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Jack the Ripper

The first night I was in London, I did this Jack the Ripper tour, which I mentioned before.

First, and foremost: Are you in London? Are you going to London? If either of these things are true, check out London Walks. I can't remember who recommended them to me, but this is the second one of their walks I've gone on, and they are outstanding. Great fun, good value for your money, and not nearly as difficult as one would think. I wouldn't necessarily recommend them if you've got mobility issues, but if you're just lazy (like me - god, I'm lazy), they're fine. And fun! This one met in the evening just across the street from the Tower of London, and it was huge. Well over 70 people showed up, and it was a Monday. They ended up splitting the group into two, and I got this great tour leader. She had a real presence to her, and just the way she used her voice, her posture, and the area around her was just outstanding. She'd completely alter her voice when she was quoting from letters, from the police reports, or from media commentary. I wish I had caught a video of her, but sadly, I didn't.

The Wall If you're in to Jack the Ripper, this really is the tour for you. They showed where the victims were found, pointed out some of the major landmarks of the time (like Prostitute's church), and really recreated the atmosphere of the time - how dark and dingy it was, how horrible it was to be a prostitute at the time, and how incredibly shocking the murders had been. Previously, I hadn't really gotten the whole "Jack the Ripper" mystique, but now I get why it's such a big thing.

The picture here shows her standing in front of the one of the remaining fragments of the Walls of London. And this is where I'm getting confused.

See, when I think about Old Edinburgh (Auld Reekie, as it was called), I can picture it. When I walk down the Royal Mile, I can see the place where the original walls around Edinburgh ended (about half way down the Mile), protecting the city from the Evil English. I think it was the Flodden Wall, and the descriptions of the city I've heard time and again make it pretty obvious that it was hellish to live there. They had a huge number of people crammed into a very small space, and it was called Auld Reekie becuase you could smell it from several miles away. Ick ick ick, not my thing.

London, however, I'm having a hard time grasping the medeival geography of. (This is probably because I read a lot of historically based fiction, like Sharon Kay Penman's books about 12th Century England, or the reign of Richard III.) What I understand so far is that London is sort of like the English Language: It ran around and nabbed a bunch of stuff from other places and called it London. (See, like English, which robs words from other languages and calls it English. See how witty I am? *sigh* I am such a geek.) So, Westminster used to be its own place, but now is basically London. Is that right? I don't know....

Maybe I need to stop trying to learn my medeival geography from novels.

{Note to self: London Walks has a sister group called Paris Walks. Go to Paris. Take Paris Walk. Have coffee with Anne. Sounds like a good day....}

PS: I may or may not be going to Amsterdam at the beginning of May. Depends on how money works out. If I do go to Amsterdam... what should I do? I mean, other than go to the War Memorial, which is why parts of my family are going. I hadn't considered going to Amsterdam before. That's in Holland, right? They eat salt candy there, don't they? Oh well... Holland!

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Comments

Oh cool...that sounds like fun! I hope I can go to London ASAP.

Ditto Scarlet - cool.

Well, I remember recommending the Walks so I'll take the credit. Even if you don't know me. :)
I lived in London and went to school at LSE from Sept. 95 to Sept. 96 and went on quite a few of the Walks. As you say, they are worth every penny. Now I recommend them to anyone who will be there. I just know that no one will be disappointed.

Well, I remember recommending the Walks so I'll take the credit. Even if you don't know me. :)
I lived in London and went to school at LSE from Sept. 95 to Sept. 96 and went on quite a few of the Walks. As you say, they are worth every penny. Now I recommend them to anyone who will be there. I just know that no one will be disappointed.

Such a goof to flail away at the keys and send messages twice.

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