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Day 5
Slept for 11 hours. We both developed sore throats in the night. I have a fever and flu-like symptoms (Mad Cow?) [Nothing that a couple of Panadol (similar to Tylenol and purchased at a local pharmacy) won't fix.] We have probably walked 30 miles so far. Walking is one of our favorite pastimes as we travel. But the hot sun and the warm temperatures have taken their toll. Where is the bleak, dreary, drizzly, cool bumbershoot London? How ironic - the locals are loving this unique weather. Since Tucson has sun 937 days a year, enough already! Rain on us, please!
We could barely rouse ourselves from the comfortable bed. We could easily have slept several more hours, but already the day was leaving us behind. So a quick shower, then dress and out the door we go. We had slept through the hotel's English breakfast, so we marched (crawled, actually) around the corner to Cleopatra's Café, across the street from the massive British Museum. The breakfast of eggs, beans, bacon, toast, sausage and coffee hit the spot, and so, somewhat recharged, we went back to the British Museum. One could spend days here, easily. I could have spent days just in the exhibit of time-keeping devices. The "money" exhibit was fascinating. The gold and silver displays were incredible - one ornate gold piece, made in Paris for the uncle of Louis XV, contained a thorn from Christ's thorn of roses. This was our second visit here and we wish we could spend more time perusing the many exhibits. The Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and early Anglo-Saxon exhibits were the best I have ever seen. Our U.S. history spans 230 years. The English have 2300 years of history behind them
Gold from the reign of Emperor Arcadius (AD 364-375) from the Money Exhibit at the British Museum
I was beginning to feel ill, so we went back around the corner to the Morgan where we made use of the WC (toilet) and then walked across Oxford Street to Boots Pharmacy, where we bought water and Panadol, suggested by the lady pharmacist as being "exactly the same as Tylenol," then purchased day passes good on either the Tube or the bus, and took three Tube changes to Chelsea, an area of South London once quite bohemian and now a trendy shopping area (King's Road.) It amazes me how absolutely friendly the Brits have been to us. As we studied the Tube map, an older woman offered her assistance and gave suggestions as to the best route to Chelsea. This hospitality has been duly noted and is greatly appreciated. This happened repeatedly on our journey, and in all three countries we visited - England, France and Holland. It is inspirational for us to do the same for folks visiting Tucson…
Quaint London flat
We stopped for a coke and a latte and soaked it all in. The side streets off King's Road are quaint, narrow lanes with lovely flowers and trees and must be totally unaffordable. We walked up King's Road to Oakley Street where we made a left turn and walked past many quaint and historic flats. Among other notables, Sir Thomas More and Robert Scott, the famous Antarctic explorer, lived here. We walked across Albert Bridge to Battersea Park, lush and green, along the south bank of the ancient River Thames. I noticed, from several high water marks along the bank, how great the difference is between high and low tide on this ancient, historic river.
Sign on Albert Bridge
The Romans came in the 1st century A.D. and established an encampment/settlement, Londinium, near where the Tower of London is situated today. Having a knack for creating civilization via taxation, laws and government, they stayed for 400 years before they had had enough of piracy and barbarism and gave up and departed. However, they left behind an indelible fingerprint, and the vacuum was quickly filled by peoples from all over Europe - French, Scandinavian, German, Italian, Spanish - and these peoples collectively were called the Anglo-Saxons. These groups claimed pieces of the English countryside as their own. These "pieces" became kingdoms, and thus began the start of feudal, medieval times.
We sat in Battersea Park for a while. Nearby a father and young son practiced soccer (a sight seen several times that day,) lovers caressed on the park's vast green lawns, dogs ran loose and free (wake up U.S.,) people of all ages strolled leisurely and enjoyed the cool, sunny Sunday. A very peaceful, pastoral, inviting and relaxing spot. Soccer balls flying everywhere. More than once I had to be vigilant and protect the camera. Carol bought us two delicious ice cream cones from a vendor - I had forgotten how rich and delicious the English ice cream is. Not quite Italian gelato, but close…
Love in Battersea Park  Love in Battersea Park
dml in a tree at Battersea Park
We walked east through Battersea Park until we came to Queenstown Row, in the shadows of the huge, long-abandoned Battersea Power Plant with its four recognizable smokestacks. We strolled north across Chelsea Bridge until we came to the White Ferry House Pub at Westmoreland Terrace and Southerland Row and sat and rested with a pint (dml) and a half (cjl) of Guinness for 3.55 pounds. The sky is becoming overcast finally (thank God) and the air is breezy and cool. The temperature is in the mid 70s. The flats in this area are not so quaint as the ones we saw near King's Road, but still have charm. The doors are painted blue or green or brown and most windows have plants in window boxes. At the pub, a group of locals, neighbors it seems, are enjoying themselves and the afternoon immensely. We noticed an interesting looking elderly gentleman with a cane across the street, so Carol walked over and asked if he minded if she took his picture. He was amused.
