Wednesday, November 22, 2006

travel: bc on the road part 3b

Back in London on November 11th, after the 2 minutes of silence at 11am I spent an hour in Westminster Abbey. Curiously the most moving part of my walking tour was a few moments spent in "Poets' Corner" over the memorial to T.S. Eliot, which read: "The communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living."

I walked up Whitehall to the Centopath, where a massive ceremony would be held the next day. From there, I passed through the arch in the Horse Guard's Barracks, around the back up to the Mall then east through the Admiralty Arch up to Trafalgar Square, then on to Charing Cross Road and the bookstores.

Yes, I managed to find a terrific lunch - English bacon, melted mozzarella, basil and grilled tomato(e) on cibatta bread.

Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the used and new bookstores.

Yes, I managed to scalp a ticket to Spamalot at the Palace Theatre. Long story.

I wandered up Regents Street to Oxford Street, meandered down through Soho, had a pretty decent dinner then took the tube back to Notting Hill from the Embankment station. After a bottle of wine, Trafalgar Square at night is a bit surreal.

Sunday dawned clear and cool - I can safely report that the Portobello Road is mostly crap, that Kensington High Street is entirely crap, and that Kensington Park is entirely lovely. Dinner at the Sun in Splendour pub was marvelous, then to sleep in advance of the push to Munich on Monday.

Incidentally, if anyone offers you a beer called Fruli, be prepared for something entirely odd.

Of my trip to Munich, there is not much to report. I got there at night - had the fastest cab ride of my life (180kph at one point care of a spiky-haired kid with an itchy radio station changing habit), then a single-night stay at the Hotel Dorint Sofitel Bayerpost, a modern hotel that I had no opportunity to explore.

After the speech on Tuesday morning and a quick lunch, it was back to the airport. I can happily report that the Munich airport has some terrific shopping, including a Fabriano Boutique dedicated to spectacular hand-made Italian paper and other stationery.

A fast Lufthansa hop to Charles de Gaulle airport. . .then the best part of the trip. From the short post I lodged early last week, you can tell how I feel about Paris. I'll write about that experience tomorrow.

(By this time, my little Clairefontaine notebook was getting stuffed with map fragments, receipts, restaurant "cartes du maison" and other bric-a-brac. My passport was wrinked from travelling in the breast pocket of my coat for a week. My jeans were ready to walk off and throw themselves in front of a train. I had done three cities in 24 hours, was losing my voice, and had serious concerns about my ability to get my French back. I was down to my last pair of clean underwear, was out of shirts, and had managed to lose three socks - all from separate pairs. Travel is fun.)

No comments: