Richard Smokes Europe - Step 3 : England
By David, on 19/09/2008 17:16
Although England was recently described as 'a nation of “overweight, sex-and-celebrity-obsessed TV addicts” (The Rough Guide to England - 2008), England, more importantly, does have an long colorful history and wide culture that hugely outweighs the loud present day 'trash Pop-Art' image that some have come to associate with England and London in particular. It may be the country that produced Neville Chamberlain, Mr. Bean, Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards and Spotted Dick (a sugary dessert), but it also gave us Shakespeare, Newton, Darwin, Churchill, John Lennon and Football. Once, the center of an Empire that ruled half the world, England has had to learn to adapt to merely being a part of Europe. When visiting England, you will notice a huge difference between the rich South (London being the center) and the more industrial North (this is slowly changing). Be it the music, food, art or language, the many different parts of England have an infinite amount of secrets to divulge. Like Paris in France, London puts forward a more global image of English culture, diluted and re-packaged for easy use. The intricate subtleties of this culture may be found in a more primal form outside of the major metro-pole. My weekend spent in England for this trip included a wonderful overnight stay in the lake district. This natural park is a must for any nature lover. The English county side is an institution in itself, with a specific culture and rules of etiquette to go with it. County Manors, antique fairs, country Pubs, Craft-works, tea and scones, hedges, ladies hats, etc... all make up the legend. Worth and afternoon trip for sure. Up North, I would suggest visiting Liverpool. Home of the Beatles and Liverpool F.C., Liverpool is the European Capital of Culture for 2008. Check out the transformation of the Liverpool waterfront area (UNESCO World Heritage Site), including the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse, which at the time of its construction in 1901, was the world's largest building in terms of area, and is still the world's largest brick-work building. Also the ill-fated passenger liner RMS Titanic was registered in Liverpool. The delicate question of English food is always a stopper when visiting. To often, one comes away having suffered badly battered Fish and Chips, boiled tasteless vegetables and chips, English Fry up and chips and chips. I have only one thing to say to you, visit the Fat Duck (Heston Blumenthal's 3-Micheline star restaurant in Bray, named No.2 restaurant in the world) and think again! Remember to pop in and visit my friend Mr. Patel at Regal Cigars & Tobacco in Windsor, he has a fabulous cigar shop and is very knowledgeable on all aspects concerning tobacco.