many who travel to London, I'm sure, we wound up at Paddington Station from Heathrow Airport. I bet you know who had been (and can be) found there!

I delighted in haunting Pan’s favorite places… Kensington Gardens, of course. Seeing the many places from the book. I’m quite happy I found the “gravestones.” But we also walked around Bloomsbury, where the Darlings lived. (And Barrie's house, as I described last post.)

We tromped up and down stairs in Charles Dickens’s boyhood home with many vintage genuine articles (quite actually, in fact, such as his papers, the periodicals [that became the novels]) and furniture, portraits and the like. A tremendous thrill.

We stared out at the Thames, thinking of Lewis Carroll entertaining Alice and her sisters in a boat. (Even though this would have happened outside of London proper.)

And what's England without the Bard? We attended As You Like It at Shakespeare's Globe.

We marveled at how easily Jack the Ripper (not fictional, mind you, but certainly legendary in many stories) could have stalked the streets. Such angles and small streets and corners… no one would know him coming.

We even found a Barber Shop on Fleet Street, where Sweeney Todd could have been. But we dared not hunt for Mrs. Lovett’s shop, lest we be tempted if we felt hungry. (Yes, I know it’s not really anywhere.)

So… there you have it. A good mix of places to see… at least for crazies like us.


Moira Lewelyn said...

Wow, looks like you had a fabulous time! I'll keep note of some of the place you mentioned, I've never been to most of them! (except Fleet Street, to which you will have to come back someday because Sweeney Todd *was* actually at number 186, and Mrs Lovett's shop was a bit further down!)

I do love those two "gravestones" in Kensington Gardens, just the fact that they are ordinary landmarks that most people miss not knowing they have been sprinkled with a bit of Barrie's magic...

You haven't posted anything about the play yet? I'm going to see it next Saturday so I wouldn't read your post before that anyway (I already got an unwanted spoiler and trying my best to avoid any others!) but I'm curious to know what you though about it :)

Peter said...

I'm in fact writing that post right now. I just haven't been in the mood for posting. (NOT a reflection of the production or the trip.)