Love this face...
We then strolled through the winding narrow streets of charming Chelsea until we located Sloane Square and the Underground. We were on our way to Camden Town in search of "Little Venice," to take the walk suggested in our DK Eyewitness Guide to London. It took three Tube changes, and when we got off the last Tube we immediately found ourselves in the midst of black leather, purple hair, metal spikes and black t-shirt shops. The Camden Town Sunday Market was mobbed although obviously winding down at 4:30 in the afternoon. We found a canal and watched small boats negotiate the locks by raising and lowering the water level.
Busy Camden Town
Negotiating the locks at Camden Town
We realized that we were far from "Little Venice" and we stood on Chalk Farm Road trying to makes heads and tails of the map (we were off the map at this point.) Suddenly a fellow carrying his cute young son on his back approached with his wife and asked if he could help us with directions. He finally suggested that we follow them since they were basically headed in the same direction. As we walked along, they introduced themselves as John, wife Melissa and son Charles. John is into music of all kinds, especially folk, and told me that this past year he had visited Austin, Texas for a music festival. I told him that I thought that the British were friendlier, warmer and more accommodating than we Yanks, and he politely disagreed, based upon his experiences during his recent visit to the Colonies, and it was nice to hear that. I brought up the fact that in the U.S., children take guns to school and murder each other, and he countered that just yesterday Melissa and Charles had returned from a visit to Spain and on their Gatwick Express train, two rival gangs had it out with knives. I asked John why he did not go with his family to Spain, and he looked at me with surprise and shock and said "I had to go to the Liverpool football match, mate." Liverpool had just defeated Arsenal in a last minute victory. The news of the match was all over London, and probably all of England.
John, Charles and Melissa
By now we were in a quaint section of Camden Town, and John and family wanted to find a restaurant. We still were searching for "Little Venice," so we said our thanks and goodbyes after I took their photo. John, if you are reading this, thanks again for the help, and email us…
We continued walking in the direction of spacious Primrose Hill, a lovely park, and thought we might catch a bus. At the bus stop, a wonderfully sarcastic English matron told us dryly that "there are absolutely no primroses on Primrose Hill, but there are a lot of snooty posh people." She also volunteered that "there are so many American tourists in London…" She was sweet and funny and we thanked her and walked towards Regents Park.
We found the north edge of wooded Regents Park, went in and down to the lovely oak and ivy lined canal that runs through the park, and walked for what seemed like hours until we thought our feet would give out. We walked past incredible mansions until we found stairs leading up to Park Road, which runs along the west side of Regents Park. There we walked for what seemed like more hours and miles until we finally found Baker Street (of Sherlock Holmes fame) and jumped on a bus.
The canal in Regent Park.  We walked for MILES along this beautiful path...
The bus driver kindly (typically British) offered a suggestion that we get off at Picadilly and find a restaurant there. We jumped off as he suggested, but found Picadilly to be full of tourists and American-style fast food restaurants. So we walked the short distance to Soho and found many possible restaurants until a Lebanese/Moroccan place called Nadine's caught our eye.
We sat at a great table outside and ordered the "taster's dinner," samples of various items from the menu, for 28 pounds and we were astonished at the amount of food they brought out. There were so many dishes that the waiters had to bring a second table to accommodate it all. As we ate our scrumptious dinner, including Lebanese wine and beer, we noticed that we were sitting next to a lively trio. We had so much food that we asked them to join us, and that broke the ice. We soon joined our tables together and introduced ourselves to Katy, Andrew and Alison (who introduced herself as "the good looking one…") We proceeded to enjoy three hours of delicious food, excellent wine, strong espresso coffee, great conversation, and what promises to be a lasting friendship. Andrew is in the IT field like me, and Alison and Katy have both managed pubs, and we simply hit it off proper.
Andrew, Katy and Alison
Katy, who is into all things from the 40s such as swing dancing, was playing phone games with a possible suitor and we all had fun concocting messages for her to send with her cell phone. Then we would wait for a response. This went on all evening.
Alison lending Katy a hand with the cell phone romance...
Our new friends shared with us stories of their lives as Londoners, and we reciprocated with tales from a Yankee perspective. Comparing notes was fun and interesting, and it just bears out my philosophy that we are all the same. Alison and Andrew, who are married, have an incredible love that was evident, and we totally and thoroughly enjoyed our evening together.
Andrew and Nadine
Alison, Andrew, Carol, David and Katy
We finally had to leave, being the last customers in the restaurant and the staff wanted to go home. So we said sad farewells and promised each other we would stay in touch via email, and then Carol and I walked from Soho up to Oxford Street, then home to the Morgan. Another absolutely fabulous day.

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