We are so excited to be here.  While all of our previous destinations have been fantastic, fulfilling, exciting, educational and fun filled, London is even more.  Jim really feels as if he has returned to his roots as everything just synchs with his psyche.  The people, the language and accent, the courtesy, the civility, the culture, the traditions, the architecture, the gardens & English countryside, the traditional British clothes, they all just connect with him on such a deep level that he feels as if he has returned to his home of long ago.  It will be interesting to see what his DNA test from Ancestry.com turns up.  It is presently pending.  Sandy’s roots have been confirmed to be just north of here in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.  Our first week has been somewhat slow by our standards.  We have taken three runs to the Thames exploring our area of Kensington & Hammersmith a little bit.

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North End Road is just two short blocks away from our apartment.
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Street market on North End Road.
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This is Earls Court which is just east of us.
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An umbrella is mandatory while exploring.

We have taken two “pay what-you-feel” walking tours, the first one was Landmarks Tour South lasting 3 hours and covering London Bridge, City Hall, Borough Market, The Shard, Sir Francis Drake’s Ship – The Hinde, Shakespeare’s Old Globe Theatre, Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge.

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The beginning of our first tour with Alex.
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The iconic Tower Bridge, not to be confused with London Bridge.
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London City Hall on the left and The Shard, Europe’s tallest building.
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This is a wonderful market for street food.
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Kayaker’s on the Thames.
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This is where Samuel Pepys sat and watched and wrote in his diary about the great London fire in 1666.
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Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.

The following day we did Landmarks Tour East again lasting three hours starting in Leicester square and ending in Trafalgar Square covering a host of sites in between.  Both days were cold & gray and we were chilled to the bone by the end in spite of wearing all of the clothes that we brought along.  At least it wasn’t snowing or raining.

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The Athenaeum, an exclusive London Club.
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Bundled up in front of Buckingham Palace.

Our apartment is 3.5 miles west of Buckingham Palace and central London.  We have not yet walked the distance primarily due to weather.  We did make it as far as the middle of Hyde Park one day but the constant drizzle finally pushed us into the tube.

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Kensington Palace which is where Kate & Will reside.
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Queen Victoria in front of Kensington Palace.
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Hyde Park in the rain.

Yesterday, May 1, we finally had clear blue sky with bright sunshine and warmer weather in the morning which we took advantage of by doing a two mile run to and along the Thames.  We crossed over and back on the Hammersmith bridge and then walked along the river enjoying the cuteness of England and the beauty of spring.

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Running across Hammersmith Bridge.
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Going back across the bridge.

We perused menus of pubs and saw a lot of sculling clubs, more rowing lessons may be in our future.

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Custom made wooden shell.  We had a long chat with the owner
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Furnivall Sculling club, the first sculling club for women initially, opened to men in 1901.

We had breakfast/lunch at noon in The Dove, an old Pub sitting on the rivers edge.  It is the alleged place where the Scottish poet James Thompson wrote the words to Rule Britannia as he was described as “a keen and practiced drinker” who used the Doves Inn as his customary watering hole.  It also has the smallest bar room in Britain as verified by Guiness World Book of Records.  We had our first fish and chips here which was deliciously greasy.

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Entrance to the Dove from a narrow alley.
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River view, no entrance on this side.

IMG_1089IMG_1094On our walk home the clouds came in and the day turned gray and cold.  Today again started out gray, cold and misty but by 3pm the sun came out and we decided to attend evensong at St. Pauls Cathedral as it was in honor of the Leander Club’s 200th anniversary.

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West entrance to St. Paul’s Cathedral.
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Another no picture zone, the inside of St. Pauls.

Our ties to the Leander Club are through hosting some of their members who attended the Head of the Charles Regatta in 2016.  Most notably, Victoria Thornley, a silver medalist in a double scull at the Rio Olympic Games.

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Victoria & Will, olympic rowers at our home in Boston, 2016.

 

The Leander club is the most prestigious and successful rowing club in the world, with 124 Olympic and 3 Paralympic medals won by its members between the London Olympics in 1908 and the Rio Olympics in 2016.  After the church service we had dinner at an Indian Restaurant and tubed home to pack for six days in Prague where we are meeting up with our neighbor Peggy Scott, our used to be neighbors, now from Berlin, Dick & Andrew and our good friends from the South End, John Shade and Brian Gerhardson.  Brian is running in the Prague Marathon on Sunday May 6.  Next post will be after Prague.

13 Replies to “First week in London”

  1. Love your posts and pictures. What a life. Still keeping busy with Oregon life. Mom still hanging in. Larry does not want to leave the US. Life is good. So happy for you both.

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  2. Love hearing about your travels. No doubt you are not the first Bostonians to be mesmerized by those “Royals”! Enjoy. You two are living a unique life many think of but could not endure, long may you prosper and enjoy the fruits of your good health and young hearts!

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  3. Looks like so much fun! If you ever get to Sidmouth, in the southwest part of England, please stop into my sister’s shop. It’s called Someday Something. Tell her I sent you!

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  4. Glad you’re still having fun! We’ve enjoyed London several times before and we might still try to join you. But don’t hold your breath. Two questions? 1. How many years do you plan to live this fun lifestyle? and 2. How tall are Victoria and Will? We’re in Colorado with Jon and Jolene, where they are preparing to move into a beautiful new home on 36 acres of rolling hills. Love being with family. So we’re having fun too.

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    1. We would love to have you join us anywhere in the world that we are. Next stops are Sweden for a few weeks, a few days with Geoff, Sofi & family and then Denver to see Matt & family for a few weeks.
      We plan on living this life for about 15 years, one year down already.
      Victoria is 6’4″, Sandy is 5’2″. Makes Sandy look like a dwarf.

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