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London; The Good, The Bad and The Disgusting.
London in General
Member Name: Marc Feld
London in General
Date: 10/04/03, updated on 11/04/03 (176 review reads)
Advantages: Lots to see, Lots to do, Exiting City
Disadvantages: Some people, Trafic, prices
Had to go to London for a meeting on Monday afternoon. I did not want to drive there and back in the one day and British rail was out of the question (see previous review). I decided to Drive down Sunday and stay over night in a Formule 1 Hotel in Barking. This would give me the opportunity of seeing some of the sights. I have not been to London for many a year but at one point in my life I spent many happy weekends there.
The drive down was fine and I arrived booked in to Formule 1 and took the car into the city. After a few hours of site seeing I returned to the hotel and had a very good sleep awaking fresh on Monday morning.
Monday was spent travelling by the tube. Walking around the city once again and eating. Once my meeting was over there was time for a bit more walking around, then back to the car and the drive home. Hopefully this gives an insight into the trip and servers as an introduction to my Review of a little over 24 hours in the Big City.
Formule 1 is well worth the money as you get exactly what you pay for the bare necessities. They always remind me of a collection of containers stood at the dock side. Once inside they remind me of portacabins. Getting inside is novel (there is no staff except for a few hours each day. If you pre book Telephone, internet you are given a booking code and if you pay by credit or debit card you have to take it with you. Otherwise there is a machine in the entrance where you make bookings. Once your card is placed in the slot you are asked for your booking code. This it proof that you are who you say you are. You are then presented with a receipt that contains the assess code and room number (you can have multiple receipts). You them enter the code into the gadget on the door and you are in. there is an identical keypad gadget on all the room doors.
The rooms are pleasant there is a double bed with a single bed above it, a sink, a chair and a TV. All that
you would need for the night. The toilet and showers are just down the hall. These are all plastic not unlike what you will find in a modern caravan. They self clean every time they are used. I don?t know how this works but there always seemed to be clean and ready for use. There is a continental eat-all-you-can breakfast this costs extra. That is about all there is to a Formule 1 Hotels. If you want one or two nights cheep basic accommodation they are ideal they are a European company and have Hotels through ought Europe.
London Underground I remember the dirty, dank, smelly, intimidating underground of years ago. Forget it; I was pleasantly surprised at the massive improvement. Barking is an on ground station, if you understand what I mean; it is a hive of activity very well managed by a bank of ticket machines. For those not quite sure of things there is friendly and helpful staff on hand. Once on the tube most of them looked relatively new and in good order we were soon underground with nothing to look at but the people around you.
All the stations I visited were well looked after had pleasant staff and very little of the bad things of the passed in evidence. There are signs everywhere warning against begging or busking and there was security in evidence be it CCTV or patrolling staff.
They can still be confusing though, I had to change from one line to another at one point and the amount of walking along a seemingly endless warren of passages was a bit much, still I should have planned my rout better. In all congratulations to London Underground for the vast improvement there has been.
Tradition: I am by no means a traditionalist but, I loved being able to wander around so much history. Parliament square with its banners against war, the Red Busses, the Black Taxies, Trafalgar, Piccadilly, The mall, The Plaice. It was wonderful to see. Hear and just be in the places that you see all the time on the News. The crowds flocked around t
Plaice just to watch the change of the guard is amazing why do they do it? The answer is simple nowhere else is it done so well.
Policing there may be a war on and a heightened state of security but there were police all over the place. This was a good thing as it was reassuring and also they were able to point me in the right direction when I went off track. There was also much evidence that tourists in general found there presence helpful.
There are a few things that I did not like about London. Some of the people are not nice. Yes I know you get these people everywhere but they stood out. With the number of foreign tourists in evidence this creates a bad impression. Tube stations are by far the worst places. I know that all these people stood around when I have to get to work can be frustrating. Common decency demands that instead of barging through like an Exoset Missile one should use the term Excuse me. One chap simply shouted
as he rushed passed leaving people spinning in his wake.
The traffic is frightening; it comes from all directions at speed. Be it a Bus, Car, Taxi, Motor Bike or Push Bike they stop for now one and take no prisoners. The traffic calming measures recently introduced can not have had an effect. If they have then it must have been horrendous before.
Street cleaning although there were street cleaners in evidence some places were a disgrace, especially sub ways. These are not pleasant places at the best of times. With pieces of cardboard, news papers, bits of blankets strewn about. Obvious refuges of homeless people moved on by whomever. Either that or there are some very big rats in London. There has been a move to make these places safer by placing CCTV in them and painting murals on the walls. However paint spray cans make a mess of both in but a split second. Generally though I did think the place could do with a spring clean.
s I hav
e hared so much about Sterbucks that I just had to give it a try. I am glad I did as in the future I will know to avoid it like the plague. They are all over London on almost every street corner. Very nice inside however if you go in for coffee you may be disappointed. I ordered a Latté with extra coffee. What I received was a paper cup; yes a paper cup full of warm milk with just the slightest hint of flavour that could have been coffee. People rave about this place, the conclusion being that I am an alien just passing through on my way to an interstellar conference there I have inadvertently given away my true reason for going to London.
Westminster Abby: one of the wonders of London. Is soaked in history, my history. It is a marvellous building to look at. It contains some of the things that make or made Great Britain Great.
In Poets' Corner lie the remains of some of the world?s greatest poets Dryden, Tennyson, Robert Browning the writers Dr. Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling and Thomas Hardy.
The shrines of most of the English Kings and Queens and that of St. Edward the Confessor, The tombs of Queen Elizabeth I her half-sister Mary I and Mary Queen of Scots, her son James I. Queen Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII by Catherine of Aragon. Its all there the history of the British people
Yet why is this entered under the heading ?Discussing?? Well it is well and truly one of the most discussing things that I came across in London. This Abby, this house of God, this treasury of English history is open for all to see. The problem that I have with it is the fact that there is an entrance fee. Yes they charge you to get in to see all the aforementioned treasures. That to me is not only sacrilegious but a charge on my heritage.
Overall I did enjoy my 24+ hours in London. I did not get to see lots of things that I would have liked. So I must get around
er trip soon. I will use Formule 1 again and I will use the underground. Next time I will plan ahead and get better organised and hopefully have more time to spend on things and places instead of a quick whistle stop tour. I will not be going to Starbucks or Westminster Abby. As usual though it is good to get home and slip between your own sheets.