August 4, 2023

Having toured Greenwich to my heart’s content, I had three full days left to explore in London. Ben Johnson said “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” I certainly wasn’t tired of London (or of life), but I had seen the main thing I wanted to go to, and so had no particular agenda left. I didn’t particularly see any point in riding the London Eye, especially after getting the spectacular views from the observatory hill. All the places I had visited in my previous trips were worth seeing again, but I had no priorities. So I decided to book a hop-on-hop-off bus package that included a short cruise on the Thames as well. There was a pick-up point near the St. Pancras station on the least interesting route of the line, but handy to hotels. Then one could switch to any of the other routes as desired.

So after I hopped on, we passed through hotel districts near the British Museum. In 1976 Lee and I had a package deal with British Airways that included a two-week stay at the Hotel President on Russell Square. It was connected to the Imperial Hotel, but that one was a significant price upgrade over the President. Years later on my third trip to London, Doris and Ed and I stayed at the Imperial. It was nice enough, but I didn't regret not having upgraded before. So on the bus tour we passed the fancy Fitzroy Hotel, and then it was nostalgia time as we passed the President and then the Imperial.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures from the bus, particularly on the first day, and I didn't do a lot of hopping off and on. I just mainly reacquainted myself with different parts of London as I rode through them. In 1976 Lee and I found exceptionally good ethnic food mostly in tiny family-run places, mostly Indian and Chinese food. (And at the time, I was spoiled by eating at Bo Bo in Chinatown in NYC as often as I could, and Yee’s Restaurant in Dallas was only a few years in my past, and I still have rather high standards for Chinese food.) I didn’t see any places like that this trip, but still really hoped to get a good Chinese meal. Rick Steves says the places in London’s Chinatown are mediocre, so I didn't bother hopping off there. And the novelty is not so great now. I can get good Indian food in Davidson and Cornelius, and the best Chinese place around is in Mooresville (whose owner remembers Bo Bo very well from when he first moved to the US). Tim took me to the Chinese place on my recent birthday.

Lord Nelson at Trafalger Square

Queen Anne in front of St. Paul’s

The bus had a stop near St. Paul’s Cathedral, so I hopped off. It is of course Sir Christopher Wren’s Baroque Masterpiece. I had been there several times before, but interestingly enough not on the 2017 Anglican heritage tour, so it was probably over 30 years ago when I was there.

St. Paul’s has a special place in Methodist history, so I would go there for Evensong, as Lee and I did in 1976. In Wesley’s journal he said that the anthem at Evening Prayer there had been a setting of Psalm 130. That expressed so well his feelings in his spiritual life, and prepared him for the events of the evening in which he felt his “heart strangely warmed.” More about that later.

Organ information

There are four organs in all, including this 10-rank Henry Willis organ from 1881, affectionately known as the “Willis on Wheels.” The two-rank mixture is an addition from 1970.



Down in the crypt are chapels, monuments and burials. Wren was buried under a simple black stone tablet, as he requested. His son added the wall plaque with the famous Latin inscription. Also notable is the tomb of the Duke of Wellington, and there is a memorial to Florence Nightingale.


After the St. Paul’s visit, I wandered down to Aldersgate Street to look for the site where Wesley attended a meeting where during a reading from Luther’s Preface to the Book of Romans, he felt his “heart strangely warmed.” That area has changed more than once since my first visit. Back then there was a huge hole in the ground nearby that suggested to me that the area was still in recovery from the Blitz. There was a plaque that said Marconi had made a transatlantic transmission from the top of a building, and the Wesley plaque shown below. On a later visit, I saw they had added the Museum of London, and outside it was a historical maker showing a page from Wesley’s journal about the experience, including a Greek quotation. Now the roads seem to be rerouted, and I saw no sign of that marker. There is still a statue of John Wesley just north of St. Paul’s.

The plaque now is in a low wall that is just below this lovely view:

On the way back to the pick-up spot for the bus, I had various views of the famous dome and construction in the area. I cannot find the name of the old church or the monument I passed.


London, p. 4 ->

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