Saturday, January 22, 2005

Today in London

Ah yes...if it's Saturday, it must be London.

Despite my penchant for wandering at will, today I had a schedule. I joined the 10:30 tour of the Docklands ('Docklands - Manhattan on Thames') offered by London Walks. The walk lasted slightly more than two hours, during which the 15 people in the group learned about the history of the Docklands, from past as one of England's busiest ports, through the sudden and nearly immediate end to dock operations, on to its present role as one of the main business hubs in England.

Lunch was a smoked salmon sandwich, organic popcorn and a Diet Coke, all enjoyed sitting on the steps in Piccadilly Circus. Incidently, when you purchase prepared food as take-away, you aren't charged the 17.5% VAT (Value Added Tax). When you eat in, they are required to charge you the extra. So, it's cheaper to take-away and eat elsewhere.

After lunch, I took the Spies' & Spycatchers' London tour. Again, the walk lasted just over two hours. We were treated to stories of the Cambridge Ring, the five men who were spying for the Soviets and managed to penetrate the highest levels of both British and American post-WWII intelligence.

Dinner was at the same pizza place I visited on New Year's. Tonight, however, I tried the buffet. I enjoyed the sweet corn and onion pizza but I passed on the dish of pickled beets.

And now, I find myself once more in the internet cafe near Leicester Square.


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