Wednesday, 19 December 2018

London, England (Kensington Hilton, Holland Park) 

Monday was laundry day for me. I have rarely used a hotel’s laundry service, but rather enjoy visiting a local coin-operated laundry. Give me a better feel of the neighborhood. From the hotel where I’m staying, the laundry is a short walk away. I also took a pair pants (or trousers as they are called in the U.K.) to get dry cleaned. 

After getting my laundry done, I took a nap. After waking up I then decided to attend the evensong service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s is on the Central line so easy to get to from the underground station near the hotel. I left a bit early so I could get a good seat for the service. Today the service will feature a youth choir.

As I arrived at St. Paul’s, I asked where to find the best seats. I was directed to an area off to the left of the main body of seats. As I approached this area the choir (or quire) section was opened up to the public so I decided that this would be a better location. 

The service was 30 minutes long and lessons were read with music by the youth choir provided between readings. The sound of the organ and the choir echoing through the Cathedral cannot be described. Between the music and looking at the interior of the Cathedral, it is really gives one a sense of calmness and gratitude.

After leaving the Cathedral, I took some photos of the exterior. My first up close photos of the Cathedral at night. Though due to the size of the building, difficult to get everything in one picture.

Before getting on the underground for my return trip to the hotel, I stopped by a Co-Op store to buy a few items for dinner. 

On Tuesday I met with Viktor at the Grosvenor Hotel neat to Victoria Station for tea and deep conversation. I can count on having long conversations with Viktor about any number of topics. He left me with the question of who I would like to be if I could come back and live their life. Good question. My initial answer was I would like to come back as myself, but he asked for someone other than myself. This is a question I’ll have think about some more.  

Later I met with another friend and enjoyed time visiting. Tomorrow, Csabi will be in London and will get a chance to catch up with him when he arrives at the Euston station. 

Actually went to bed quite early, but woke up several times during the night. Which is okay, I just take naps during the day to catch up on my sleep.

Had a great time with Csabi after he arrived. We first had tea then decided to visit Tower bridge and go on the tour. He wanted to walk there from the station, but it was an hour walk through London and didn’t think we had the time before it gets dark. Sunset is now before 4:00 p.m., so you have to make the most of the daylight while you have it.

On the way to Tower Bridge, after a short underground ride, we walked through the financial district and admired the tall buildings. We could see a number of new buildings currently being built in the area. It is becoming to look more like New York City every day. 

Our tour of Tower Bridge was interesting. A number of video presentations and we were able to walk along the walkway high above the street and river. One section of the walkway was of a clear material where you could see the street and river below. Not for people who are afraid of heights. A great place to see the city and I took several photos. From there we saw the old steam engines that were used to raise the bridge. (Replaced by electric motors in the mid-1970’s.) When the traffic on the bridge was greater, the bridge was raised around 10,000 times a year, but now it is raised about 1,000 times. 

By this time we were both getting hungry and had dinner at a restaurant where I’ve eaten before. I couldn’t believe Csabi ate a whole pizza. So much to talk about. Not sure if I’ll see him again before I leave. In any case, was good to see him again. 

Not sure what I’m doing tomorrow. Perhaps sleep some more if I don’t get a good rest tonight. Glad I have my train tickets purchased for my ride to Wales where I’ll spend Christmas with Prean, Viktor, and their friend Sabrina. The location of their place in Wales is outside of Abergavenny (near Brecon) in a fairly remote area in Brecon Beacons National Park. Guess I’ll know more once I get there on the 23rd.

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