The day after I enjoyed my private Public School Tour in Bath, I started hitting the walking circuit pretty hard. See, the tours available from Original London Walks show you a lot of things you'd miss on your own--for instance, you might discover a tiny etching on a building or a the significance of a plaque above a doorway. Each little detail contains great stories, too, and you know how that works on a writer's mind. Also, the tours are pretty good exercise, as you generally cover some decent ground. (The second tour I'll be sharing--St. Albans--was a total walk-a-thon. Loved it.) Really, if you guys ever make it to London, I highly suggest this company. They even have night tours that cover everything from pub walks to haunted city strolls to Jack the Ripper jaunts.
Anyway, first thing, I had to track down a computer for a quick Internet check. You all, I didn't even know it would be so tough to find a darn computer for rent in this city. Yeesh. But if you need one, Leicester Square has these little places tucked away. The one I went to was on the third floor of the Trocedero, a shopping complex off the Square. Heck, McDonald's even has computers for rent, but the keyboards offer all the grace of using a public phone keypad that sticks, so I don't suggest that.
Back to the subject, the first tour I went on concerned the DA VINCI CODE. I didn't take it because I was that interested in the story-related details, but because the walk would show me stuff about the occult and the Knights Templar, and I absolutely could not resist the lure. Here's the best place I found on the tour, and I actually kind of fell in love with it:
The Temple Church is a gem of a peaceful spot right smack dab in the hustle and bustle of barrister (lawyer) hell. While the DA VINCI movie did film a scene in here, I was busier imagining setting my own scene within the church, and I've already even blocked it out. One down! Twenty four to go!
See these creepy faces embedded in the walls? (Look hard.) Tell me I can't use that.
I know--the lighting is terrible, but you can kind of see these knight effigies. Are you getting chills, too?
And here are some pix from an all-day tour I took the next day. St. Albans is just north of London, and I'm going to put a very important vampire location on its outskirts. Interestingly enough, much of the land around this little city is owned by Charles Spencer, Diana's brother, so I hope he doesn't mind me borrowing a bit of it for fictional purposes.
Just under an old inn, The Christopher, in St. Albans, we find this little miss. She's a succubus, and this might have been placed here to warn monks that there might be some evil afoot in this place. Avoid, avoid! St. Albans is named after a matyr, and pilgrims always came through on their way to pay respects to him. When I asked our tour guide if the city might be too holy for vampires to tread over (due to its sainted history), she assured me that it wouldn't be and then gave me a very curious look.
This house makes me salivate as a writer. Sure, it now houses a Laura Ashley shoppe, but it's haunted, baby. Word has it that, sometimes, you can see a woman in one of those two top windows, and several employees have quit this business because of freaky events. Gold!
After I do my HEROES blog on Monday night, I'll be returning with a little more London, including highwaymen, cemeteries, and the stomping grounds of poets....