It is a fabulous day. The first day which I would describe as Spring, weather wise . I am booked into the Kensington hotel in Queen’s Gate . It is 5 minutes from the Imperial College,the venue for my conference on Epilepsy. More importantly it is 10 minutes to Harrods. Today is Tuesday after the Easter break and the city is in gridlock. I walk through Hyde Park via Knightsbridge now a rather forlorn shopping precinct with many vacant buildings. As I meander I have a constant feeling that I am trudging on a giant Monopoly board! Prices here are exorbitant so it’s case of “do not pass go, do not collect 2000 pounds.”
At 8am traffic is at a standstill which intensifies the allusion of speed and number of cyclists who weave helmet-less across red lights and between red London double decker buses. Despite the hype I did not at any time have the sense that London is cycle friendly. Moreover there are hundreds of thousands of people which provokes a constant degree of anxiety in me. There are obviously groups of school students not only from the UK but I surmise from the continent. The South Bank called the ‘Queen’s Walk’ is seathing with people of all ages. They are especially plentiful around a giant ferris wheel that takes almost an hour to travel one revolution. The queues to ride on this eye sore on the banks of the Thames snaked for miles. I undertand it is called the “Millenium Wheel”. The name is derived from the 1000 minutes that the rider must wait from time of ticket purchase to time of entering the cabin. So as the time for one turn of the ‘screw’ is about 50 minutes, that equates to waiting in a queue for 20 times the duration of the ride itself.
A smiling and ernest group of obviously British adults attempted to offer me a free pamphlet with the title : “What is wrong with a liitle discipline?” Quite I muttered to myself, noting that they unintentionally or possible even intentionally, were assembled outside London’s Number 1 tourist drawcard: the “London Tower Dungeon and Torture Chamber”. Special School Holiday Family Ticket 50 quid! ( 2 adults and 2 children). I eventually decided that the take home message was that if Jesus coped with a little discipline, then it must ipso facto, be quite acceptable indeed mandated, for mere mortals.
I walked some distance today and with my newly discovered iPhone app, here is proof positive. In summary almost 29 km! The other confession is that I did not take that many photographs as one has seen postcards of all the cathedrals, monuments and ancient relics that I walked to and around, without me needing to take a picture. However the one museum that I did decide to pay good money to visit was the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. These were the underground bunkers near the Palace and 10 Downing street. Fascinating recreation of the bunker as it was in 1940.