Of all the cities I have been to through my travels, all the corners of the world I have been to, I have never been to London. Bit of a shame for someone calling himself Journeyman. The city of cities. The hub to the world. A crossroad that leads to the unkown. London is a city yet to be discovered.
Even though like any other major city, it can drive even the most patient man insane. At least parts of it.
London does have something for everyone. And it’s hard to choose if you are on a limited time.
What does a man do for experience in London whos been through it all? Worry about wether you’re gonna have your spliffs to yourself without being hazzled? A Tube System that would drive even the most punctual buearucrat insane and wind up like a zombie?
Not much! Expecpt for these trivial worries when going to London and have an ounce of experience like myself!
Instead of going to known places like Amsterdam or back to Ireland and Dublin this time, I went to London for a week. To improve my history skills, and get some basics into my CV.
Some basics I have lacked for a long time. I was in Brazil before I ever went to USA.
I was in India before I went to Amsterdam.
I went to Ayers Rock before I went to the Vatican.
You see where I’m going at?
I’ve seen everywhere else but my own “back yard”.
Anyone whos ever been to London have basically done the tourist thing at first. And done it right! If they know what they are doing, and spend an extra 5 minutes online to find what you really want to do, and how to get your money worth.
That if you’re travelling on a budget.
I spent 600 pounds on the whole trip!
Including passage, transport, acommodation, food, fun and drugs!
Any official sources whom I might refer to, should take this as Gonzo style writing, and take it for what it is.
It’s all in the tone of my previous artivcles.
What is London?
Historically it was a stoping point about 1900 years ago when the Romans decided to hault by Thames, build a bridge ansd settle down for a while to do some fly fishing in between the hunt on the Celts.
Oh, yes! England was once a Celtic country! Just as Celtic as IRA, and the Scots!
Until sivilication caught up with them in the sguise of Romans.
I wonder what the Romans would have thought about the real North, and the future Vikings whom were still living in caves, and howling at the moon.
They couldn’t even handle the Scots!
Coming to London is a hell of a lot more confusing today as it was 200 years ago.
Victoria Street Station is bigger than many airports I have been to throughout the years.
And once on the street, you’re lost.
As a backpacker whos ordered some essentials, you better know to find the Tourist Information first. Get your London Pass, your Travel Card, and directions for the right busstop that will bring you to your accommodation. Thereæs money to be saved on this.
In my case, I booked a cheap, yet very picturesque place called Palmers Lodge north of Regents Park. It’s out of the way in a quiet area of London. Cheap, and always busy. A bit cramped, but stil highly hospitable. Recommended for any youngster with asporations of becomming a journeyman.
It looks like one of those mantions that you watch in ghost movies.
And it was not as bad as I expected when it came to the surroubndings either.
Lots of youngsters there. As an old journeyman, i thought this would make me feel young again. I am afraid Lafayette, this trip made me feel old! I have moles older than some of the kids that set up camp at Palemrs Lodge. Maybe it was because there was school classes from Germany invading it while I stayed there.
London is a lot harder than what one like to think. As a true explorer, I wanted to get as much with me for my London Pass as possible. But nothing can truly prepare you enough for what you might meet once you’re out of the steaming jungle called The London Tube!
That alone could be source for many a strange stories. Stories that involves zombies, undead, and a labyrinth that could make the squemish shit hmself once he sees an entrance to one of them.
Going to London needs a different kind of planning than Dublin, or Rome, or Amsterdam or New York or almost anywhere I have been.
After a good nights sleep at Palmers Logde, and a filling breakfast (refills allowed), I tried to get some sense of the city without wasting too much time. Go to the nearest station, swipe your card, and you’re on your way to anywhere you want!
I went off at Waterloo Station, thinking that London Bridge was just around the corner. After 10 minutes walking in the heat, I started to regret I brought with me my laptop. Though it was almost like the old days when I travelled around Europe for two months with plenty of cash on my card, and not a worry in this world. The difference: I was on a time limit!
If you have an ounce of direction and do a little researh ahead, you can do four or maybe even five attractions a day.
And you’ll have to prioritize if you have limited time. And limited bugdet.
London Bridge Experience is one attraction that cost a lot of money. Hold your London pass ready, and start calculating on how much you will save.
Under the Brigde itself, there’s a sort of a dungeon with special treats for ignorant visitors who do not know about the History of London. Live actors, dramtizations and some ghouly experiences at the end not for the faint hearted. If you ever had nightmares about zombies attacking you from behind, well, your nightmares wil come true on this one. And you’ll love the sound of a chainsaw in the hands of a madman just escaped from the asylum or the grave sneaking up on you.
