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Above Ground on the London Underground: Embankment Station AKA What is this thing I love?

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It's not much to look at, the Embankment Underground Station but as we headed out from the station, on our way to Trafalgar Square we saw an extraordinary piece of architecture. On the left of the passage between the Embankment Underground Station and Charing Cross Railway Station, an ultra-modern building completely out of synch with the rest of its surroundings.

I love the two large round windows, set like a pair of eyes. This looks like a toy for a giant. I want to spin the center bit!
What is it????
The problem is, I don't know exactly what it is! My camera identifies the building as 34-36 Villiers Street but those readings aren't always exact, are they? When I look the address up, searching for info about the building—who designed it, when it was built, what is it—I come away basically empty handed. It's next door to The Arches Shopping Plaza, it could be part of the complex or it could be part of the Charing Cross Railway Station. Or something else entirely? Have you g…

Cruisin’ It : Meeting Tom Cruise

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Updated 6/22/2017
Originally published 9/8/16 
I've just read an excerpt from actor Curtis Armstrong's new autobiography. Armstrong is probably best remembered for his work on Moonlighting but he also worked with Tom Cruise on Risky Business. The chapter "My Summer with Tom Cruise" is fun reading if you like reading about stars before they were stars. It reminded me I have a Tom Cruise story to tell, albeit a tiny one, but since it's #ThrowbackThursday, I'm indulging myself.


Call me crazy but I'm a Tom Cruise fan. I'm not cuckoo about him, I don't have a fan page or anything so extreme but I tend to like his movies. He's got charisma, a ton of onscreen charm; I loved the first Jack Reacher adaptation and I'm actually excited about the next one coming out at the end of October. I gave his movie The Edge of Tomorrowa glowing review on my book-to-movie site. He is after all, despite—or some might say, because of — his association with Scientolog…

The Paris Metro: It's a work out

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One thing we noticed while we were in France last month; there are an awful lot of fit people in Paris. An awful lot of fit and trim, sexy and slim, attractive people. 


Casting Call: Slim, attractive French types please line up
I blame it on the Metro. My theory is that all the walking to and from the metro, and especially going up and down the stairs of the Paris Metro system has something to do with it. You see, there are very few elevators and escalators. 



The first metro line was opened in 1900 during the Paris World's Fair at a time when no one really thought about elevators. While the system is not so good in terms of its accessibility to the disabled, it's a built-in exercise regime for everyone else. 



By everyone else, I mean the 4 million plus people who use the Paris metro every day! Parisians walk from work or home to and from the metro, rush up and down those stairs, hurry along the sometimes long and winding passages. I say it must be part of what keeps them all looki…

Above Ground on the London Underground: A half a mile & a world away from Grenfell Towers

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What a difference a few blocks make.
Another heartbreaking week for England, and Londoners in particular. Watching BBC World News while the 24 story Grenfell apartment building went up in flames was horrifying. Thinking about all the people, families with children fast asleep in their beds as the fire consumed the tower, floor by floor, heart-wrenching for all. Reading the tweets put out by a hateful few, immediately blaming terrorists, was sickening, disturbing and depressing. 
Elgin Crescent is just a few blocks away from Grenfell Tower
As I prepare this post, there are 30 confirmed deaths and many, many people still missing. The death toll will surely rise—some say as high as 100—but it's clear the cause is not terrorism, but negligence on the part of the council's building management that is to blame. The building, situated in an otherwise fairly affluent area, is council housing, flats allocated for the unemployed and underemployed. 

Nehru, India's 1st prime minister live…

Bandol Revisited #DreamingofFrance

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I make a practice of walking down memory lane, frequently posting memoir pieces about the good old days. I'm mostly unapologetic about traveling back in time. What's the point of creating a life full of memories if remembering them gets you accused of living in the past?

Regular readers may know some of those treks were to a small coastal village in the south of France. I first visited Bandol, between Toulon and Marseille, in 1973. I was twenty, on my first trip abroad, and swept completely off my feet by pretty boats bobbing in the harbor, sidewalk cafes, a soft sandy beach and a French boy with a charming accent and a swoop of dark hair across his forehead.

You can read 'em if you want, my nostalgic bits and pieces, but the point of today's post (I'm getting there) is that my husband and I revisited Bandol while traveling in Europe last month. We spent a week on the Cote d'Azur and a couple of days in Bandol for my 64th birthday because my husband knew how dear…

Above Ground on the London Underground: Brompton Cemetery via Earl's Court Station

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If you've been following me for awhile, you know I've been fantasizing about a trip to England for ages. In fact for the past year or so I've been posting a virtual tour of London under the heading Above Ground on the London Underground. My husband and I finally took that trip to London 'in real life' and now I'm back after a month long journey which began in early May. We were in the air flying home when the London Bridge attack took place, we landed in L.A. to worried texts from family. My heart goes out to Londoners and no, the threat of a terrorist attack wouldn't stop me from visiting one of the greatest cities in the world. đź’” This week I've got a few pictures from our visit to the Brompton Cemetery in Kensington. One of London's Magnificent Seven, I also visited Brompton Cemetery on one of our virtual walks back in March of 2016 if you want to take a peek.
I can so imagine living in London ... except the town wasn't particularly kind with th…

Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 66: Next week I'll keep you posted from London

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If it's Friday we're back in London, taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Think of me as an armchair traveler, using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. We're currently following the  District Line. Here are the previous days. One last post before I fly off to London (and beyond) for real. This is Day 66.

Next week at this time, my husband and I will be walking the real streets of London. We like to walk, measuring our Fitbit steps but we could hop on the District line at the Aldgate East stop in Whitechapel and take a ten minute tube ride to the BlackFriars Station. From there, an 8 minute walk gets us to the Old Bailey. The Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand are close by.

When one hears Whitechapel and the Old Bailey, it’s only natural to think about crime and punishment. Jack the Ripper and all sorts…