A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: DC Dave

Public Houses of London

sunny 21 °C
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One of the first pubs I happened upon after a day of a "LOT" of walking was The Swan which happened to be just down the street from my Hotel in Lancaster Gate. This place was a little different from your typical English Pub in that it had a outdoor balcony. (to which I spent 99.4 percent of my time.) The reason I spent so much time on the balcony is because the weather was so nice for this time of year. Normally, at this time of year people are huddle inside around a fire place inside, but not his day. So I took advantage of the balcony that over look Hyde Park. (London's largest "Village Green". ) Another thing I liked about this pub (other then the balcony and its proximity to my hotel) is that it has a fire place in the bathroom! I don't know if I have ever seen that before. (Klassy). This bar also had some pretty solid English beers on tap. They had Fullers London Pride, Frontier, Oliver's island and Seafarers. https://www.swanhydepark.co.uk/

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Angle in the Fields on Thayer Street, was probably my favorite pub that I happened upon by accident. I was walking down Oxford Street and it was so crowded that I decided to take some side streets in order to avoid the crowds that made it impossible to traverse. I was meandering a few blocks off Oxford Street and I came across Angle in the Fields it looked cool so I thought I would check it out. I was not disappointed with this place. Talk about cozy. This pace had it all. Wood walls, a fire place and a bar that was surrounded by stain glass windows, and it was not crowded when I was there. which is always a plus, plus!

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The Ship Tavern was a cool place I found in the Holborn District of London. This place I found when I was walking around London killing time before I headed to Arsenal to check out the scene before the Arsenal Football match. This Pub was down a narrow ally and when I saw on the sign it has been in operation since 1545 I figured I had better check this place out. Apparently this Pub as build to quench the thirst of exhausted laborers who were tending to the nearby fields, now partly Lincoln Inn Fields (obviously 1545 London was a much different place because this is downtown London now) so apparently in 1545 there was really nothing around.

The Ship Tavern has served many purposes in its lifetime. During the Reign of Henry the VIII, Catholics would sneak into the Ship Tavern to attend mass, conducted by priests from behind the bar! (Now that is sort of cool)

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Mitre Lancaster Gate was solid Pub that was located a block behind my hotel and I sort of found this place by accident when I over shot my hotel and ran into this place. I thought this Pub was really solid because you could get a pint and read the paper and chill. Just a nice place to hang out and they had a pretty large selection of English Ale's to boot.
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Posted by DC Dave 11:03 Archived in England Comments (0)

Canterbury, England


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After a few days of walking around London I decided to take a day trip by train out to Canterbury, which is about a hour outside of the city by train. Now I have to admit, I did not know to much about this town, it just seemed like somewhere that might be cool to check out that is not to far outside of the city. The only thing I know about Canterbury is that the book the Canterbury Tales takes place in this town (I think). I am sure I have read parts of the Canterbury Tales in high school, but I have no real memory of doing that. I'm sure 16 year old Dave found it to be quite boring (just a guess). Once you get off the train you are not far from being in the downtown walled off and mote part of the city. What I noticed more then anything is that it is more of a "Tourist" town. Lots of mom and pop shops and small boutiques. It sort of had the feel of being in Annapolis Maryland, minus the Chesapeake Bay and old Cathedrals and buildings from the 1600's. The one thing worth seeing in this town was the Canterbury Cathedral. The Cathedral was built in 1070 AD, and I have to say this Cathedral is massive. Apparently Thomas Beckett was murdered here in 1170 and ultimately was canonized as a saint afterword's. Sadly when I was here the cathedral was under some major exterior and interior renovations, but I was still about to get in and check things out.

What I found most impressive is all the stain glass windows that date back to the 1200's and 1300's. it was cool just to look at it while the sun shown on it.
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Posted by DC Dave 13:12 Archived in England Comments (0)

Tower of London, England

semi-overcast 18 °C
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The first time I went to London back in 2006 I believe I skipped this sight (For reasons unknown, but my hunch is that I might have thought it to expensive and not worth it, that seems to be my default mode.). So this time around I wanted to make sure I did not miss this. The weather has been great up until this day. Before leaving my hotel I looked out the window and it looked to be clearing up from an early morning rain. Since the radio said it was going to be partly cloudy with a high of 20 Celsius I thought I would be fine without an umbrella. I was in no mood to carry that round all day. So as i got on the Underground it was nice and sunny. However, once I reached my stop of "Tower Hill" and got to ground level it was raining! Since most of the "Tower of London" is an "outdoor thing" I was getting the sinking feeling I was going to get pretty wet and cold today. So I bought my ticket (which was about 30 pounds) and headed to the Tower of London. Lucky for me as I was waiting at the gate the clouds broke up and it stopped raining. Talk about lucky. In fact it did not rain the rest of the day which was so clutch since I was more or less outdoors the rest of the day.
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The Tower of London, in case you are not familiar, is a historic castle in London that was founded in and around 1100 and the White Tower was built around 1078. This castle was used as a prison from 1100 to 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. Its primary purpose through a large chunk of its history was to served as the royal residence. The Tower is a complex of of several buildings set within two rings of defensive walls and a moat. (its your classic castle)

