This is our seventh day in London. It’s an exciting place, especially compared to California. People are extremely kind, often offering help with directions. When we came up out of the tube (subway) on the way to the hotel, we got to a long flight of stairs, and when I started struggling to wheel my (50 lbs or so) bag up the stairs, a guy rushed up, picked it up and walked with me to the top. Dude!
A lot of the time I feel bewildered, a somewhat-country boy in fast-moving urbanism. But there are moments of sheer thrill, the excitement of things different. The first day here, I went to the basement bookstore of the Architectural Association (a trendy school of architecture) on Bedford Square, and found a wonderful selection of books. I discovered the German publisher Burkehäuser, which has a list of maybe 100 books in English. I’m going to buy three of them: Building with Earth, by Gernot Minke; Sustainable Design by Control and Review; and Building Integrated Photovoltaics.
We’ve got one week “Oyster” passes, which allow free usage of the tube and buses and they work great. Otherwise, the tube is about seven dollars a pop. Cabs are ultra-expensive. In fact this is the priciest place I’ve ever been, but you get a lot for yr. money. Food ranges from pretty good to great. Buildings, at least in this part of town, are mostly immaculate. The masonry has been cleaned of city soot, I would guess power-washed, so you see lots of magnificent design and craftsmanship.
By coincidence, our son Will and his bride Aine are here on their honeymoon, and were meeting them this afternoon to take a trip on the Thames and then walk down the south side of the river to London Bridge, to Tate Modern, Saint Paul’s, walk on the Millennium Bridge. Tomorrow the four of us will explore the city, and the next day Lesley and I are flying Ryanair to Cork, Ireland, where will pick up a small Volkswagen rental car and explore the West Coast of Ireland.