Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Language, Capital & Currency in Rome

Italian is a Romance language spoken by about 60 million people in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, the Vatican City, Malta and Eritrea. There are also Italian speakers in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Canada, the USA and the UK.

Italian first started to appear in written documents during the 10th century in the form of notes and short texts inserted into Latin documents such as lawsuits and poetry. For a long time there was no standard written or spoken language in Italy and writers tended to write in their own regional dialects. In northern Italy, which was often ruled by the French, French and Occitan were used as literary languages.

During the 13th century such writers as Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Petrarch and Boccaccio were influential in popularizing their own dialect of Italian - the Tuscan of Florence (la lingua fiorentina) - as a standard literary language. By the 14th century the Tuscan dialect was being used in political and cultural circles throughout Italy, though Latin remained the per-eminent literary language until the 16th century.
The first grammar of Italian with the Latin title Regule lingue florentine (Rules of the Florentine language) was produced by Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72) and published in 1495.

During the 15th and 16th centuries both Latin and Italian were used for technical and scientific texts. The Italian used was full of Latin words and over time Latin was used less and less as Italian became increasingly popular.

Today the Tuscan dialect is known as Italian (Italiano) and is the official language of Italy. It is the main language of literature and the media. Each region of Italy also has its own dialect, some of which are so distinct from standard Italian that they are mutually unintelligible. The Sicilian dialect for example, is sometimes regarded as a separate language and has a literary tradition older than Italian itself.

Revolution overtook Rome in 1848, as the Pope resisted approving revolutions elsewhere and was forced to flee from his fractious citizens. A new Roman Republic was declared, but it was crushed by French troops that same year. However revolution remained in the air and the movement for the reunification of Italy succeeded; a new Kingdom of Italy took control of much of the Papal States and was soon pressing the Pope for control of Rome. By 1871, after French troops left the city, and Italian forces had taken Rome, it was declared capital of the new Italy. As ever, building followed, designed to turn Rome into a capital; the population rose fast, from roughly 200,000 in 1871 to 660,000 in 1921.

Rome became the focus of a new power struggle in 1922, when Benito Mussolini marched his Blackshirts into the city and took control of the nation. He signed the Lateran Pact in 1929, conferring on the Vatican the status of an independent state within Rome, but his regime collapsed during the Second World War. Rome escaped this great conflict without much damage and led Italy throughout the rest of the twentieth century. In 1993 the city received its first directly elected mayor.

Today the currency of Italy is the Euro. (EUR, €) .Formerly the currency of Italy was the Italian Lira. (ITL, ₤, L)

The exchange rate (1936.27 ITL = €1) was established on 31 December 1998.

From January 1,1999 the Euro became the official currency of the country, and was used for non-cash transactions, with Lira coins and notes continuing as legal tender until 2002. During this interim period, 'Lira' was one of several different official non-decimal sub-units of the Euro. However, from 1 January 1999, the Lira ceased to exist as an independent currency unit.

'Italian' Euro coins were first put into circulation in December 2001, though they were minted with 2002 dates.

On 1 January 2002, Italy adopted Euro coinage and notes, but Lira coins and notes remained as legal tender until 28 February 2002.

On 1 January 2002 many other European countries also replaced their coins and notes with Euro currency, the respective conversion rates of exchange having been established at midnight on 31 December 1998/1 January 1999.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Let's visit Rome, Italy "Introduction"

Rome is a popular travel destination in Italy, full of attractions. Today's Rome, Roma, is a vibrant and lively city with reminders of its past everywhere. In Rome you will encounter the glories of Ancient Rome, and even see digs of the Etruscan civilization that pre-dates it. You will find medieval and Renaissance buildings and fountains, and great museums. Rome boasts many fine restaurants and cafes, good nightlife, and lively streets and squares. It's a living museum of history from Roman times to present.
Although Rome is a huge city, its historic center is small, making it easy to walk.
While you can hit the highlights in two days, I recommend at least a stay of 3 full days in Rome (4 nights).

If Rome is the Eternal City, it is also a city with no end of ruins. It's impossible to see all of the temples and monuments from previous empires, try as you might, so begin with the Pantheon, the Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica and see how far you get. But for the true flavor of Rome, make time to linger over a glass of Chianti wine or a pizza with Rocket. Visit its fountains in the moonlight. These experiences are as much a part of the city as the Roman Forum.

Near the banks of the Tiber River, 2,700 years ago on seven hills, the foundation of Rome was laid. It is one of the most ancient cities in Europe. Since then, it has been continuously inhabited and has grown into a city of almost three million people, covering 1,502 square kilometers (580 square miles). Rome is in southern Italy, in southern Europe, and has a parallel latitude with New York state.

