Category: London

London: How to see the queen’s city without paying a king’s ransom

On this day 234 years ago, America declared its independence from England. And sure, at the time, we had our reasons. But thankfully the hostilities didn’t last; Britain and its former colonies share too much in common.

London was the cultural capital of the English-speaking world for centuries, and remains an unmatchable destination for any lover of history, literature and art. Samuel Johnson’s happy declaration is still true: “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

It’s the “afford” part that poses a hurdle: For all its other charms, London is expensive — one of Europe’s priciest cities, in fact. And although U.S. travelers to Britain have benefitted from the global recession, the pound can still give the unwary traveler a pounding.

But with a little advance planning, it’s easy enough to immerse yourself in London’s sights — from the sophisticated to the downright strange — without feeling like you need to tap Queen Elizabeth for a loan. Here’s a rundown of some sights…

Originally published on (St. Paul Pioneer Press) July 4, 2010. Read the complete article.

Gateways To Geekery: Sherlock Holmes

Geek obsession: Sherlock Holmes

Why it’s daunting: Everyone knows who Sherlock Holmes is, and it seems like everyone has written about him, too. It’s amazing just how much Holmes material is out there. The London sleuth, invented by Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1887 novel A Study In Scarlet, has come to personify the very idea of the private detective who relies on logic and deductive reasoning to solve the most baffling crimes. Conan Doyle wrote relatively few Holmes tales—four novels and 56 short stories that fans collectively call “the canon”—but that’s just the tip of it. Holmes wasn’t the first fictional detective, but he was far and away the most influential, and it’s impossible to overstate his importance to the mystery genre. His continuing adventures in the hands of subsequent authors and filmmakers have been estimated to number at least 25,000 novels, movies, TV shows, radio plays, cartoons, games, and other media over the last century.

Originally published on June 17, 2010. Read the complete article.

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