Out for a bike ride south of Fjaerland, Norway!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Stryn, Norway!

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Exploring southwestern Norway until July 26th.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lots of walking in London

But that's okay because we love walking. And there is so much to see that it doesn't seem like we're going that far. Yesterday morning, we walked to a grocery store, but took a roundabout route.

Other than the grocery store, we didn't really have a destination in mind. The first interesting place we came across was the site of St. Augustine's church. The church itself had been torn down in 1797 when a newer larger church had been built, but the tower from the older church remains. Records indicate there has been a church on these grounds since the year 1275, but this tower part of the old church was built in the late 1500's.

The tower is almost 500 years old! Interestingly, the homes across the street from the tower were destroyed during an air raid in 1941.

Although the main church part was torn down many years ago, the graveyard remained. The churchyard was used for burials from the 13th century until 1859 when it was declared full. Many of the headstones were moved to the boundaries after the Metropolitan Open Spaces Act of 1881, which enabled clearance of closed burial grounds. This act was actually pursuing green space in the crowded city. Most of the 300 headstones were moved to the boundaries in 1893, where they remain today.

The headstones are now arranged neatly against the wall. The tombs still exist, but the area is now just greenspace.

The new church was built in 1797.

Yes, there are still phone booths around!

Lots of traffic. In fact, lots of cars, lots of cyclists, and lots of pedestrians! I find myself constantly looking left and right to make sure nothing is going to run me over! Oh yes, make sure you look right first before crossing. In fact, many crosswalks have it written on the road to make sure you look in the proper direction for oncoming traffic.

So we made it to the Tesco grocery store and picked up a few items. Expecting to be shocked by the high prices, we were actually pleasantly surprised. Yes, gasoline is expensive in England at £1.30 ($2.15) per litre ($8.12 per gallon!) and housing is ridiculously expensive with a bachelor apartment renting for £1,000 ($1,650) per month. Wages are comparable to North America though, with minimum wage at £6.08 ($9.97) which is similar to Canada's minimum wage. So not sure how these millions of people can afford to live here. 

For example, here are some items we bought, and the prices...
  • Cornflakes 500g box £1.29 ($2.12)
  • Tortilla Chips 300 g bag £0.89 ($1.46)
  • Sliced chicken deli meat 205 grams £1.50 ($2.46)
  • 8 good quality disposable razors £3.50 ($5.74, taxes included)
  • 3 litres milk £1.74 ($2.85) 
  • Small head of iceberg lettuce £0.75 ($1.23)
The one thing that really stood out is that eggs are more expensive than Canada at around $3.25 per dozen. 

We went back to the house and had lunch and relaxed for a bit, then went for a longer walk later in the day. It had been sunny and warm in the morning, but had then clouded over and cooled down with a bit of a wind. Still, no rain!

I didn't realize that London has miles of canals.

And that people live on these canal boats.

All different types of canal boats. Some fancy and expensive, others run down and dilapidated. Some had solar panels, and generators and we even saw in a window that one had a clothes washing machine in it!

Feeding the ducks, geese, and swans.

Many London parks have these funny pay toilets. Costs 20 pence ($0.33) to use them. I wonder what they're like on the inside.

Walking through Victoria Park. Just the other side of the park is the Olympic stadium. We'll walk over there another day. Not sure if we can get in or not!

This apartment has different types of vines growing on the side. Neat!

Picked up some beer at the corner store. Exactly where you should be able to buy beer! Canada has got to be the most backwards country in the world in this aspect. Of course beer is cheaper here than in Canada too, but more expensive than Mexico.

We mapped out our walk after the fact and found out we had done 8.2 kms (5.1 miles). That didn't include our morning walk!

Today, we are walking into downtown London! So far, the sun is shining again!


  1. There is a huge network of canals all throughout England, not just London, with a Canal boat industry (narrow boats) very analogous to the US RV lifestyle, including blogs. I hired a narrow boat on the Thames one week around the year 2000 when I was working in Windsor. Great time. Something for you guys to investigate if you have some spare time. Actually the same goes for mainland Europe too.

  2. What a neat tour, glad to see you are keeping a photo journal for us. If Canada would allow beer in stores, they would probably still have a huge tax on it. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  3. We are enjoying you sightseeing tour with you. Nice that beer is cheaper there than here in Canada. We stay near small towns in Ontario and they are now selling beer and alcohol at some of the corner and small grocery stores. But not in the cities.

