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Walking down Fleet Street

One of London's most iconic streets, if you are a literature lover or a journalist or anyone who has anything to do with words. That's Fleet Street for you. The St Bride's Church, designed by Christopher Wren, located on this street has a lot of history associated with it. It is called the Jounalists' Church because of its location. Some of London's oldest papers were born on this street. When we walked into St Bride's, it was all quiet. We were the only visitors and the place was being renovated. Yet there was a free exhibition on. We enjoyed looking at old newspaper extracts, the history of the Church, clippings of how the Church was bombed during the WW II, how it was destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt etc. It was next door to this Church that the first printing press in London started to function as well.

Our second stop on Fleet Street was the pub that came with many recommendations in books such as the Lonely Planet. The debate continues on whether it is the oldest pub, but for sure, it is among the oldest. The Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub. Established in the latter half of the 16th century. Visited by such greats as Dickens, Mark Twain, Oliver Goldsmith and Dr Johnson. In fact, the pub finds a mention in 'A Tale of Two Cities', one of my favourite Dickens classics. What more did we need? We slaked in and found dark rooms lit by golden lights, an ancient fireplace, wooden benches, the works. That's not it, there are spiralling flights of stairs that take you down under, into the basement. And more surprises. Old wooden barrels or caskets, some really old photographs and old bottles that once contained ale all added to the ambience.

The atmosphere is magical and you begin to wonder how things were in the old days. What did Dickens think of it? What did he drink here etc.

On the way down to the basement, a guy bumped into me, spilling some of my ale. He told me he'd get me a drink, I refused and let that be. A good thirty minutes later, he comes over and gets me a drink. He needn't have done that, and  I told him as much, but he said that he was a nice Canadian and  would have done that because he spilled my drink.

Meanwhile, for company, we had a warm Anerican couple visiting London for a few days, and we hit it off rather well. Over a couple of drinks, we shared our London itineraries and impressions.

Oh and by the way, our fries came in tiny tin buckets lined with old newspaper print sheets!

In the end, a good time was had by all at the Ye Olde Cheshire pub.


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