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Date: 7/9/99

        There is a reason we don't like organized preplanned trips. You can't be spontaneous and open to adventure and meeting new people.
Our first day we spend in typical tourist fashion, visiting the mummies at the British Museum a couple of blocks from the hotel. We see the Rosetta Stone (remember, Sister Jean) and the Elgin Marbles taken from the Parthenon in Athens (the Greeks want them back). A leisurely stroll after visiting the Bloomsbury Pub, the Old Crown (where a Frankfurt 5th grade teacher invited us to stay with her in Devon (very pretty)), we stop in at the Oarsmen and strike up conversation with the manager, Paul Sandbach (originally from Cheshire). We follow his suggestion to meet him there the next day at noon and he takes us to Covent Garden and the ticket office to buy show tickets. He gives us a tour including the Punch & Judy Pub, the oldest in London (John - it pulls in £100,000/week). We met his wife and grandson - very nice people.
I bought tickets to see "Mama Mia" based on the music and songs of ABBA. Our first London theater (in the Prince Edward) was very good. We had a lot of fun joining in with "Dancin' Queen". After the show, we met a sheepherder couple from New Zealand and had dinner at a Thai restaurant - excellent!
My right knee still keeps acting up especially tackling stairs. So I'm in the only country in the world where every men's room is buried deep underground in the basement. Have not seen a 1st floor bathroom since we got here. I'll need knee surgery when I get home.
Yesterday's run took me to Covent Garden (a large 3rd St Promenade) and took the Tube back. Today I headed for Camden Town but the neighborhood kept getting seedier with sex shops and after seeing my first Roman Catholic church (St. Aloysius) all boarded up due to vandalism, I decided to run back in the other direction.
Today we toured the Tower of London (built by William the Conqueror in 1068) and saw where Richard III killed his nephews and Henry VIII beheaded his wives. Wonderful Beefeater tour guide and grueling in the hot sun. Found the church where Samuel Adams was married and William Pitt baptized. The Hung, Drawn & Quartered Pub introduced me to Beacon Bitters (warm & flat) but habit-forming. A stroll through the financial district to the George & Vulture finds it closed (only serves lunch). We see the Great Fire (1666) Monument by Wren and stumble on the Saigon Times Restaurant where we have a wonderful dinner and are joined by the owner, Luc (from Toulouse, France), Phyllis (a retired psychoanalyst who tells me Dr. Willie Hoffer is a much published English psychiatrist who died a year ago), and Muriel and Cecelia who are both from Spain and absolutely gorgeous. Luc kept filling our glasses until we almost missed the Tube home (with Phyllis in tow). Very nice people and a very nice evening.

PS Phyllis invited us to park our car at her house to save on parking and invited us to an event on Sunday.
At the Tower of London overlooking Tower Bridge over Thames.
 

KJH                                                                                     Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #20 

Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD

KHofferMD@AOL.com            RETURN TO INDEX

London, England

Sent 7-9-99

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