London, Part 8 (and done).

Let’s look the leftover photos I have from the London trip.

Cricket and I were walking past the Millennium Bridge and we happened on this weird neat-o fountain. It looked like a ship with all kinds of wacky alchemy stuff attached to it. My favorite part was the figure in the back who looked like a giant-nosed Napoleon with an umbrella on his head.

St. Martin-in-the-Fields (real name) Church is one of the best churches you could have the pleasure of visiting. They turned their crypt into into a lovely tea room with stellar cafeteria-style food service (like lamb shank and roasted root vegetables, yummers) and you only feel slightly horribly guilty for enjoying tasty snakkies on top of the graves of people. You can also do bronze rubbings and listen to different kinds of live music. Cricket and I took the time to go up into the actual church-area and I was surprised at what I found. Their main window is clear glass, and in the center is a milky-white-stained-glass egg that is lit by special lights, so it looks like it is glowing. I think that is genius. Instead of having the whole bible story mapped out, they left a little to the imagination. And darn it if it doesn’t look ethereal.

London has a Chinatown, much like most other cities do. Theirs is much smaller than the one in New York. And they have a wall dragon as you walk in.

The lanterns are a really nice touch.

And their pharmacist has this great poster in the window. The tank illustration gave us the giggles.

We visited two major stores: Harrods and Hamleys. Harrods is one of the most famous department stores in the world, and I must say it is fancy. If you do go there, make a point to go to the food court. Holy Moses, it is glorious. They have every kind of food from anywhere in the world. It was mind-blowing. For example, here is a photo of a section of their terrines. Terrines are basically patés or finely ground meatloafs.

And that’s just one little corner of the magic. Another cool thing about Harrods are the 11,000 lights on the exterior.

Hamleys is a very old and very large toy store. Here is the lowdown on the floors:

5th floor: Boys — Action figures, vehicles, and an open cafe.
4th floor: Hobbies — Model kits, remote-controlled vehicles, model railways, Scalextric, etc.
3rd floor: Girls — Dolls, Arts & Crafts, Hello Kitty, Dress-up, etc.
2nd floor: Preschool — Toys for young children.
1st floor: Games — Board games, science, jigsaws; also a Build-A-Bear Workshop and Sweet Shop.
Ground floor: Soft toys — a wide variety of stuffed animals, and also a Marvin’s Magic section.
Basement: Interactive — Lego, construction toys, Red 5, novelties and GAME (retailer).

I don’t really care one way or the other about toys or games, but I did geek out really hard when I got to (wait for it) the Harry Potter Wand Store section.

Every wand for any character from the film. So exciting! It made me believe, just for a moment, that there’s a train that could take me to Hogwarts.

Now, everyone says the British are more elegant and reserved and classy, and I am inclined to agree, based on the fact that they made an opera of (not making this up) Anna-Nicole Smith’s life. Really. And it’s at the Royal Opera House, not some avant-garde experimental theater space. That’s pretty wild. (It got great reviews, by the way. I would have tried to see it, but it opened after I left.)

Two final random shots: One, an old ship with a terrified-looking deer as the figurehead which I found really funny for some reason.

And a men’s store’s spring window display. The smallest figure is spinning while only wearing underpants. You can almost hear him saying, “Whee! I’m nakee!”

That’s it. That’s my trip to London. If anyone has any questions or queries, feel free to contact me. I have 300 other photos that I did not share here which I would be happy to show you.

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