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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Our Grand Tour - London (3)

There are underlined and highlighted links throughout the blog and with the photo captions.  Click the links to learn more about the places that we saw and visited.

London, August 31, 2014, Sunday

No trip to London would be complete for a pair of baby boomers without a visit to Abbey Road and the crosswalk made famous by the Beatles.  Abbey Road is located in the St. John's Wood area.  We went to Paddington and took the tube to Baker Street where we learned that the St. John's Wood station was closed. We caught a bus that had been provided to take us to our destination.  

The map below highlights our wanderings in St. John's Wood.  It was a very nice residential area, with many detached single family homes, with gardens, and off street parking.  With a little research, I found that one we walked by was for sale for several million pounds.  I also discovered, after the fact, that we were within a few blocks of Sir Paul McCartney's London home on Cavendish Ave., which he purchased in 1965.  He reportedly stays here when he visits London.  It was in the music room of this house, where the songs, Penny Lane and Hey Jude were written.  A quote from McCartney, concerning Hey Jude - I finished it all up in Cavendish and I was in the music room upstairs when John and Yoko came to visit and they were right behind me over my right shoulder, standing up, listening to it as I played it to them, and when I got to the line, 'The movement you need is on your shoulder,' I looked over my shoulder and I said, 'I'll change that, it's a bit crummy. I was just blocking it out,' and John said, 'You won't, you know. That's the best line in it!'

Map of St. John's Wood, Abbey Road area - google maps

Handy street corner maps found all over London.
The street signs were put up high, because fans were stealing them.

A memorial to British sculptor, Edward Onslow Ford, in the intersection of Abbey Road and Grove End Road.

Ann crossing Abbey Road.

Debie crossing Abbey Road, captured on the live camera mounted outside Abbey Road Studio.  My daughter, Tammy, was viewing the live cam archived footage and not only did she see us, she could hear me speaking.  The wonders of technology.

Abbey Road Studio and the wall of graffiti

Sign outside Abbey Road Studio.

My graffiti contribution.

Ann's graffiti, one of three.

Ann's graffiti, two of three. For her granddaughter Lilla, who is a huge Beatles fan.

Ann's graffiti, three of three, for her granddaughters, Sara and Emily.

Abbey Road Studio, more graffiti.

Abbey Road Studio, musicians arriving.

Abbey Road Studio

Abbey Road Baptist Church founded in 1863.

This sign down the road from the crossing has plenty of graffiti but it hasn't been stolen, yet.

New London Synagogue on Abbey Road, built in 1882.

Roses at the New London Synagogue on Abbey Road

Entry to apartment building on Abbey Road.
 One of many apartment buildings on Abbey Road.

Elderly people sign on Abbey Road at Blenheim.

Blenheim Road, St. John's Wood.

London Homestead To Let
Blenheim Road.

Loundon Road, St. John's Wood

Grove End Road

St. John and St. Elizabeth Hospital and Hospice, known locally as "John & Lizzie's."

Sunday Roast and Rachel

Google Map

We had noticed a sign outside a pub near Paddington station advertising Sunday Roast.  We decided that would be a great thing to do for dinner on our final full day in London.   We stopped in the pub with the sign but decided it was not the place for us.  We used the computer at the hotel to look for nearby pubs and found one called the Victoria, which had great reviews, especially for their Sunday Roast.  We arrived at the Victoria about one.  It was crowded but we found a small table near the bar. 

The Victoria.  We sat on the long bench at the right at the second table.

We went to the bar and placed our order.  The Victoria over time has been a hangout for author Charles Dickens, for British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and more recently, actress Keira Knightley.

The Victoria

We both ordered the rib of beef, which came with roasted vegetables, potatoes, beets, carrots, brocolli and onions.  A traditional Yorkshire Pudding is served alongside.

Menu at the Victoria
Sunday Roast at The Victoria

Ann ordered a Pimm's, a gin, based drink with fruity flavors. Slices of fruit are added to the glass along with thin slices of cucumber.  She said the taste was interesting.

There was a woman sitting alone at the next table, also enjoying Sunday Roast.  She and Ann began a conversation about the Pimm's.  Her name was Rachel.  She was an American but living in London.  She made suggestions for places we might like to see.  We told her we were leaving the next morning.  She offered to give a quick tour of a nearby museum, the Wallace Collection.  We stepped out of the Victoria onto Strathearn Place, which quickly turned into Hyde Park Square.  We cut through to Connaught Street.  We noticed an armed police officer as we passed a corner and Rachel told us that Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, lived just around the corner.  We arrived at Hertford House where the Wallace Collection is displayed and went inside.  Like many of the museums in London, there was no admission fee.  It was an amazing collection.     I didn't make a lot of photographs inside but you can learn more about the collection here: Wallace Collection.  

The most famous object in the collection was out of view.  It was to be part of a future exhibit that was being prepared.

The Wallace Collection

The photos show some of the artwork, furniture, ornate boxes and armor on display when we visited.

The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection

We left Hertford House for a whirlwind tour.  Rachel knows the area well and she managed to show us a lot, over the next couple of hours.  We took what seemed to be a winding route through the neighborhood.  At some point, we passed the Marble Arch and crossed Oxford Street.  We soon came to what Rachel said was her favorite bookstore in London, Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street.  It was a beautiful store. 

