Some London Notes

188 to the Cutty Sark

Getting on the 188 in Russell Square, where it starts, and getting off in Greenwich, just before the end of the route, gives a wonderful tour of parts of South London that my previous explorations hadn’t reached. After Waterloo Bridge and the Elephant it pretends it’s going to cross Tower Bridge but then swings towards Rotherhithe and the Surrey Docks, nearby which is the quaintly named (but presumably for a reason) Canada Water, and on to Deptford and Greenwich, And for anyone who last visited the Cutty Sark in the 60s or 70s or even 80s, it’s a wonderful new experience to do in now. It’s set on a clear roof which comes to the waterline, so you see it as if on the sea, the interior is not too cluttered but has loads of interesting stuff about the ship and its trading history, there’s nothing too offensively electronic, you can go up on deck and then back down below to walk beneath the splendidly copper-bottomed hull (and take tea, if you wish). It’s a smashing focal point on the Greenwich waterside.

River bus

Mysteriously part of the London Transport network, and even more mysteriously labelled KPMG, who I thought were bean-counters rather than part of the real world, the every 20 minutes all year early to late river bus service from the Eye and Embankment to North Greenwich with stops along the way is a wondrous thing. It would be nice if you didn’t have to queue at the ticket office even to use your Oyster card, and nicer still if you could stand on deck, but on the whole it’s a very satisfying way to get up and down river. Well-filled, from my observation, too.

Eating at Carluccios, Viennese, Gitane, Patisserie Valerie, LRB teashop,

Some nice eating experiences – Carluccios on St Pancras. Sat outside on a level with the Eurostars and under the great roof. A bit overshadowed by the hideous giants statue, but at least there’s Sir John just down the way. His waistcoat’s getting shiny – I think people rub his tummy. A tiny patisserie on Judd Street with authentic baguettes, deliciously filled; Gitane coffee and cake shop on Great Titchfield Street; a superb Viennese café in Islington

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