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Thread started 21 Jun 2013 (Friday) 03:05
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Traveling in London, my first impressions!!

 
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Jun 22, 2013 08:56 as a reply to  @ post 16054317 |  #16

I've just returned from a two week trip to France and found driving on the right no problem at all. Not all of Europe drive on the right, Cyprus for one is a left hooker.:)


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Pepe ­ Guitarra
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Jun 22, 2013 14:54 |  #17

sandpiper wrote in post #16054317 (external link)
Yes, we do have two tier pricing at most fast food establishments. However, if you opt for the lower "take out" price then proceed to "eat in" by using a table, you shouldn't be surprised if they ask you not to. If you want a table, they expect you to pay the "eat in" price.

The Canterbury experience does sound bizarre though.

No, we drive on the correct side and see no reason to change just because all our neighbours decided to swap from the left to the right. Doing so costs an incredible amount of money adjusting infrastructure, and we Brits are all perfectly happy driving on the left. We see no point in changing to please foreigners. The same goes for our currency, whilst most of Europe may have thrown in with a single currency, we have no intentions of dropping Sterling and adopting the Euro as well. The British people are independent and like to do things the traditional way, not just changing things on the whim of some Eurocrat.

Having spent holidays (vacations) in Europe, I can say that I have had no problems adjusting to temporarily driving on the right (wrong) side of the road and see no need for all countries to be the same, so long as you know the local rules of the road and stick to them, wherever you are.

Yes, there are no jaywalking laws here, for which I am grateful. There are police around, but they are mostly driving around (or parked) in cars, which are often unmarked. London (indeed all towns and cities) have CCTV cover and there is no need for a copper to be physically watching an area. The control room will spot trouble brewing and can direct cars there very quickly.


I'm glad you are enjoying our little country, and people are treating you well (apart from moving you on for not paying for a table ;)). Are you here for long, and planning to travel around?

Thanks for addressing my other comment. I do understand your explanation. I am on vacation for a month (I am not reach, I just have not had vacation for 10 years, so I took all of it). The most I have enjoyed is the tube and the walking, I have lost 10 pounds (American fat pounds) by just walking. I did the same 10 years ago in Spain. In California, we drive to visit our neighborhs who live a block away! (NOT KIDDING!!). We are now at the Cotswolds, eating really home made food at 1/3 of the price paid in London, and enjoying the buccolic scenery. This is definetly a beautiful country. Too bad, I did not bring my computer, so I cannot post more pics. The ones I post are using a borrowed computer.


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Jun 22, 2013 16:13 as a reply to  @ Pepe Guitarra's post |  #18

Well, I spent the longest day of the year having supper at a pub on the edge of the Thames River, where I could see the sun (finally, when it settled down). Here is a shot of the Tower Bridge (no pp).

IMAGE: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5504/9109482313_333b7a6028_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/palenquero/9109​482313/  (external link)
IMG_1318 (external link) by Palenquero (external link), on Flickr

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Jun 22, 2013 17:05 |  #19

Pepe Guitarra wrote in post #16055087 (external link)
Thanks for addressing my other comment. I do understand your explanation. I am on vacation for a month (I am not reach, I just have not had vacation for 10 years, so I took all of it). The most I have enjoyed is the tube and the walking, I have lost 10 pounds (American fat pounds) by just walking. I did the same 10 years ago in Spain. In California, we drive to visit our neighborhs who live a block away! (NOT KIDDING!!). We are now at the Cotswolds, eating really home made food at 1/3 of the price paid in London, and enjoying the buccolic scenery. This is definetly a beautiful country. Too bad, I did not bring my computer, so I cannot post more pics. The ones I post are using a borrowed computer.

It makes sense to do a trip like this for a month, in you situation. The flights are a big part of the cost, you may as well spend a little extra and get a month here, rather than a fortnight. I would do the same if I was going to your country.

You are certainly in a beautiful part of England at the moment, I love the Cotswolds and some of the villages there are so picturesque. Have you been to Bibury or Bourton-on-the-Water? They are really beautiful places in that area. The living expenses should definitely come down, now that you have left "the Smoke" and the tourist rip-off prices behind. :D




  
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Jun 23, 2013 05:30 |  #20

sandpiper wrote in post #16054317 (external link)
No, we drive on the correct side and see no reason to change just because all our neighbours decided to swap from the left to the right. Doing so costs an incredible amount of money adjusting infrastructure, and we Brits are all perfectly happy driving on the left. We see no point in changing to please foreigners. The same goes for our currency, whilst most of Europe may have thrown in with a single currency, we have no intentions of dropping Sterling and adopting the Euro as well. The British people are independent and like to do things the traditional way, not just changing things on the whim of some Eurocrat.