Today the Tower of London is know for where the Crown Jewels are on display. There was a huge line for this, to which I waited in line (after all I paid 30 pounds I might as well get my moneys worth), to see all the Kings and Queens crowns over the past three to four hundred years. My take away from this is how weird it was to have one person be a "King" and walk around wearing these crowns. Its a very foreign concept to an Americans. After all, we said to hell with all that noise in 1776, and to a large extent so did everyone else over the years. Most, if not all, European Monarchs are in name only. They hold no real power. All power has been seeded to other bodies of government, and in the United Kingdom they have a parliament and a prime minster that dictate what the laws and foreign policy of the United Kingdom will be.
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Posted by DC Dave 14:08 Archived in England Comments (0)

Easter Sunday In London

sunny 23 °C
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Since I was spending Easter Sunday in London I thought it might be pretty cool to go to Easter Mass in one of the very old Catholic Churches that exist in London. I was not disappointed when I found St. Etheldreda's. St. Etheldreda's was build in and around 1250 AD. It is the oldest Catholic Church in England and one of only two remaining buildings in London from the reign of Edward I. The name Etheldreda was once one of the most popular Saints of the day in London (a Saint I have never heard of). What is also interesting is that this church was surrounded by massive gardens and grounds. but over time the land was sold off and just out right destroyed so now the only thing standing is the actual church, which is sandwiched in between buildings on all sides. DSC05704.JPGDSC05706.JPGDSC05714.JPGDSC05709.JPG
I was not sure what to expect when I attended the mass at this church. As I walked in I could tell this was going to be pretty cool. It was not overly "big" but it was super old and super cool (if you like that sort of thing). What was most striking, to me, was the organ and choir. Now I've heard my share of choirs over the years, and I can tell you, most of them sucked compared to what I heard at this church. The organ and choir were so amazing, you could feel the whole place shake! They were that powerful and that good. I finally understand why so many musicians have been inspired by the church organ and choir over the years. If you go to a good one, it make all the difference. Another thing I noticed is that this mass was a hour and a half long and worshiped in Latin. I can not remember the last time I sat through a mass that long. Over the years the Catholic mass has really been whittled down to its bare bones (which is usually in the realm of 45 minutes long, especially if there is an "Important" game on). So to sit through an hour and half mass was pretty old school to this guy. That and I have never heard a mass done in Latin before. For me the one saving grace for such a long mass was the 20 minute choir and organ break down half way though the mass. It was pretty awesome.DSC05711.JPGDSC05717.JPGDSC05718.JPG

Posted by DC Dave 08:48 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged sunday easter Comments (0)

Portobello Road, London, England

sunny 23 °C
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After dropping off my gear at the hotel around somewhere around 1PM I thought I would head out to Portobello Road, an open air market in the bourough of Kensington, which was not that far from where I was staying. DSC05679.JPG DSC05690.JPGPortobello Road was not what I expected when I walked a few blocks from my hotel into the heart of this district. I thought this market was going to be a small (maybe a block or two) open air market. Then once i traversed that neighborhood I was going to catch the Underground and head to Fulham to catch were the locals would be watching the Fulham Futbal match. DSC05677.JPG Well I had to scratch watching the Fulham match because Portobello Road was HUGE. It went for blocks and blocks and blocks and then some. Not only were people selling everything from antique camera, vintage cloths, silverware (which seems to be a big thing to sell in this town) to meteorites (yeah I could have bought a meteorite) they also had an awesome food court-pop up food stalls. DSC05678.JPGFor me to tackle this market it took me a few hours to walk all the way to the end of the market. Not only was it crowded (due to great weather), there were just a ton of stalls to look at. by 5 o'clock I was starving so I headed to the food section of the market and saw a Thai food stand and ordered the Pad Kee Mao (which it nothing more then Noodles, vegtables, and beef) and it was super good and quite filling. As I ate my thai food they had a bunch of live bands playing in this weird covered room. You were "Outside" but if it were to rain you would not get wet at all. Definitely one of the cooler open air markets I have been to.DSC05681.JPGDSC05685.JPGDSC05688.JPGDSC05671.JPGDSC05664.JPGDSC05676.JPG

Posted by DC Dave 14:16 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged street market Comments (0)

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