LONDON – The end of our time in London was nearing, but not without another full day of walking throughout the city looking at different areas of the real estate market.
It was one day that everybody was dreading on the trip as many of the dread walking throughout the city.
We started our trip off from the hotel and walked everywhere out first stop was at the City Centre which is where an interactive 3D map of London was.
It was amazing to see the entire city of London and how the city had grown up around certain areas. I wish we would have started our trip there to get a good overview of the entire city.
Our guide was Eamonn D’Arcy, with the Henley Business School, who knew the city like the back of his hand and who owned each building.
Afterward, we walked from here to there and ended up at Canary Wharf for a look at the very interesting American style buildings with their high valuated ceilings.
Those types of buildings are not common overhear and D’Arcy said they are ugly and not useful. I like the style but have a bias against American architecture.
The tour was at a nice pace as our guide had allowed us to skip Stratford and the Olympic Village, which was where a large majority of our walking would have been.
That evening I had my last meeting with Michael Parkes, a former planning member of the King’s Cross area, over in the South Kensington area, but before that, I had to get an article out about the trip to The Oklahoman.
I stopped at a local Pret A Manger, which is a cheap sandwich and coffee shop, where is where I was to get a lot of work done.
While there I was able to talk with the locals about the area and was able to meet Freya Mallard who was writing away in her journal.
She had asked me to watch her stuff there so she could go get something and when she returned I asked her about her journal.
I learned that she was studying comedy at a local university, which is no joke. I never knew you could go study comedy, but I may have taught a class in puns.
While working and talking she invited me to a comedy club which she was performing at that evening. Beforehand though I had to meet up with Parkes.
The two of us met at 7:30 that evening and had a great time over tea discussing gentrification in London and how it related to San Francisco.
It was a quick meeting because we both were busy since he had company coming in and I had to get over to the comedy club.
I enjoyed getting a good laugh in and seeing Mallard perform there. She was very good at cracking a joke.
Afterward, I was able to head back to the hotel and grab some rest. But, my allergies were killing me at this point.
A final day in London, day eighteen.
I woke up and could barely breathe with my allergies. I guess staying out in the park a few days ago watching pollen fall from the sky was not the best idea.
I was able to find some allergy medicine and it saved my life for a while, but it would turn into a headache, which put me in a quiet mood all day.
Our first stop was the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels and the entire castle. The jewels had one of the largest diamonds in the world and was worth a real pretty penny.
Our tour guide Rachel Pearso from a few days ago came back and showed us around and explained the importance of the living quarters inside the castle which housed the Beefeaters.
Those individuals are former members of the British military and had served at least 20 years.
We had a very early lunch, which helped my headache, but it would linger all day long.
After seeing the Tower of London, Leroy Coffman, University of Central Oklahoma alumnus, and I headed off to Saint Paul’s Cathedral.
We arrived just after noon and would spend three hours there looking around and Coffman and I would attend a spoken Eucharist.
I was so tired I fell asleep for a few seconds during the service, but it helped me push through the afternoon.
We had at least an hour where we sat around waiting for a tour with Vivien Kermath, who had been working there for a long time.
The architecture was done by Christopher Wren who did an impressive job on incorporating the Roman styles in the columns and throughout the naive.
After getting a tour of the main portion of the building we all went to see the triforium, which was just the attic of the church housing old pulpits and a scale model that Wren had made of the church.
While his model was never fully used, he did take a lot of the themes of that model and used it on the current building.
It was neat to go into the triforium, which is limited to very few tours but had a wealth of interesting artifact.
Afterward, Coffman and I went back to the hotel and I was able to get a quick nap in. However, Coffman, UCO professor David Chapman and I headed off to see Dan Range, a researcher at Coventry University.
He has a membership to a whiskey club in the Soho district of London and Coffman and Chapman were excited to go there. I am not a whiskey (scotch) drinker, but Coffman is.
They at least had wine and it was a nice relaxing evening outside on the patio which was situated around buildings. It seemed like it used to be an old rooftop garden but was very quiet seeing as the Soho district is so busy.
We left there around 7:30 p.m. and headed back to get our luggage prepared for an early departure on the train towards Belfast. I was even able to go to bed early, which helped me out a lot.
Feature Photo: Eamonn D’Arcy points to downtown London and discusses the model of the city with students.