Aug 27, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Cologne to London

We were taken to the airport terminal by Cadillac, then to the airport by bus (an hour’s ride). We were to fly tourist class on Lufthansa but the had oversold it and as we were among the last checking in, we were put in first class. It was an hour & half flight to London – we were served coffee or a sandwich, given a bottle of Schnapps, a newspaper, our post cards were mailed free. Also a duty-free wagon was wheeled by with cigarettes, perfume, whiskey, etc. We had bought cigarettes (Winston) duty free at the airport for $1.75 a carton.

It had been cloudy & raining at Cologne but was clear & sunny in England. Went easily through customs & into town on another bus. Flowers everywhere here as on the continent – baby carriages prolific too. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to their driving on the “wrong” side of the street.

We were met at the terminal and taken to Mount Royal via one of the funny-looking cabs – there is no left hand door & the luggage is put in on that side. Our hotel is near Marble Arch & Hyde Park on Oxford St. – a tremendous hotel & a large room.

We had a sandwich in the room, unpacked & rested, then met the Early’s in the lobby. Rode a double-decker bus to Westminster Bridge – seeing many familiar names on the way. Rode down the Thames on an excursion boat to Greenwich seeing many landmarks along the way. The guide who point out things of interest was as hard to understand as the guides in Paris or Rome – his English wasn’t like ours! Twas Cockney! After the river trip, we caught another bus to the City of London, going thru Strand, Fleet St. to the Bank. But this turned out to be a mistake – the bars don’t open until 7 on Sundays – if at all. We wandered around through an old & interesting part of town – practically alone in the streets & finally found a “pub” open to try our first English beer.

Our destination was Simpsons where Bud had recommended but it was closed on Sunday. We rode a bus back to the Strand – found another pub open – with real character. Still looking for a restaurant, we walked to Leicester Square. It was full of activity – people of all races & types – mixed couples (black & white). Harry wanted chicken so we lucked into a cafeteria, leaving the Early’s to find a ritzier place while we ate.

After eating, we walked to Trafalgar Square to see the monument & fountains lighter. Then by the aid of the map, we rode the subway to Marble Arch, transferring once. The subways are easy to figure out, as are the buses. We must have set some kind of record today – we rode so many different kinds of vehicles.

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