Daunt Books

Daunt Books

Daunt Books

Our next stop was The Old Church Garden which marks the site of the old parish Church of St Marylebone, originally built in 1400, rebuilt in 1741, and demolished in 1949. It was at this church that the wedding of Robert Barrett and Elizabeth Browning took place. Barrett's father did not approve of Browning.  Elizabeth Barrett secretly met Browning at St. Marylebone Parish Church, where they were married on September 12, 1846. She returned home for a week, keeping the marriage a secret, then fled with Browning to Italy. She never saw her father again. 

Charles Wesley, younger brother of Methodist founder John Wesley, was buried in the graveyard at the old parish Church of St Marylebone.  Wesley wrote many hymns, including, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.  

We continued our walk.   We saw the Stallbridge Apartments near Brown Hart Gardens.  These are Peabody Trust Apartments, built to house poor families, but becoming very trendy in recent times.  We walked along Duke Street and cut through Barrett Place to James Street.  Here we went into St. Christopers Place.  This area filled with narrow streets, where cars were not allowed, had shops of every description.  There were many restaurants, and the place was filled with color.  We window shopped then left through a narrow exit to Oxford Street.  We walked down Oxford to Davies Street and then to Brook Street.

St. Christophers Place

St. Christophers Place

St. Christophers Place

St. Christophers Place

Exit to Oxford Street

Entrance to St. Christophers Place from Oxford Street.

On Brooks Street, we went into the lobby of the famous Claridge Hotel.  It was here that the old Hollywood stars came when the visited London.  Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Yul Brynner and Bing Crosby stayed at Claridge's. Spencer Tracy says he'd rather go to Claridge's than to heaven when he died.  The hotel was very art deco and reminded us of the Hermitage Hotel at home.

We exited by a side door onto Davies Street.  

 We left by a side entrance, back onto Davies Street, around the corner to Brook Street again and headed away from Claridge's.  Rachel took us next to Grosvenor Square to the September 11th Memorial.

Across the square, which is a green park with grass, trees, benches, statues and pigeons, is the American Embassy.  There is a statue of President Eisenhower which stands just across the road from the buildings that General Eisenhower occupied as Commander in Chief of the Allied Force and Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force.

We left the embassy and walked to Park Lane and crossed over into Hyde Park.  We passed "Speakers Corner," where there is usually someone perched atop a stool or ladder, speaking their mind.  The park was filled with people and bicyclist.  We went through the edge of the park, along Carriage Drive and ended up on Bayswater Road.  Rachel had more to share but we were tired and eager to get packed.  We would be getting up early to go to Heathrow.  Rachel walked all the way back to Devonshire Terrace with us.  Thanks to Rachel we saw places in London that we would have missed.  We had really enjoyed our afternoon with her and appreciated the time she gave us.

There is so much more to see. 

London, September 1, 2014, Monday

We were up by 4:30 a.m and ready to go long before our shuttle arrived at 6:40 or so.  Sent Amanda a text with our flight number and arrival time in Nashville.  The driver dropped us off at terminal three at Heathrow, and we found the Delta counter and checked in.  We had awhile before takeoff and we were directed to the Virgin Atlantic Lounge.  It was very really nice.   There were several complimentary papers and magazines so we got something to read.  We found an empty table and had a seat.  A server came to take our breakfast order.  I don't suppose I will ever have an opportunity to spend time in a first class airport lounge again.  It was nice to see how the one percent lives.  The time passed quickly and we were soon at the gate and boarding our flight.  This first class cabin was different than our flight over, not quite as cushy.  As soon as we took off the flight attendants started taking drink orders and soon after took our meal selections.  It was full course meal with soup, salad, entree, vegetables and followed by dessert. Once again, we had fully reclining seats so we got comfortable as soon as we ate. The lights were soon turned low and Ann and I both spent most of the flight watching movies.  It would be a little over seven hours before we would land at JFK airport in New York.  

When we got to JFK, we had to go through customs.  There were long lines and that took awhile.  Then we went off to claim our luggage, which took forever.  Being at JFK got sort of comical.  We had to take out luggage and go from one end of the terminal to the other.  Then we went out of the terminal and across the tarmac to a shuttle that would take us to terminal C.  When we arrived terminal C, we found, of course, that the gate we would board at was at the other end of the terminal.  We found the departure gate, which was very crowded but we didn't have a long wait until our flight boarded.  When our flight was called, we walked through a passage down some steps to the tarmac, to another shuttle, which took us to our plane.  Our carry-on luggage had to be loaded into the belly of the plane and we walked up a portable stair and into the door of the plane.  It was the smallest plane that we were on.  We were just happy to be headed home.  We landed in Nashville about 5:30 in the evening.  Jimmy and Amanda were supposed to be waiting curbside for us.  We started down the escalator to the baggage claim and got a wonderful surprise.  Not only were Jimmy and Amanda waiting, Tammy, Robert, Layton and Lauren were there. 

It was a wonderful trip but I was happy to be home and overjoyed to see my family.

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