August 2–7, 2023


So after a very pleasant two-hour non-stop train ride, I arrived at King’s Cross Station. The name comes from a king’s statue that once stood at a major crossroads. The station opened in 1850. I won't go into the complex history of the development of passenger rail service in London, but just say that it altered the character of the city probably as much as anything else. The central city is ringed by stations for the major lines that come into town. The Metropolitan and other Underground lines were built in large part to connect these stations to the central city and to each other. St. Pancras Station is just across the side street. It is the terminus for the Eurostar Service to the Continent. St. Pancras was a boy martyr in Rome (not the patron saint of Type 1 diabetics). The distinctive Victorian Gothic design contrasts with King’s Cross. The stations share an underground station, and there is a maze of tunnels between the stations that leads to several Underground lines, so it is a very handy area in which to stay. So I booked a hotel room just two long blocks south for my five remaining nights in England. Perhaps you can see the complex of fences that control crossing the busy Euston Road. Fortunately, there are entrances to the Underground from the south side of the street.

The hotel room I was able to book was small and quite spartan. Appropriately, the price was quite reasonable, especially for such a good location. There was no elevator, but fortunately my room was on the ground floor. The front desk was manned, and the outside door was locked most of the time. There was daily maid service. I couldn't get the small TV to work, but I hadn’t really planned to watch, so I didn't care. There was no food served. Restaurants were all around the stations, including MacDonald’s and Burger King. An Italian place on Euston Road had a good, reasonable breakfast, so that was a handy stop on my way to the Underground.

So I found myself in London for five nights with no real agenda. It was like the afterthought for my trip, just killing some time after doing all I had come for and before my flight home. It did eventually hit me that five nights in London would be a major vacation for almost anybody.

I decided that the main thing I did not want to miss was going back to Greenwich. I had visited it around 30 years ago and found it interesting. So Greenwich was my first day’s destination. Since my first visit the Canary Wharf has been developed on the site of the old West India Docks as the main central business district of the UK alongside the City of London. It is served by the Docklands Light Railway. So to get to Greenwich, I took the Underground to the Bank station and changed to the DLR, getting off at the Greenwich for Cutty Sark station. I decided to tour the ship first while I was there.

A sark was a short chemise-like undergarment. In a poem a witch danced in only a sark from when she was younger, which made it too short for modesty’s sake (i.e., “cutty”), so Cutty Sark was her nickname in the poem, hence the name of this tea clipper. After the tea trade was changed by the opening of the Suez Canal, this ship changed to the wool trade from Australia.




View of the town from the deck

The galley

Food was prepared in the galley and served to the officers from the pantry.

After I visited the ship, I headed off to explore the town and the Old Royal Naval College area.


London, p. 2->

<- York, p. 3

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