To see additional pictures of England, click here.

Enjoy the poetry, vignettes, and recommendations regarding England,
primarily the London area.

Comments from Bob - Jolly Old England

We headed to England as a celebratory trip of Craig's college graduation. Having been there twice before, I realized during this trip that Jolly Old England is not the same anymore. We spent seven days in this fascinating city. Our domicile was the Apollo Hotel, a small budget hotel near Kensington Park. Please understand that due to the weak dollar "budget" is in name only.

Two streets parallel to us was Queensway, host to a multitude of restaurants, mostly Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Indian, Middle Eastern, and a pub or two. We found even broader ethnic variety to be true throughout the city. The diversity factor has drastically changed the London dining scene for the better. No longer can one call English restaurant fare boring. The cuisine matches any in the world. We sampled a variety of restaurants. In the suggestion section you can read about three outstanding choices.

People watching throughout London was especially enjoyable as you strolled busy streets, day or night. What one may have once envisioned as the traditional Englishman has been replaced by a diverse potpourri of skin tones, languages, and dress. Statistically, the majority of Londoners come from a diverse heritage. As we walked the ancient streets and explored the historical buildings, we were caught up in the vibrancy of this sophisticated, cosmopolitan city.

Meandering through the parks, especially on the clear hot weekend days that blessed us while there, provided eye popping venues. The poem Tourist Sights Not Discussed in Fodor's that appears below offers a tongue-in-cheek description. It also could have been entitled Skin, Skin, Skin.

What I enjoyed most about London was not the food, the history, pomp and circumstance, or the buildings, but the population's zest for life. People laughing! Talking to one another! Socializing! Having fun! And the parks – those wonderful expanses of human friendly nature where you can do nothing and feel no guilt – were marvelous. In fact, Jolly "New" England is wonderful!


Clock face
Big Ben

Tourist Sights
Not Discussed in Fodors

Skin, skin everywhere
Coming in all shades
And very much bare.

Legs and tummies
And much more exposed
With so little cloth
Were they discounted clothes?

On many occasions
There were sights to behold
But alas on others –
Just too many folds.

Thus, when asked about the
London sights I saw,
My mind flashes back
To a state of awe.

Comments: A bit of humor regarding the dress styles observed during my recent visit to London. First, I must emphasize that though the poem is referencing female attire, many a young man was seen shirtless, especially in the parks. Secondly, while much skin was evident, especially among the younger crowd, there definitely was a stylist joie de vivre. Many were wearing the latest European fashions. Finally, I was not complaining.


Monoliths from before written time,
silently stand,
silhouetted against the sky.
These pillars of stone
are ghosts-like witnesses from the past,
their essence unknown.

By the thousands
people of every persuasion
visit this lonely, isolated parcel of earth.
Despite the crowds,
a hushed reverence prevails.
They walk the circle and stare,
awe upon their faces,
somehow connected to distant past.

Comments: A visit to this mystical, historic sight is bound to tweak your curiosity, leaving you with a sense of mystery. While archeologists surmise how these monoliths came to this isolated location, it is only a hypothesis.

A stroll through Kensington Park
Enjoying the sun (also Kensington Park)
Distant view
Look carefully, man with cell phone


World Cup Mania

If you live in Ohio, you are aware of Buckeye Fever that infects many every fall. The Buckeyes are the Ohio State University football team that generates mania and passion among devout fans. This mania builds into a crescendo with the culmination of the Michigan – OSU football match in mid November. The future of Ohio State's coaches rests on how well the team does against this long rivaled nemesis, the University of Michigan.

Nationally, there is the Super Bowl, which also generates excitement among pro football fans. On the day of the big game numerous parties and celebrations are held in homes and restaurants. Companies pay top dollar to advertise during that game. Over the years, there has developed an almost cult like media hype regarding which company will generate the most innovative ad.

But, my fellow citizens, the U.S. has nothing like the World Cup where national soccer teams (football to most of the world) compete against each other every four years. I happened to be in England during the time that the home team was in the quarter finals against Portugal. During that game the nation's eyes were glued to the tele. Please understand, I am not a soccer fan. But, I became caught up in the mania. There I was glued to the screen cheering my heart out for dear old England. Listening to the totally biased announcers with British reserve discussing the play by play added to the experience, especially when they couldn't control their own excitement. When England went down to defeat in penalty rounds, my heart bled Union Jacks. Following the loss, announcers and newspapers dissected each moment explaining how the loss should have become a victory. Like when O.S.U. loses to Michigan, the English coach took his share of the beating.

When I step back and rationally look at the whole experience, I ask how in the scheme of life can a mere soccer game be so important. After all, it is only a game. Wars are raging; hunger is rampant; and people are dying tragically. In those terms, the results of a football match pales in comparison. Yet, if you were there and became caught up in the frenzy, watching a nation cheering for its team, building cohesiveness from diversity, then you began to understand its importance. Besides, it was fun!

London Eye in the background

Roman bath in Bath, England

Countryside near Bath


1) If you have the time and the money, though not cheap, visit England. There are so many sights to see and experiences to enjoy. I will touch on just a few. I will not mention the obvious historical sights to visit such as Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.

Fly Virgin-Atlantic Airlines. Though the seats are compact in economy, the service is the most friendly and efficient I have experienced in recent years. The flight crews actually seem to enjoy their work. The food is very palatable. With all the entertainment options, the 7 hour trip passes quickly.

Tour London via the Big Bus Company. You have on and off all day privileges along with a narration. Great way to obtain an overview of the city. Link: Cost: Approximately $36 for an adult.

Purchase an all day pass on the bus/underground transport system. Great value at $8.75. A single ticket alone would cost you $5.85.

In the heart of London near Westminster Bridge, ride British Airways London Eye Millennium Wheel, the world's largest ferris wheel, that offers magnificent vistas of the city. One revolution takes approximately 30 minutes. You are enclosed, completely safe. Cost: $20.76 (There are also student and senior discounts).

Visit one of the many expansive parks. We spent a lot of time in Kensington Park. Lady Diane's former residence, Kensington Palace, is located at one end of the park. Remember, follow the English lead and simply "chill" while there. Right off the park is embassy row, a great place for a stroll. On Sunday, along Bayswater Road, which marks one end of the park's boundary, is a fabulous art display by area artists. Prices are very reasonable for the high quality offered.

Enjoy the cultural diversity evident through out the Kensington area. That includes experimenting by eating in a variety of ethnic restaurants. A short walk from there to Notting Hill (of movie fame) is worth it.

Of course, I have several restaurants to suggest.

For some of the best gourmet Chinese you will ever eat, dine at the Royal China located on Queensway (0871 4260550). Everything is served with elegance and style. Service: 10/10 Food: 9/10 (based upon two visits). Decor: 10/10 Cost: Moderate to Expensive.

Pret restaurants are located throughout the city. We loved our lunches there. "Pret sells up market fast food, hand made from natural ingredients, to take away or eat on site, in its trademark no nonsense chrome interiors. The menu includes imaginatively filled sandwiches, sushi, salads, soups, desserts and a wide range of hot and cold beverages. A reliable quick, inexpensive lunch option." – from the guide.

The Med Kitchen (020 7727 8142) at 127 Kensington Church Street is a fun place to savor food with a Mediterranean heritage. Service: 8/10 Food: 8.5/10 Decor: 7/10 (pleasant and comfortable) Cost: Moderate to Expensive.

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