The whole concept was not about the Haunted England, but some clips from a splatter movie that even 14 year olds would yawn at. Or would they? I saw one pubertile brat dissappear in the arms somewhere ion the tunnel a head of me. And the mother outside asked the satff where the brat might have run off to!
For any litterature freak like myself, Shakespeares Globe is a must. 15 years ago, a girlfriend of mine went to London, and I asked her if she could buy me Hamlet just for my love for soliloquies, and she did. Going to the newly rebuilt Globe, made me wonder: Getting up on stage reading your own shit, you know you’ve made it!
You’re not just a Journeyman anymore! You’re an acclaimed Writer! Or at least you can live with that illusion.
I wonder how it would sound with my “When Love is gone and Reality checks in” poem would sound like and recieved with royalty in the audience…
If you get up early, and know exactly where to go, and where to get off, you would be able to catch both Tower Bridge and London Tower for last.
I did not. Why? I went to HMS Belfast instead! As a Marine soldier who knows how to shoot, and with my tour of duty being on a war ship, and with this name; this was compulsory. They made the whole ship into a museum! As I walked through the hallways, up to the brigde, to the fire stations, some memory flashbacks came back to me. Back to a muc more resent war I had no choice in participating in.
The time HMS Belfast was in active duty, practically winning the whole WW2 singlehandidly, and these were glorious times, people ion power seem to have a yearning to copy those times. But they cannot! No politician today can ever measure up to the guts of Winston Churchill! He’s become my new idol! He had respect for the troops! Todays power mongers do not! I wonder if he’d like this lttle rant and travel diary.
I will rant more about this later.
Living on board a ship during war time is not the ideal! Well! At least it’s better than being Rambo, or being stuck in a fox hole!
Tower Brigde is for people who have a thing for brigdes, and the history of bridges., I went there, swiped my London Pass, and got an interesting input on the History of Bridges.
London Bridge in 1665 would be a hell of a lot more impressing than any other bridge today, or the new highway that it is today. Tower Brdige?
Well, only for special interests. And of people like me: “I’ve been there!”
When travelling with certain cards, you can do good.
History freaks will have a field day as long as they can endure the insanity of the London Public Transportation system.
Going tourist in England, the whole country might seem like one giant theme park for adults. Something for every taste. And History seem to be my weakness. Specially historical places that might be haunted.
Hampton Court is one of those places.
It cost 10 quid to get out there on a single ticket. Nothing with a Travelling Card. Good job!
Once out there, it’s 5 minutes walk, and you’ll see a castle with more history than your mothers underpants, and Henry the 8ths stories of infidelity.
If you’re as horny as that old dead git, taking as many women as possible is a natural thing! And the Catholic Church can go stuff themselves!
I loved the ancient halls, the stories being told by proffessional actors talking to you in your headset, wandering around in History.
Ghosts or no ghosts, who cares?
The whole castle is a remnant of old times when people still had a soul and no nukes to threaten others about it.
After the tour around the castle, wishing I was oe of the Knights that sat at the Kings Table, challeninging him to a wrestling match, or a sword duell, I went out in the garden. Searhing for a place under a tree I could sit under, rolling a spliff and feel the impressions with a strong sense.
No such luck.
Instead I hasted back into London to try to catch London Tower.
The place where the Scottish heros John Balliol and Willam Wallace rotted away before they were killed by an insane and power hungry king called Edward Longshanks!
Anyone calling their kid Edward is just begging me to mock them for the rest of thier lives.
Getting there is an expedition in itself. At least from where I came. London Tube was starting to get on my nerves. Without my card, I would have gone insane and become a human bomb in the middle of it all.
It seems, looking back on it now, that I was rushing through things. Getting my moneys worth in a limited time.
Ah, to hell with it!
I was on vacation for a week, was sober most of the time, and smoked dope only before bedtime which was earlier than midnight!
My mode was different, and I had things to do! Like going to a poetry night and spew out my guts into the laps of innocent audience and people who dared to call themselves “writers”…
Thining that I have come in the midst of the cream of Engklish poets, I bored myself through some old peoples poetry about the most trivial of things. These people should rather write their life history for the family only to read. Getting out with their the pot and farmer writing is nothing short of an insult to true writers.
Writers who’s going throught hell and back to write about it afterwards! I was far from the sworst performer there.
The best one in my eyes was a black woman with the biggest Afro since Angela Davies, and a poem about being black with a white tongue!
I wondered how I could top that with my Belfast Poetry.
Another one eas also mesmeraising. Her girlfriend! A poem about Jimi Hendrix that made me horny straight off!
