The Story and Pictures of my Trip to England with Dave Bodaly
Weather and time in London
The first time I went to England was with my friend Dave Bodaly in 1985 on our way to Portugal. We enjoyed the city of London. We visited Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, the St-Paul Cathedral and the Tower of London.
William the Conqueror founded this latter monument; it took turns being a fortress, a royal residence and a state prison. The crown Jewels are stored there ,at least they were in 1985.
We also climbed to the top of the Tower of London Monument dedicated to the great fire of London. The tower is almost all white, and is 61 meters high . To reach the top you have to walk 311 steps.We took some crazy pictures upside down.
In our visit there we also went to Southend-on-Sea a town by the North Sea 65 km from London. We walked on the pier supposedly the longest on earth, the Southend pier. It was a pretty village with plenty of roses and fishing boats.
Unfortunately, we came back to downtown London late and we could not find a place to sleep. We decided to go to Hide Park to do exactly that... to hide. After awhile we got scared, it seemed there was too many dubious characters walking around and we moved to Victoria Station. Cops kept waking us so we did not sleep that great.
The next day we found a bed and breakfast at a reasonable price. Victoria station , our headquarters, had a place to help tourists find lodging. We found a place at the Foreign Missions Club in Aberdeen Park.
We also experienced the joys of the Tube. It was quite an experience to travel in such an old transit system, the smell of old oil was everywhere. There were signs all over the station saying not to leave your luggage unattended. The fear of IRA terrorists was omni-present.
One time I was at a restaurant and the police started to put barriers everywhere. I knew that something serious was happening but the patrons kept eating and they were not budging. I decided to ask them what was happening, casually they answered “ Just another bomb alert”. It was a normal occurrence for Londoners.
I also saw a protest, people were carrying signs “condemn the aggression against Irish People”.
We decided to go to Oxford. I was impressed with the many historical buildings. This town of 134 000 has the oldest University in Britain with people learning as far back as 1069. There are approximately 39 independent colleges . It is no doubt this is one of the most famous university towns in the world.
Christ Church, Magdalen College, Merton College, University Church of St Mary the Virgin Tower, Radcliffe Camera are places worth to visit. Oxford has also the oldest museum in Great Britain called Ashmolean Museum.
My favorite activity was to canoe on its River Cherwell (it is not too far and is surrounded by numerous colleges. A few years later I had the privilege to bring my wife to this city, one of my favorites in Europe).
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