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Krispy Kreme, Trafalgar Square and lunch…

On August 24, 2009

Next morning we were greeted by pouring sheets of rain as we made our way to the Seven Oaks train station for our trip into London. Despite the fact that we had to buy umbrellas and find correct change for parking, we still made our train, thanks largely to a knowledgeable ticket clerk. Later on I was going to make a trip to Oxford and had purchased my ticket online several weeks earlier. This morning, however, we bought our tickets in person and were surprised at not only how cheap they were but by the fact that they gave us access to most rail/tube/bus transportation throughout London for the rest of the day. Equally impressive was the man operating the coffee kiosk on the station’s main platform. With only minutes before our train was set to leave, he worked his way through a line of customers and presented us with a steaming latte and a delicious green tea for about a pound each.

In a little over half an hour the train pulled into Charing Cross station, such a London sounding name, like Waterloo Bridge bringing to mind grainy black and white movies, so I was more than a little surprised to step outside the station to find…

kr kreme

a Krispy Kreme store. For years my last stop before teaching Sunday School in Tennessee was the Krispy Kreme store across the street from the church. On Sunday mornings it can be a 20 minute wait to scoop up a box or two of fat ladened, sugar covered fresh from the oven Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Children stand with their noses pressed to the glass watching the hot confections roll out of the ovens and through the sugaring line; not quite my first expected site in London.

A more traditional British landmark waited only a few yards away. Not far from Charing Cross, Admiral Horatio Nelson watches over traffic from his perch 171 feet in the air. The Admiral himself adds another 1 feet to the appropriately named Nelson Column which stands in Trafalgar Square.

traf sq plus nelson

With only a day to spend in London and three sites on our personal must see list we had to keep moving. We made a quick walk by Chandos the popular corner pub across from Trafalgar Square

chnados corner

as we headed off for St. Martin in the Fields,

st martins n the fields

It is measure of the London’s rich heritage of historic churches, homes and royal buildings that on such a short visit we felt we had time only for a short self-directed tour of the nearly 300 year old chapel of this church which dates back to the thirteenth century.

st martins int

Ravenous (having had only station kiosk coffee and tea for breakfast) we headed toward our first true destination – the museum housed in Sir John Soan’s home – and began looking for the first pub of the day; fortunately, we quickly discovered one and walked in just as it was beginning service for the day.

ship tavern

There’s not a pub in the whole of England that doesn’t claim to have been the “local” of a famous literary character or a royal’s favorite destination when tired of the castle and none of them are less than a couple of centuries old (although many will allow that perhaps they don’t reside in the original building). Such, however, is the spell of London that surrounded by a crowd of folks in business dress grabbing a pint and a quick lunch you still believe a pub might well have hidden Catholic priests from Henry the VIII as The Ship Tavernclaims.

And so we sat, enjoying our own crab cakes and pints before returning to the damp streets in search of Sir John Soan’s Museum.

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