“Remember!” You used to be a professional in Belfast!” I thought to myself.
And then the fun started.
I got the unique chance to piss on Charles Bukowskis grave, do some gutter poetry, and prove that I belong in the poetry scene! An ounce of nerves, but a true faith in my words, I splatted out the smear, the loss, the empriness that filled me from my last Belfast experience! My old town! My dirty old town! And now, the bastards are going at each other again! I hoope they all kill each other since they did not want to listen to me!
Coming to London and do poetry was almost like going back there. Memory flashbacks, and Hampton was forgotten.
Tower was a mere memory. It was me, my poetry, an unkown audience, and poetry about something of guts.
I will recommend anyone foing to ondon to go to a poetry nifht after been to Sheakespears Globe. If I’m there: It’ a pluss for you!
The thrid day, I was getting worn. I needed some inspirational speeches after last nights blow out. So, where better to go than to Westminster and follow some politics and history? No! I’m not talking about the chickenhawks in Parliaments throwing feathers at each other, but some real speeches! From Winston Churchill! I do not care one bloody shit if people label him as a conservative! He was a man of honor and guts!
I went to Winstons War Rooms!
And endless speeches and quotes from the Whiskey mongerer who loved to shoot at Moslems and Africans and Boers while writing poetry and paint paintings in his spear time, while preparing for another insane artist wannabe in Germany…
I had to ask at least two coppers to find the way to this bunker. I must give them kudos for being polite. but they seem to be dumber than a pile of dung at times.
They don’t even turn you over and search you for illegal substances, or something rather.
My new hero is Winston Churchuill! Because he had respect for sacrifice!
I went out after witnessing two great artists fighting each other! Well, one mediocre that went mad on amphetamines, and one genious who spent half his spare time in a bottle.
One good advice for you kids: Never vote for an Artist with a chip on his shoulder!
Hewill sacrifice you and your family for some agenda known only by a few…
Normal politicians are worse however. Just look at Gordon Brown!
A rver Cruise is always relaxing after this kind of emotional meeting.
It comes free with this London Card.
Take a hsitorival view of London while old sea farers are playing comedians telling you about all the “fun facts” of builidings that will be forgotten five minutes after.
What is it in greenwich anyway?
A musical museum?
It’s seafareres museums and some history about the English colonization of the world.
This was a dissappointing experience. They show pictures of viking ships and some over gloated kings vessels?
Whenever I have a date in my country, I can show her real viking ship! And I can show her gow Roald Amundsen beat this arrogant Brit how to survive Antarctica!
The only thing that the English can brag about is enslaving a whole planet!
The small town looked like it lived its own life. Not caring, yet making a living off turists like me.
And it was all free.
By the time I got back tom my dear old Palmers Lodge, I was too knackered to go out and find the next poetry venue I knew was happening. Instead, I enjoyed a few drinks, listening to others talk of their travels, going down memory lane while enjoying the big beutiful trees by the entrance while smoking my medicine.
London was getting to me. My feet and legs felt like they’ve gone through a walk about.
Windsor Castle is a place that fits into any medival story.
A small Hobbit town with a gigantigc castle on top of the hill, and the upper parts of Thames running past it.
It’ like walking through holy grounds. And all I wanted was to have a cigarette while studying the paintings, the armoury and the banquet room. Most of all, I wished that the Banquet Hall had a long table and a chair and an ash tray.
How is it possible to make legends of the most trivial doings of the royals?
Most English royals haven’t done squat the past 200 years! Instead, the People seem to live their lives through them!
And the history of of kings that haven’t been in front of their army since Eric Blood Axe!
Yet they are being endorsed with such honor.
Granny Queen is the best just because she’s such a lovelly granny!
I wonder how the Queen and her mother thinsks of their youngest ones.
Neither one of them could ever measure up to be Churchill.
Yet, in al this grandeure, Tere is a tragedy behind it. And I am sad. Ghosts of the past is still haunting the walls inside this as the other castles I visited.
Wishing I was not alone anymore. Wishing that the magic of old would come back and give me something I once had.
Windsor is the first place Jimi Hendrix ever played in Europe. He’s dead. Most of Windsor Castles inhabitants are dead, and what is left is the nature and the small town surrounding it, and tourists whim are there for complete different reasons.
The next time I’m going on the French Brother’s Cruise, I will not go alone! And I’ll take a longer crise than what I did this time…
I went back to London after this. And an excelllent meal at a small sea food restaurant whom served me some King prawns and some Scottish salmon. It’s the most expencive meal I had in England so far. But it was good.
