We’ve been here for a month now, and I miss my family and my doggie, but I really miss MY WASHING MACHINE AND DRYER!!!
The machines over here are combination washer and dryer and handle about 1/3 to 1/2 of a typical load at home. It takes over FOUR HOURS to do one teeny-tiny load. That means it takes 8 to 12 hours to do a regular American-sized load here, whereas at home it would take me a little over an hour!
One thing that’s especially interesting about London is the wide variety of cultures encountered here.
There are two Catholic churches very close to our apartment: St. Etheldreda’s, which I’ve written about before, and St. Peter’s Italian Church, which is just a little bit closer. On Sunday, Michael and I went to a mass at St. Peter’s.
St. Peter’s was founded in 1863 to serve the Italian immigrants in London. Even today, St. Peter’s attracts many Italians. The well-attended mass was celebrated almost entirely in Italian. Both Michael and I enjoy listening to Italian being spoken. It’s so musical!
The interior of the church is decorated with Italian marble,
and in the rear corner, a Neapolitan crèche is displayed.
The Nativity is set within ruins, which according to information about this display, became a popular setting for Nativity scenes after the ruins of Pompeii were discovered in 1749.
Around the church are some Italian eateries, as well as an Italian food store. Although the neighborhood is smaller than it once was, this part of London is considered “Little Italy.”
On the other side of our apartment building is the jewelry district, where the streets are lined with diamond and gold traders and fancy jewelry stores, and Leather Lane, an outdoor market where all sorts of items are for sale. These markets attract Londoners from all walks of life.
Yesterday, we moved into another apartment – at least for 6 months. After that, who knows? The area where we are living consisted of slums during Victorian times and was featured in some of Dickens’ novels. Here are a couple of pics:
Looking the opposite way:
Finally, a look through the apartment from the dining area:
The apartment is on the 6th floor (for Americans, that means the 7th floor) and has 3 outdoor terraces. I’m not anticipating a lot of nice outdoors weather, but hopefully we’ll have a few nice days to enjoy the terraces. We have some bits of views to the London Eye and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Only one problem…. I’m having trouble connecting to the internet. Hopefully it will all be straightened out this week. Thank heavens for Starbucks!
Yesterday afternoon, I took a tour given by one of the official guides to the City of London. Various tours are given each day providing a great introduction to the city. The tour I went on was called City Highlights. Although it introduced me to some of the grand buildings of the city, we also visited some interesting, small sites.
One of these unusual places was Postman’s Park, a beautiful, quiet park tucked between the large buildings and busy streets of downtown London. In this park is a unique monument to “heroic self sacrifice.” In 1887, George Frederick Watts, an artist who believed in art as a vehicle for social change, proposed a monument to honor heroes in everyday life. By 1900, his vision led to the unveiling of this memorial, which consists of plaques honoring individuals who lost their lives trying to save others. There are more than 50 plaques in this memorial, with the most recent one being added in 2009.
Another interesting stop on the tour was down a small and narrow alleyway. The tour guide wanted to show us how the practice of building structures so close to one another led to the rapid spread of the Great Fire of 1666, when buildings were constructed of wood and wattle. This little alleyway shows how many of the streets of old London would have looked.
To the left of this photo is a chop house called the George and Vulture. An inn has been associated with this site since the 1200s. This particular chop house was frequented by Charles Dickens and is mentioned several times in his book, The Pickwick Papers.
In other news, I looked at an apartment yesterday. We decided to put in an offer, so keep your fingers crossed! This apartment is located on the street where Fagin had his hideout in Oliver Twist. Wouldn’t that be appropriate?
What is a roundabout? In American-speak, it is a traffic circle, but over here they travel clockwise rather than counter-clockwise like we do. Here’s a great clip of Chevy Chase in European Vacation trying to go around a London roundabout (you may have to go to youtube to get the clip to work):
I don’t plan to do any driving over here. Michael’s a pro at driving on the left, and I’ll just stick with navigating.