Friday, 5 August 2011

August 5


Today was a lazy day.  We did laundry and situated the packing for Scotland.  I ended up mailing half of my clothes home - after the Shakespeare Walk, I didn't need so many clothes anymore! It was convenient...BUT NOT CHEAP.

Then, Karen and I decided to roam around London a bit before meeting some friends at RADA.  I have a couple of shots here of the grand staircase inside the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel...which Karen was determined to explore.

The concierge was kind enough to take a photo of both of us on the stairs - how regal!

Here is the view up the stairs - staggering!

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Geoff said that Ralph said he was allowed to hug Karen...well, that's what he said.

After the meeting at RADA, we decided to celebrate our last Friday night in the UK by going to Piccadilly Circus.  Here is the famous statue of Eros that greeted us as we exited the tube station.

Piccadilly Circus is like London's answer to Times Square - there are huge screens with advertisements...

...the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum...

...and the Theatre District - The 39 Steps in playing in the Criterion Theatre.

Here is the entrance to Chinatown (much like the entrance to Chicago's Chinatown).

...and here is the street.  Tons of Chinese restaurants, but you need to go a little further for the shopping...which we did.

But not before stopping here for dinner - appropriately called "London Chinatown."

We began with Sweet & Sour Won Tons - absolutely crispy and delightful (filled with prawns!)...

...and Hot 'N' Sour Soup - excellent, by the way, full of interesting shrimp!...

...and egg fried rice to go with our Stir Fried Chicken with Hot and Spicy Sauce - which we successfully ate with chopsticks!

After a wonderfully tasty Chinese dinner (and a bottle of wine), we ended up in the M&M store - which is amazingly fantastic!

Clearly, my favorite is the Green M&M.  I mean, she is the best one.

Tomorrow - off to Scotland!!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

August 4

Day 9 - Putney Bridge to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
The Final Day of the Shakespeare's Way Walk

We were determined to finish the Walk today!  Which is why I have no pictures for the first three miles - it was raining.  We had to have at least one day of dreary English weather, I guess.

There wasn't really anything to photograph though...lots of construction going on in this area of London.

"...bear slightly right passing bronze statue of man, woman, and child by John Ravera..."

The Battersea Bridge, which we crossed and..."then bear left to go down steps between bronze sculpture of two impressive flying geese..."  Really?  Someone wasted time sculpting geese?

"Good views ahead of the elegantly designed and ornamented Albert Bridge..."  Except it is under construction right now and the directions in the book are useless.

With a little help from a local, we were able to get by the construction and back onto the path ..."before veering left and entering Battersea Park..."

"Pass the impressive and entirely unexpected London Peace Pagoda on right.  It is over 100 feet high and has gilded statues on Buddha in niches on its four sides."

A pleasant view of Battersea Park beside the Pagoda.

"...with Chelsea Bridge just ahead, bear right..."

Before the next bridge we passed the Battersea Dogs' and Cat's Home - founded in 1860 as 'a temporary home for lost and starving dogs'.  They have been taking cats since 1882.

"...keep along pavement beside A202 towards Vauxhall Bridge..."

We are getting close to the good stuff - see the London Eye in the distance?

The Lambeth Bridge, with Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament just behind.

My best pic of Westminster and the Houses of Parliament - just past the bridge.

Big Ben - we heard the Westminster Chimes when the clock rang at 4pm.  I tried to tell Karen so she could record it, but she was too distracted by free wi-fi at the Zen Cafe.  :)

St. Thomas's Hospital - founded in the early 12th century, this famous hospital moved from Southwark in 1856 and it was soon after this that Florence Nightingale established her School of Nursing here.

Big Ben and Westminster Bridge - a lovely cityscape.

The London Eye!  I know I am terrified of heights, but I told Karen if the price wasn't bad that I would ride it.  I'm here, right?  I shouldn't miss out on these things, right?  No, it was 18 pounds for a single rider!  So...I skipped this one.  Besides, this area was full of tourists and way too crowded.

The statue of Laurence Olivier in front of the National Theatre.

Another skyline - see St. Paul's Cathedral on the left?  We are approaching Blackfriars Bridge.

Just past the bridge (after another construction detour...), a better view of St. Paul's.

"Now go beneath the dramatic Millennium Bridge, a footbridge leading across the Thames..."

"Just beyond...turn right at the entrance to Shakespeare's Globe, thus completing our 146-mile journey from Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon."  Here is the lobby of the Globe, near the box office.


I purchased a few (ahem) items at the Gift Shop, including this rather appropriate tote bag.

Karen and I decided to toast our victory at the Swan Bar in the Theatre...with a shot of tequila.

And it was good.

I meant to take a pic of this pirate ship when we first visited the Globe but didn't because we were in a hurry.  This is a replica of Sir Francis Drake's ship that is used for parties, photo shoots, etc.  It was just outside a hotel restaurant.

We crossed London Bridge in search of Monument Station to take us back to King's Cross.  Here is a better picture of The Monument - I had to stop in the middle of traffic to get it!  :)

And, alas!!!  The book of directions did not fare so well.  It has been folded, rolled up, sweat into, rained on, and used as a weapon for there are many dead bugs within the weary pages.  Tonight it can be put to rest.  It completed its mission - it got us to London from Stratford.

Tonight we plan to go out to dinner and celebrate the end of the Walk.  Tomorrow we plan to go a City-SightSeeing bus tour and visit Chinatown...and perhaps Picadilly Circus...among other things!

Final Totals:

120 miles (of the 146) = 82%
253,652 steps taken
10,845 calories burned
1 bruised ankle
1 squished toe
2 bruised toes
4 blisters
9 callouses
37.5 bottles of water
Not having to break out the Charmin...priceless