Sunday, February 19, 2006

Unguided tour

Time Out London told us, with great confidence, that there would be "Blue Badge walking guides" outside the Leicester Square Tube station (and seven others) leading guided walking tours around various neighborhoods ("part of (Mayor) Ken Livingstone's scheme to make London the walking capital of the world by 2012," Time Out told us. "You'll find them--holding blue balloons for easy identification.")

This is more or less what we found when we got out at Leiscester Square:
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But no blue balloons.

But we have our Mini London A-Z atlases! We don't need no steenking bahdges! So we set off toward Trafalgar Square for a look at Admiral Nelson's column, wondering why we couldn't find the blue balloons in Leicester Square.

Oh. I wonder if this has anything to do with it ...
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Ah yes, the second demonstration in three weeks, about cartoons published in a newspaper in another country, five months ago. At least nobody dressed up like a suicide bomber this time, because that's about as funny as pancreatic cancer around here.

(Note: My favorite sign was "Jesus and Mohammed: Prophets of Islam." I honestly think that was an intention on the part of the sign holder to make friends with Christians, only I think it will fall flat with most Christians given that most Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Prophet? Son of God? Big difference.)

So, we decided to try to move away from the hubbub and were surprised to learn that Texas actually does view itself as a separate country after all ...
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Note: Maybe that'll be a good location for Mrs. Werbenmanjensen to satisfy her jones for a burrito.

Here's a statue of Robert F. Scott ...
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... whose fate, I hope, was different than will be the fate of Ben Saunders and his teammate Tony, who I met last week.

Into St. James Park, where we got directions to the place where we're not allowed to fight ...
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... saw a coot ...
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... but not a curmudgeon, and got this nifty view of the London Eye ...
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... over top some of the government buildings in Westminster.

St. James Park naturally leads us toward Buckingham Palace ...
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... fronted by this rather stern sculpture of Queen Victoria ...
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... which captures in marble her performance in the screen test for the "Life and Times of Carry Nation" ...
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Buckingham Palace naturally led us toward Hyde Park, where, despite temperatures around 7C, park-goers were out on the water ...
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... and the flowers were still pretty.
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It was at this time a slight drizzle began to fall, so we wandered back toward Speakers Corner, where we discovered that, uh, the earlier demonstration had marched there because, well, demonstrators speak. Or something. We plunged into the Tube and came home.

Mayor Ken doesn't have to try hard to make London a great walking city. It already is. With a map in hand, anybody can come out of a Tube station in Central London and stumble over centuries of history.

6 Comments:

Blogger oldest kid said...

Wow, the Texas Embassy! I can hardly wait! My spouse is debating between bringing his cowboy hat or his fedora. American cowboy vs. American mobster....

2:43 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Werbenmanjensen said...

Actually I see quite a few folks around here wearing cowboy boots, so I'd vote for a cowboy hat. I don't see any cowboy hats, so he would be the only guy to have the boots AND the hat...

7:58 PM  
Anonymous pseudonymous in nc said...

Oh, no, not the Texas Embassy: it's an absolute tourist trap.

12:33 AM  
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