Having spent holidays (vacations) in Europe, I can say that I have had no problems adjusting to temporarily driving on the right (wrong) side of the road and see no need for all countries to be the same, so long as you know the local rules of the road and stick to them, wherever you are.

Yes, there are no jaywalking laws here, for which I am grateful. There are police around, but they are mostly driving around (or parked) in cars, which are often unmarked. London (indeed all towns and cities) have CCTV cover and there is no need for a copper to be physically watching an area. The control room will spot trouble brewing and can direct cars there very quickly.


I'm glad you are enjoying our little country, and people are treating you well (apart from moving you on for not paying for a table ;)). Are you here for long, and planning to travel around?

There are some very good reasons for standardizing things - such as driving on the right hand side of the road: Trade and international relations.
The UK only gets away with it because it is an island. Try building a border crossing which requires people to change the side of the road they drive on... (doable with a bridge) but stupid...

Put it that way - the UK likes to exclude itself from the rest. That's how it is. Period.
(And things don't get changed on the "whim of some Eurocrat" in Europe - things are changed because some government in Europe suggested it - that includes (!!) the UK government which every now and then derails EU policy by not agreeing when everybody else does... (makes it 26 to 1 in countries and >80% of the population vs. <20% of the population of the EU)

On the issue of CCTV: CCTV does NOTHING for security - there is an initial drop and ones the pickpockets, burglars, etc. know where it is, crime rates are back to normal levels. Its is no good to have some grainy footage of someone robbing or killing you...
The ONLY working deterrent to crime is to have an active police presence. (Add to that, police officers are technically also good as "helppoints" for visitors from the outside.)


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Jun 24, 2013 02:19 |  #21

Pepe Guitarra wrote in post #16055275 (external link)
Well, I spent the longest day of the year having supper at a pub on the edge of the Thames River, where I could see the sun (finally, when it settled down). Here is a shot of the Tower Bridge (no pp).

QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/palenquero/9109​482313/  (external link)
IMG_1318 (external link) by Palenquero (external link), on Flickr

Tower Bridge is a classic British con - just like a lot of our fake 'traditional' ceremonial, it's a fairly recent construction.

It's less than 120 years old - completed in 1894 - and is actually a reasonably modern steel-framed structure given a patina of age with sandstone and granite facings. Nothing in this country is quite as it seems.

Hope the rest of your trip goes well.


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Jun 24, 2013 05:32 |  #22

xhack wrote in post #16059255 (external link)
It's less than 120 years old - completed in 1894

Old is quite a relative term, our harbour bridge is "old" and it was completed in 1959...


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Jun 24, 2013 07:16 |  #23

As you say, 'old' is relative - to me, Skara Brae (external link) is old, certainly compared to young pretenders like Stonehenge or the Pyramids.

'Historic' tourists traps in London are deceptive - the familiar facade of Buckingham Palace was created as recently as 1913, while Parliament - despite its Gothic appearance - was only completed in the 1860s. The chamber of the House of Commons is a real youngster - rebuilt and opened in 1950, after the old chamber was destroyed by German bombs in the Blitz.

Yep, old is relative. :)


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Jun 24, 2013 09:10 |  #24

xhack wrote in post #16059255 (external link)
Tower Bridge is a classic British con - just like a lot of our fake 'traditional' ceremonial, it's a fairly recent construction.

It's less than 120 years old - completed in 1894 - and is actually a reasonably modern steel-framed structure given a patina of age with sandstone and granite facings. Nothing in this country is quite as it seems.

Hope the rest of your trip goes well.

Why is it a "con"? Who are they trying to "trick"?

Of course Tower Bridge isn't hundreds of years old, that is obvious from simply looking at it. The suspension bridge design dates it as clearly no older than mid 1800s, in fact the bridge was a very modern design for it's day which just happened to have two classic looking towers as part of the design, to help it blend in with the surroundings. The Victorians loved classic design anyway, and many, many buildings were built with a "retro" look to them.

