A wee bit of background before moving to Durham Cathedral. I met a father and 16-year old son on my second 192 mile Coast-to-Coast walk and we became fast friends. A few years later James attended Durham University; however, he took off one year to attend Boston College. As that was a year I ran the Boston Marathon, James jumped in the race and ran from the iconic Citgo sign to the finish line as my bandit.
Having toured Boston College with James, I was eager to see Durham University with him and his family.
Six hundred year old Durham University is the third oldest university in England incorprates Durham Castle and Palace Green, as well as managing a World Heritage Site in conjunction with Durham Cathedral. The photograph was taken at Durham Cathedral Cloister. An amazing day spent with James and his parents, Rick and Lesley. Not surprising bits of Harry Potter were filmed here.
Arrived in Yorkshire by train. In less then two hours, I’ve traveled half of England. Lesley, Rick, and James live in a 350 year old home they beautifully restored. The heart of the home is the hearth equipped with an enamel stove for cooking as well as heating the house. Here I sit sipping morning tea.
St. Paul asends 365 feet above London offering stellar views of London. The picture was taken from just under the tip-top ball and cross with a climb of 628 steps. Erl who had completed a year’s training to be a London Guide took me to two other fine churches while adding interesting comments like this is the spot where Sir William Wallace (Braveheart) died and this church’s yard rises six feet above the door’s entrance having been layored with bodies from the plague.
My second grand view of the day was from the 43th floor of One Canada in Canary Warf the “new” skyscraper financial area in London. This was the office of Chris, a special friend met during my first Coast to Coast walk. Chris was taking his father on the C2C walk as his father had begun it decades earlier and had to stop the almost completed 192 mile walk because of family illness. These dear men befriended and led me half-way across their nation. Lunch with Chris easily closed the gap of ten years. His father in his 80’s still walks and is embrassing the technology of a new SmartPhone while Chris has married and is the proud father of two darling girls. As the saying goes it’s the people who make traveling special.
Joanna and I celebrated my last night in London with dinner at a neighborhood French restaurant. Though London comes to a close we delight in our plans for the Camino as she will join me for a week walking in France and another week in Spain. Who would have thought two women walking Scotland’s West Highland’s Way would develop keen friendships, share their homes and other long distance walks.
Made a day of exploring the Tower of London. The Crown Jewels were phenomenally spectacular. Nature’s beauty crafted by man turned the Cullinan Diamond weighing over 3,000 carats into the First Star of Africa set on top of the Sovereign’s Sceptre (estimated to be worth $400 million) and the Second Star of Africa set in the Imperial State Crown.
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother 1937 coronation crown featured the legendary Koh-i-Nur (‘Mountain of Light’) 106 carats diamond. Would not Lord of the Rings’ Gollum be uttering, “my precious” had he been where I stood?
The photo shows the Shard, an 87-story skyscraper, in the background and the Tower of London in the foreground. Will our generation’s architecture genus hold up to the test of time as well as the 930 years old Tower of London has?
After exhausting my iPhone battery for the third time, I bought A London Map Guide. What good is Google Map if the phone dies in a couple hour? Nothing is as satisfying as putting places in relationship with the aid of a proper map. At Erl’s suggestion, I went to London museum to trace London’s history from pre-Roman, through the plague to the Fire of London ending with currant affairs. As I am a card carrying member of St James Confraturnity, I stopped by for final Camino Information.
Pictured is St. James Confraturnity location at a neighbourhood church.
The Wallace Collection is housed in Sir Richard Wallace’s former home which has all the stateliness as Downton Abbey. A stroll through Hyde Park took Joanna and me to Selfridges, another setting for Master Piece Theater. I limited my brows to diamonds and food with far more interest in specialty foods. Joanna treated me to tea at Harrods with their bites of cake each a work of art. The Victoria and Albert Museum resembled NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as both have a colossal number of exhibits. I chose furniture, architecture, and pottery. A life size horse and rider both in a full suit of armor required pondering…how can anyone fight so encumbered?