A Night In London and Heading toward Ireland by way of Salisbury

I arrived in London St. Pancras Station via Eurostar on time.  It’s the station that you see in all of the Harry Potter films and is called Kings Cross Station in the books and the films.  Kings Cross station does exist and is right next door to St. Pancras.  However, the real Kings Cross Station is no where near as grand as St. Pancras Station so I guess that’s why they used St. Pancras in the films.  

My hotel, called The Central Hotel, was literally across the street from the station. When I arrived there the hotel looked pleasant enough.  I checked in, and they wanted payment immediately.  So I paid them the equivalent of $167.00 USD.  Yes London is expensive.  The room number was 3.  I was told it was down stairs.  I asked "you mean below street level"?  Yes I was told. I was already thinking this was not going to be a good experience.  Once I walked down one and a half flights of steps, I actually had to step outside the building I checked into in order to walk maybe four steps to room number 3.  When, I finally unlocked, and I opened the door, which was difficult because the key did not work very well, I was shocked by the size of the room.  I would suspect about the size of jail cell.  At lease that’s what it felt like. There was only about two feet between the single bed (not a twin bed.  A single bed is narrower than a twin bed) and the wall.  I could hear the rumble of the underground in this room. I will say the room was clean but that’s about all it was.  It had this tiny little window next to the door.  The bathroom was impossibly small and the biggest insult was that the bath mat was made of paper.  There wasn’t much I could do.  They already had my money and there were no refunds.  Since it was only for one night I decided to “suck it up” and get over it.  Although getting over it was not easy.

In order to get over it I immediately searched the internet in the lobby on how to get to Salisbury, my next stop on the way to Ireland.  Even though internet was free at the hotel, I wash’t able to connect to the wifi network because of the location of my room, I mean cell.  I would have to leave from Waterloo Station which was about a 20 minute ride on the Underground.  So using my handy Underground London iPhone app I quickly found the Underground station I needed to go to in order to get to Waterloo Station.  Once I got to the Underground station I learned that I could purchase my ticket to Salisbury right there.  So I purchased the ticket and having done that went back to my depressing room, put on a nice shirt and took the Piccadilly Line to Knightsbridge Station for a bite to eat and a nice walk.  I returned to my hotel and went to sleep.  In London the Underground ceases operation between midnight and 12:15 AM so the rumble of the Underground did not continue through the night.

Early Sunday morning I got up and got out of that hotel as fast as I could.  I’ll be blasting it on Booking.com and Trip Advisor,com

The trip to Waterloo Station was without incident.  Incident meaning without getting on the wrong train, or going in the wrong direction.  Once I got there I had about a 45 minute wait for my train to be announced.  When it was announced I made my way to the train, sat in a second class seat and slept through most of the journey.

When I arrived in Salisbury Station I learned from the station master that the guest house I was staying at was about a mile and a half away so he recommended I take a taxi.  Once I arrived at the guest house my anger at the previous nights accommodations vanished because this place is the polar opposite of the place I stayed at in London.  I have a very nice, clean and quiet room with a comfortable bed and enough room to move around.  Its not a large room but plenty big for me.

Once I got settled I went back to the office to get some information about the town and where I might have lunch.  The owner told me there is a Cricket tournament right next store at the Cricket club and there was a nice bar restaurant less that a 100 meters from the Cricket club.  So I went to the bar/restaurant and they were having Carving Sunday.  All you could eat for about $13.00 USD.  Since I was eating in a bar I felt a little obligated to order beer with my meal and not just any beer but a pint of Guinness   As you know I am not a beer drinker and this beer was about as thick as runny porridge and was beyond dark.  I did not like it but once again I got over it and drank 3/4 of that pint.  So my first pint of Guinness was a failure but the food was really good.  What am I going to do when I get to Ireland?  

After eating I decided I wanted to attend my first Cricket game so I sat down for about 15 minutes but then I really felt the need to walk.  So I took a walk taking a route that my hostess recommended. And a lovely walk it was.  About 90 minutes into my walk I came across a cinema that was showing “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes”.  Since it received a nice review in the NY Times I decided to put down $20.00 USD to see it.  I have to keep remembering that a dollar against  the pound sterling doesn't get you much.  It takes, as of today, $1.69 USD to equal 1 Pound Sterling.  All in all a very nice day once I escaped my jail cell of a hotel room.

I spent at the day today at Salisbury Cathedral.  This, as are all cathedrals in England, is an Anglican cathedral.  Construction began on the cathedral in April of 1220 and the church was consecrated in 1258 with the Chapter House, which incidentally contains one of four original copies of the Magna Carta, and the Cloisters completed in 1266.  The Spire, which is the tallest spire in Britain was added between 1310 and 1330.  It stands 404 feet tall.  This was a cathedral that was answerable to Rome but has been part of the autonomous Church of England since 1534 wen Henry VIII split from the Church of Rome.

This is simply a beautiful cathedral that has lots of light and even though it is Gothic in its architecture  because most of the stain glass windows were removed and destroyed, ( I cannot remember the date) and leaded clear glass replaced the stained glass.  You know I think it was a great idea.

I also took the Spire/Tower tour and got to climb 332 steep steps where the tour guide gave the 12 of us a really interesting and informative tour.  Make sure you go to the Salisbury Cathedral album for pictures of todays tour along with some nice pictures of the town.  I hope to have them uploaded by August 5 or 6.

To learn more about Salisbury Cathedral click on this link.  http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/history

Tomorrow a visit to Stonehenge.   

1.Louis.skypala@verizon.net © Louis M. Skypala 2014