The Grand Adventure begins…

with a headcold.

This just goes to show the power of negative reinforcement; my worst fear is to get sick the day before leaving, and lo! I got sick the day before leaving Braidwood for London. Left work early Thursday because my head was so stuffy, and by Friday morning I was ready to cancel this trip of a lifetime. But I couldn’t cancel or rearrange the schedule. However I wasn’t the only one sick on the plane, and I managed to sleep most of the way.

So. Here I am, again, five years later. This is where it all began.

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Senate House and its Library, home to the London Rare Book Summer School.

I spent a few hours wandering around Malet Street. It was university Open Day, so heaps of parents with child in tow, or was it the other way around, were visiting various departments, and talking about the future.

I found Waterstones, which I can’t believe I had never seen before. I spent some happy hours browsing the shelves and the internet, and getting high on caffeine. And listening to some accordion.

My student accommodation is highly recommended and the best place for me to be. It has everything I need except for a kettle. Breakfast is better than at a hotel and you get to meet some strange and interesting people.

Do not go to the British Museum around lunch, if you want lunch; you can’t find a seat. I was surprised at how warm the rooms were. Too many tourists. I think they really should cap the number of visitors to these places, because you can’t see the exhibits. Also, many tourist sights have given in to security fears, and every where it seems your bags are searched. There are long queues just to get into the venues. I did go to see the mummies, and have learned that part of my course takes me to the print and drawing room, which I may say is a haven in the tourist madness.

I walked around over the Saturday and the Sunday getting my bearings. Following advice from a nice young Italian boy, I walked all the way to St Brides; I realised that by catching the Tube, you miss the sights. So summer Sunday afternoon in London CBD can be relatively car-less and quiet.  I went to find St Brides

I kept walking even though it was quite summery, and I had intended on resting before tango. I found St Paul’s and St Paul’s Churchyard, which to my surprise was just a lane. Foolishly I thought it was going to be a churchyard, and could never figure out where the printing shops might be. I take things a little too literally sometimes. In this new and refurbished lane, I tried to imagine what it might have once been like to live and work there.

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St Pauls, with its churchyard and gardens behind.

To finish off the walking, I found a very retro French cafe with Brazilian waitresses, some of whom appeared to just be over this tourist season, and doing their best to ignore the customers sitting out on the street.  Cafe Boheme in Soho. Well refurbished, it did give off a nostalgic sense of la Belle Epoque. Nice haven from all the tourists with a very small but nice menu.

The day, ended with tango of course. You’ll need to go to the other blog for words on that!

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under food, libraries, museum

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