Archive for August 26th, 2013

by Sam Juliano

453……to…..Marylebone! and 453…..to…..Deptford Bridge!  This daily female intonation rendered in irresistible Queen’s English heard on a recording, accompanied every ride to and from our London Hotel on Old Kent Road.  The former declaration was heard at nearly every block heading from the Eurotraveller up to the Westminster Bridge and the Thames River concourse alongside the London Eye ferris wheel in a landmark area of the city that invariably served as a home base for six days of activities, on a red double decker bus line that was a model of efficiency.  It was rare that the carriers took longer than ten minutes to arrive at any destination around the city, and the frequency of usage made the 100 pound London pass worthwhile alone.  Of course the pass was also good for the handful of famed tourist sites we saw over our stay in the city, though the all-day bus tour we took on our final full day needed to paid for separately.  The concourse was frequented no less than about a dozen times over the six days, and included a first day ride on the breathtaking Eye after about a 45 minute wait to get on the city’s most popular moving attraction.  The concourse was almost always inhabited by a sea of tourists and locals and a food court that included indoor and outdoor seating and an international food festival as well as numerous incarnations of the country’s most celebrated meal -Fish n chips- and an always mobbed McDonald’s.  It was at this location that we met up with our good friend Judy Geater of Movie Classics, who trained in from Ipswich to meet the group (my entire family of seven and Allan Fish).  It was also the general location of the BFI store, (where Judy was actually first waiting at) one of the world’s most eclectic arthouse DVD and blu-ray store, and a mecca for film lovers.  The concourse also provided the opportunity to meditate on cool, breezy evenings, when Big Ben (like NYC’s Empire State Building) stood as the city’s most identifiable landmark.  It was along the river, with the steaming mass of people heading in both directions, that we navigated London’s “vibes” and the melting pot of ethnicity that has always made the city one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.  For the kids an amusement arcade could be -and was- accessed from the main traverse, and the breathtaking view of the Thames was a favorite spot for pictures. (more…)

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