London/Day 9/10-13-2015

It should be noted that my counting of days is off from that of the Beatles Pilgrimage Tour because I started counting on the day we left. The tour itself is 7-8 days.

Today was a half-day coach tour. Four of our group are skipping the tour this morning for one reason or another. I was inclined to join the “ditchers” but am so glad I didn’t!

Sights seen:

Hope and Anchor – as told to us by our tour guide, “If you were big in the 80’s, you played here in the 70’s.” This included the Police, U2, the Clash. Elvis Costello’s big break came when he played at H&A. It is a beautiful building that is in the process of having restoration work done outside.

The Electric Ballroom is a 1930’s venue that had such excellent sound that many recorded their live albums here. Eric Clapton had his comeback gig here, and Jimi Hendrix famously burned his guitar here. I couldn’t snap the picture, but there was a Vans Warped Tour sign at the Electric Ballroom – a concert Kaylie and her boyfriend have enjoyed in the past.

Next up was a drive down Camden Town. What a fascinating sight to see! This is where many music video producers and costumers might shop for anything unusual to feature in a video. The costumes that were hanging on the streets are remarkable. Not my taste but the detail and amount of work that went into each was a treat to see.

Horse and Groom – a bar where the Beatles enjoyed drinking together. I’m betting they weren’t fond of my favorite bar drink of bottled water.

See that black awning and the number 13? Yeah, Rod Stewart has played there. No, he didn’t call and invite me. “Whatever.” See the skinny white section of this building? John Lennon met Yoko Ono there and soon became inseparable. Of course, Tony Bramwell has his strong opinions about Yoko and is happy to share them to anyone with an ear.

The day trip concluded by driving by Paul McCartney’s beautiful London office where he can occasionally be seen walking across the square to enter the office. (Of course, not today!)

After being returned to the hotel, part of the group made plans to grab a quick lunch then ride the tube to Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Hyde Park. It is the first cold day we have had and we also had a very few raindrops. The hustle and bustle of the tube is exhilarating and reminded me of our trip to NYC last year. After a very long walk through Hyde Park, a trip to the original Hard Rock Café [store], and back to the tube, my pedometer showed we walked over 10 miles today and we all felt it. The tube ride back to the hotel was packed with commuters and there was no “personal space” to be had. As with every step of the way, the group looks out for each other and nobody was left behind.

Being the last night, the group will go out for one last [pub] meal. Marilyn, and R&C #2 have opted to have dinner in the hotel and skip any extra walking. Good-byes were lingering. This group of strangers who came together 8 days ago with an interest in the Beatles is parting close friends and many are keeping in touch on Facebook and email. There is already talk of a reunion trip to England – sounds good to me!

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