This small restaurant in the middle of Windsor reminded me of why I love seafood.
For any first time traveller with family, I can sugest London Zoo.
Not that it’s the true outback as in real life, it will give a small insite of how lazy snakes and big cats really are. There are three important things in life for these animals: Eat, screw and sleep!
My kind of people!
Whatever you do, do not buy any of the food that they are serving there. It’s dear, and poor!
It will be a fun day for families whom have dragged their snotty brats through one castle after another. But if these whiny brats are getting hungry, go eat somewhere else!
Go down to Camden!
I never went to Camden myslef except for the poetry night, and not for eat. When I am on Walk about, I eat wheneever and where ever I can.
Food is something for couples in London. And my ex. wouldn’t be dragged to London despite what she once said that she would follow me where ever I weent.
London is truly an insane place. But not as insane as Belfast. Take a City Bus tour, and you’ll see Wllingotnon1
Go to Belfast, and take the same bus tour in July, and you’l see live burning police cars!
I sometimemes wonder if Londoners have souls. I watch them every day in the Tube, or on the bus, and they all have this empty stare out into thin air.
They are impecibly rule bound, saying “sir” to customers while they are really telling you to fuck off on a whim.
I wonder if there’s any soul left in London or of the soul of London got sold out to tourists who wants to lick the footsteps of Henry the 8th.
I wonder if Londoners are aware that they are being recorded 20 times a day just by walking in and out of a Tube station.
I went to Southwark not far from Brixton one night. Looking for another poetry venue.
But the place was closed down, and I was tired and pisse and needed a bloody drink.
I blended in like any other freak would blend in a freak place! And they served me freaky drinks while I chatted with freaky students, and got as much as 45 minutes to myslef al fresco as I drank the freaky drinks and smoked my freaky smokes, and wrote a letter back home to gandma.
Kensington Castle is a freaky place.
They have set it up as a ghost castle with actors wandering around looking for the 7 lost princesses. A gurad gave me some of it’s story when I asked him if this castle was haunted.
With movie effects, it is very convincing. there is a portrait of Queen Victorias nanny that will stare you down where ever you find yourself in the room. And she haunts Kensingtion at will.
Ghostly figures never do you harm. I prefer ghostly figures in the middle of the night than bullets flying around my ears.
What about you?
There’s nothing like coming to a new place! There’s nothing like leaving it! I was onging for my bed in Dorset, and I was tired of the spiritless souls of London.
Yet, there was a bit more.
Benjamin Franklin house! For any American History scholar, this is a must!
America freaks will be astonished on how liberal Benjamin Franklinonce was. If he lived today, he’d be a bleeding heart socialist!
Almost 20 years, he spent at a house with a lovelly young hostess just a few beer bottle throws away from Tarfalgar Square. He would have loved the gay parade that was going on the day I searched for his former home.
There is no house in America that can house his ghost. There is one in England!
And his ghost and the hostess’ ghost is still telling theb story of a revloution and the small things, and tea, and endless philosophical discussions on a daily basis!
The crowds were tiring me. Yet one more stop to go. National Gallery. With the most impressive collection of art I have ever seen. Kim, my ex. would drool over these collections. As I wandered through the halls, I cought myself thinking of her, and how it would be like if we could have been there together.
It was a journey back in time, from the earliest church art with the simpliest of images, to the most impressive art works from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. My centuries!
I came back to Palmers Lodge in good time to catch a coach back to Bournemouth. Yet something went wrong with my bookings, and the kreeps at the ticket office had me pay extra for a new ticket, and another two hours to wait.
Two hours to wait, a thirst of a postman, and enough hashish to last me through Saturday and help me fall alseep.
As I couldn’t afford to drink at any pub, I went and bought a 6 pack, and found a corner outside the coach station to drink. Like any other hobo, I sat with my luggage, and hid my plastic bag, and my beer inside my jacket. Plenty of coppers wandering around. And as sure as hell, some little female copper stopped where I squated down. trying to act civil.
“I’m sorry, but it’s against the law to drink on a public place” she informed me. She took my details.
“Are you going to arrest me officer?”
“No. But I just have to make sure that there’s no warranty on you!”.
Moi! The most law abiding pot smoker this side of the Ganja tree, I thought.
She told me to drink up, and hide my can so I wouldn’t get into trouble with another less understanding uniform. I took her advice, drank up, and opened another can as soon as she was gone. Keeping my eyes open, observing the uniforms patrol the streets. Getting tipsy and tired. The journey was not yet over. And I missed my little Hobbitun in Dorset where peace and quiet was the norm…