It is far from the oldest bridge over the Thames, the oldest being around 800 years old and the oldest in Greater London about 240 years old, but it isn't famous for its age, but its look. Those older bridges are much less spectacular, being simple stone bridges spanning the river. Tower Bridge is the icon it is because it is so much newer, that allows it to have the suspension towers and the lifting bridge, neither of which would have been possible at any significantly earlier date.

Of course it isn't a con, just because it is "only" 120 years old. Does a building have to be a certain age before it ceases to be a "con". Tower Bridge has never pretended to be older than it is, and nor does it try and look older than it is. It is a great example of late Victorian design and that is exactly what it looks like.

As for "nothing in this country is quite as it seems", are you serious? There are tens of thousands of buildings in this country, which date from several hundred years old to several thousand, which are exactly what they seem. Sure, there was a trend to build in an earlier style for some people (there still is today) but that doesn't make the building any less genuine for its period.

Yes, the Victorians did like to build follies, fake ruins in their grounds, but these are few when compared to the many genuine ancient ruins out there. If you truly believe that you live in a country where nothing is as it seems, I feel very sorry for you, you need to get out more and experience the real world out there. You are lucky to live in a country that is alive with genuine history and filled with truly old/ancient buildings to explore. Yet you choose to sit on your arse and moan about a state of the art Victorian piece of engineering, because it is "only 120 years old". :rolleyes:




  
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Jun 24, 2013 09:25 |  #25

Well, we'll have to disagree. It is a con, because - like the Palace of Westminster - it is dressed up in a Perpendicular Gothic cladding. The style was much loved by Victorians who loved its exuberance.

But it harks back to an architecture developed in the 12-14th centuries, revived, and plastered over all too many Victorian buildings. As an architectural style it is not authentic.

You might describe it as anachronistic; I call it fake.


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Jun 24, 2013 10:01 |  #26

There are pubs in England older than any structures in the US except for those used by native americans. One that sandpiper may be familiar with is the Scotch Piper Inn, the building dates to 1320.

There was a pub in Whitehall that advertised as being the oldest one in continuous operation in England. The advertising worked on me, I went in for a pint or two. Now I'm curious, is this sort of advertising similar to all the inns in the eastern US that advertise that George Washington slept there? Had he slept in all those inns he wouldn't have had time for anything else.


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Jun 24, 2013 10:41 |  #27

xhack wrote in post #16059930 (external link)
Well, we'll have to disagree. It is a con, because - like the Palace of Westminster - it is dressed up in a Perpendicular Gothic cladding. The style was much loved by Victorians who loved its exuberance.

But it harks back to an architecture developed in the 12-14th centuries, revived, and plastered over all too many Victorian buildings. As an architectural style it is not authentic.

You might describe it as anachronistic; I call it fake.

The reason the towers are like that is simply a legal one. In order to comply with the law of the day (equivalent to getting planning permission today) they HAD to build it so that it would blend in with the nearby Tower of London, built in the 11th century. That is why it harks back to 11th century design, it couldn't have been built any differently.

It is no different to trying to build a new house in a conservation zone, where you cannot just slap up a modern looking building, but have to build one that looks in keeping with its surroundings and other buildings in the area. Nobody is trying to con anyone, it is a product of its day and is not intended to deceive. As I say, it is not a "fake" because the whole structure (apart from the cladding on the towers) screams "late Victorian". For something to be "fake" it has to be designed to pass itself off as a genuine example of something, Tower Bridge does not in any way try and look like it was built in the 11th century, the ironwork of the suspension system, and the lifting bridge, screams "look at me, I'm state of the art late 19th century engineering".

That bridge was designed to look as modern as it could, whilst still complying with the legal planning requirements. The look is simply how history dictated it should look, when it was built, making it a genuine product of the ongoing history of London, true to its day. You keep emphasising that it is a "con". A con is an attempt to gain from deception, I see no deception, nobody ever claimed these buildings were older than they are, or expected to gain from such a claim. They look the way they do, because they are a product of the day they were built. I am sorry that history hasn't created the world as you wish it to be, it isn't clear cut and often people do like to look back at earlier design as an influence (not all modern buildings are glass and concrete carbuncles). If your tastes are so puritanical then limit yourself to enjoying the "true" old buildings of London, such as the White Tower or St. Pauls, although your earlier claim would suggest that these are not what they seem either.

History is an ongoing stream, things fall into it and become as much a part of that stream as any other.