  4. I'm going to miss being able to wander into a grocery store to buy a single beer if I so choose. We could beat that one to death, I'm sure.
    You certainly do a better "travel blog" than I, but I suppose some of that rests in the title.
    I must have had some sort of slip up yesterday (or maybe it's because there's now only a one hour difference) but I completely missed your 'pub post'. The horror!
    A few years back, when one of my "pub buddies" from back home was in England visiting relatives he said, "Gawd I love this country! There's a pub on every corner!". As I'm sure you have by now discovered.
    And a lot of them have their own particular take on beer making. Only as cold as wherever the kegs are kept in the cellar, and not cold cold the way we've become used to, but very tasty just the same. Makes it awfully hard to go back to something like "Molsons". Gah!
    Thanks for the pics. They're awesome.

  5. Ahhh I think those boats living up and down the canals are London Boondockers! LOL

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

    1. They are boondocking if they move every 14 days, if they stay in the same place all the time then they have to pay mooring fees.

  6. Guess I didn't realize that London had all those canals either. What a great tour we had today. This is just so much fun.

  7. Thanks for taking us to places we've never been.

  8. Hahhaha, so does that mean you didn't shave for 3 days? I would have loved to see a picture of that face... And the traffic is going the wrong way, is that why so many sign to watch before crossing?

    1. Barb, you have seen that face before. Half the time he doesn't shave for 3 or 4 days even when we were in Mexico. Yes, that is why they have signs/writing on the street with an arrow pointing to the direction to look. Too many tourists visit where the driving is the same way as ours, on the right hand side of the road and they forget to look the correct way, right to left.

    2. Hi Ruth, I guess I just never realized he hadn't shaved in 3 days. If Sal doesn't shave for 3 days you can really tell, it looks like a forest. It looks like you guys are having a great time, good for you. I am secretly so jealous! Anyway take care, look all ways and have fun.

  9. Thanks for sharing all the interesting things you see. Love to see them through your eyes, since we'll probably not see them in person.

  10. How cool. I feel like I am in London.

    Egads...we have to stop complaining about the cost of gas in Oregon. It could be much worse.

    I see Wallgreens has beer and wine here in the USA. It seems like there is one of those stores on every block. Enjoy!

  11. It the groceries are reasonable. Rent not so! Those toilets self clean with an inside sprinkler system, after each use. A cover comes over the paper role and the whole thing washes each cycle.

  12. Great photo work and "man on the street" cost reporting!!
    As usual. I can get Bass Ale for $12US a 12 pack here in CA. How much are they in the UK?

    1. I can get Bass Ale for $12US a 12 pack here in CA. How much are they in the UK?

      Ah, much more than that I expect. However, are yours "imported from the UK" or are they "brewed under licence in the US"? Big difference..

    2. yes, new york..it's pretty good, though

  13. When I lived in Montreal in the early 70's I used to buy beer at the corner market with some groceries. I'd have it all biked over by the young lad to my fourth floor apartment. Now that is service.


  14. You are so good with taking photos. It was great to follow your walk. I enjoyed my time in London and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be as a tourist. It helps having accomodation taken care of

    1. Yes, having accommodation is a great big help towards our expenses.

  15. butterbean carpenterJune 15, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Howdy R&K,
    Thank you, for the blow by blow of the trip, so far.. It's a wonder Ruth's backpack didn't get stolen as long as you waited!! Lucky!!
    Grab a boat and go boat-docking; that would be different!!! Are y'all going to ride THE FERRIS-WHEEEL??? It must be nice to have
    relatives to visit when you go to FOREIGN countries; except for my g-g-g-Grandparents, all were born on the foreign soil of TEXAS!!!
    This is a WONDERFUL TRIP, so far...

    1. No we aren't going to take a ride on the London Eye. Way too much money for what you get in our opinion. It is wonderful to have relatives that we can visit in another country the downside is that you don't see them too often over a life time.

  16. This is going to be so fun following you through England. I'm with the rest and didn't know about the canals. It would be like people who live on houseboats here in the US.

  17. Alrighty, a trip to England at your expense ... this I like.

  18. Check out the own brands in supermarkets, Morrisons own cornflakes are only 35p. In Morrisons it is M savers, ASDA smart price. Almost all the major supermarket chains have them.


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