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December 4, 2021 / Jim Fenton

Sussex Day 10: London

Saturday, November 13, 2021

London isn’t in Sussex, that’s just the theme of the trip.

Celeste expressed a lot of interest in visiting the Imperial War Museum, which none of us had visited, so we decided to make that our first destination. After a quick Pret a Manger breakfast, we took the Tube to the south side of London. The first thing you notice is the battleship guns at the front. My interest was also piqued by a short segment of Berlin Wall near the front entrance.

The museum has a large collection on several floors, with areas emphasizing World War I, World War II, the Cold War, the Holocaust, etc. One could easily spend several days to see all of the exhibits. Toward the end of our visit, we went in to the World War II gallery (having already seen quite a number of exhibits dealing with WW II), and it went on…and on. The gallery was very large and went into great detail, including many stories about participants in the war, German as well as Allied. We hadn’t expected the gallery to be nearly as large as it was, and might have allocated more time if we had.

Early in the afternoon we tired of the museum and decided to look for lunch. We thought we might like German food, so guided by our phones, we walked north and came to Mercato Metropolitano, a large semi-outdoor food court with sustainable food from many world cuisines. Each of us selected something we like, but we never found the German restaurant we thought was there.

Continuing north, we got to the Borough Market, a large trading market established in 1756. Perhaps because it was a Saturday, it was very crowded. Normally this might not have been as notable but that since the COVID epidemic we have avoided and become unaccustomed to crowds. We walked through quickly and then continued on to the Thames, where we went along the south shore to the Millennium Bridge. We walked out on the bridge, took some pictures, and continued west to the Westminster Bridge. All along the way there were people — lots of people.

After crossing the Westminster bridge, we took a short Tube ride to the West End. Again, everything was crowded. We tried a couple of places for dinner, but nothing was available without an advance booking. The Five Guys burger restaurant was jammed, and there was even a long queue at McDonalds (!). We couldn’t figure out the attraction there.

We finally settled on Itsu, the same Asian-themed fast food chain that we had tried in Brighton. We were able to find a table and had an enjoyable light meal.

The big event of the day was this evening: we had tickets to Back to the Future: The Musical, playing at the Adelphi Theatre on The Strand. This is a new show that that just opened in July 2021 and has not yet made it to the United States. The theatre was, as expected, nearly full. But we had been told that COVID vaccination, negative tests, and the wearing of masks would be required. In fact, we were never asked about vaccinations or tests, and the majority of the audience did not wear masks. We felt somewhat less safe as a result.

Still, the show was very enjoyable. As Celeste pointed out, this is a “tech show” with the strong point being special effects. Most of the performances, particularly Doc Brown, were excellent as well, although Celeste noted that some of the actors had trouble with American accents.

We took the Tube back to our hotel and are retiring quickly. Tomorrow will be an early day for Jim and Kenna’s flight back home.

This article is part of a series about our recent travels to southern England. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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