You live in Edinburgh, you have a lovely castle dating back to the 12th century there. Not many buildings in it are actually that old though, most are 16th century or later, some much later. most of those newer ones were built to blend in with the earlier parts of the castle, does that make them "fake", or simply a product of the ongoing history of the castle over the centuries?




  
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Jun 24, 2013 11:26 |  #28

breal101 wrote in post #16060035 (external link)
There are pubs in England older than any structures in the US except for those used by native americans. One that sandpiper may be familiar with is the Scotch Piper Inn, the building dates to 1320.

There was a pub in Whitehall that advertised as being the oldest one in continuous operation in England. The advertising worked on me, I went in for a pint or two. Now I'm curious, is this sort of advertising similar to all the inns in the eastern US that advertise that George Washington slept there? Had he slept in all those inns he wouldn't have had time for anything else.

Yes, I know Lydiate and the Scotch Piper well, it's been a few years since I last drank in there, but I drive past it regularly. Up until late last year I lived in Southport, which is only 10 miles from Lydiate (I now live in North Wales, I must update my info) but I still visit Southport most weeks, to see friends, and drive through Lydiate en route, so still pass the Scotch Piper and "Lydiate Abbey" (actually a chapel) ruins.

Yes, the oldest pub is a cause for much dispute. There are at least 20 claiming to be the "oldest pub" in Britain. I don't know of the one in Whitehall (I'm not a fan of London, so rarely go there) but I see it has added a slight caveat as the oldest "in continuous operation".

One I have visited a few times, with friends, is "Ye olde trip to Jerusalem" in Nottingham, supposedly dating back to 1189, Richard I's coronation and the start of the third crusade to the Holy Land. How true that is I cannot say, certainly parts of the pub are very old, but the actual building at the front is only about 300 years old or so. However, the pub is largely excavated under "Castle Rock" behind it as a series of caverns, which form the rear drinking rooms as well as caves underneath the pub (now used as the cellar and storage) which documents date back to when the castle itself was built on top of the rock (late 11th century) and were originally used as a brewery. Presumably that would have been to serve the castle, but it is quite likely that a building would have been added to serve the townspeople. The original building (the one claimed for the late 12th century) having been replaced over the years, but with the caverns having always been a part of the pub, hence the 1189 claim.

Whatever, it is an amazing place to visit, as are most really old pubs (even the mere 300 year old building is very interesting) and any that claim to be the "oldest pub in Britain" should be worth a visit, even if you do need a large pinch of salt sometimes.




  
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Jun 24, 2013 12:45 |  #29

xhack wrote in post #16059609 (external link)
As you say, 'old' is relative - to me, Skara Brae (external link) is old, certainly compared to young pretenders like Stonehenge or the Pyramids.

'Historic' tourists traps in London are deceptive - the familiar facade of Buckingham Palace was created as recently as 1913, while Parliament - despite its Gothic appearance - was only completed in the 1860s. The chamber of the House of Commons is a real youngster - rebuilt and opened in 1950, after the old chamber was destroyed by German bombs in the Blitz.

Yep, old is relative. :)

Man, I am so dissapointed! :( I thought I was going to find traces of the Roman Empire. Wait, I just arrived at Bath, and I see Roman ruins!! Some of those go back to AD 43. Now, my dissapointment started to dissapear. Also, there is a Church dedicated to Mary (Jesus' mother) and Saint Mary Magdalen!! WOW! This is the first time after I read the Da Vinci Code that I see Mary Magdalen addressed as a saint. I better go for that Rioja!!


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Jun 24, 2013 13:04 |  #30

Pepe Guitarra wrote in post #16060474 (external link)
Man, I am so dissapointed! :( I thought I was going to find traces of the Roman Empire. Wait, I just arrived at Bath, and I see Roman ruins!! Some of those go back to AD 43. Now, my dissapointment started to dissapear. Also, there is a Church dedicated to Mary (Jesus' mother) and Saint Mary Magdalen!! WOW! This is the first time after I read the Da Vinci Code that I see Mary Magdalen addressed as a saint. I better go for that Rioja!!

I envy you, really ! When we last went to Europe, I still shot film, and it was pretty much ruined by the lab.

After a last couple trips to Mexican resorts, I am starting to think that all the nice Brits seem to stay close to home, only the out of control alcoholic ones make it to Cancun.

If you like the DaVinci Code, it could be fun to recreate shots of some of the historic views Brown described so well.


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