I have been to Rome a few times and loved everything about the city, the history, the food, the super friendly people, the beautiful views and great places to go. I do not know why but felt home in Rome, some of the streets reminded me of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The people are full of energy, so many young people, Italian woman are so elegant and men are very charming, they know how to dress. Here is an insiders secret - check out Piazza del Popolo in the early evening. There you will find hundreds of young people in casual conversation, enjoying the warm weather and the wonderful wine of the region. It will be easy to join in.

If you have been to Rome please tell me how you liked it. I would love to hear.
But if you have never been, try to go, you won't regret, it is really a unforgettable city.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Where to stay in London

 I will give you a few options of nice Hotels in London. Will start with 5 starts Hotels to more simple and reasonable accommodations.

The Savoy "A Fairmont Managed Hotel" ( 5 Star Hotel) 

Iconic hotel overlooking the River Thames. Situated on London's famous Strand, this 5-star hotel affords postcard views of the River Thames, along with easy access to The City financial district and the West End.Had dinner and drinks with my daughter there 1 time, exquisite! 

Address: Strand, London, England, WC2R0EU
Phone#: 1-866-599-6674
Price range: Rooms start at $600 dollars.  


The Tower (4 star hotel)

In the heart of the city, surrounded by world-famous landmarks, The Tower is perfectly placed for discovering all London has to offer. It’s a hotel that has people at its very heart, where everything is designed to leave you feeling contented, cared for, relaxed and revitalized.

Address: St Katharine's Way,
                London E1W 1LD
Phone # (44) 845 305 8335
Price range: Single £89.00 to £225.00, US $350.78 per room per night. 

The Pavillion Hotel  (3 star hotel)
It is a groovy 30 room Hotel in Central London, targeted at a discerning, artistically minded clientele. Rooms are themed to project a funky and glamorous image. Harper's and Queen Magazine described the Pavillion as "London's 'chic'est little hotel. Just a few minutes walk from Paddington Station and is accessible directly from Heathrow Airport. Many celebrities have stayed there.

Address: 34-36 Sussex Gardens, London, Greater London W2 1UL Located near Oxford Str. and Hyde Park. 
Phone # (44)0207-262 0905 
Price range: Rates are very reasonable for such a nice little hotel.
  • Small room single : £60. 
  • Large room single: £85. 
  • Double twin: £100. 
  • Triple (3 adults): £120 
  • Family ( 2adults & 2 children): £130

Bed & Breakfast Hotels in central London ( 3stars)

When old world charm meets modern London townhouse hotel, the guests at Paddington in Central London find the "London Guards Hotel". London Guards provides you with a luxury hotel experience at a three-star hotel price. Though there are plenty of cheap hotels in London, London Guards Hotel will make your stay comfortable and relaxing. Their friendly and accommodating staff takes care of you in such a way that you feel pampered while enjoying all the comforts of home.

Address: 36 Lancaster Gate, London  W2 3NA                           
Phone : 020 7402 1101
Price range:  Very inexpensive, starts at £39 per night.

The "unhotel"

There is also another option that is fairly new in London, The unhotel.The concept is to rentsomeone's home  for a few days or weeks and live like a local.

Go to this web-site You will be able to select where you want to stay and prices. 
Phone : 1.917.383.2182

Hope this will be helpful to you.
Next week we go to Rome, Italy. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Please look at "Little Secrets", important information about Chakras today.
Enjoy it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Places to go in London

This amazing city has so much to offer, so many beautiful places to go. I will give you the most important ones, the ones I went to and recommend. It is incredible to know that about 13.8 million tourist visit London every year. It is important to have the phone # of emergency: 999

Do you like to go to plays and musicals?

London has a booming theater enterprise, which is divided into 3 distinct parts:
  • The West End, 
  • National Theater/Globe Theater
  • The Fringe
I love it, try to go every time I have a chance.

London is often described as more of a conglomerate of villages than a unified city. While this understates the pride Londoners take in their city as a whole, it is true that locals are strongly attached to their neighborhoods. Each area’s heritage and traditions are alive and evolving, from the City of London’s 2000-year-old association with trade to the West End’s ever-changing theater scene.

So here are the places I recommend:

1. The British Museum
It is the oldest and the most important museum in England. Imagine the collections of Kings and Queens during the Empire years. They are housed here. The public displays and the collections of the British Museum represent an important part of the cultural and material heritage of the world, containing exhibits from Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

2. Buckingham Palace
This is the official residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The changing of the guards is one ritual that no tourist should miss when visiting London.On Royal birthday's, you will see the Mounted Calvary that Prince William is in, parading in formation and escorting the Royals.If you've seen the movie, "The Kings Speech", you have seen them address their subjects from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

  3. London Eye
The giant wheel was built on the bank of the Thames - in front of the Houses of the Parliament - and offers a wonderful perspective of the whole city. It give you an opportunity to look down on the Houses of Lords and House of Commons.

4. The Houses of Parliament (The Westminster Palace)
The world famous Big Ben is the major attraction of the building. The huge clock tower dominates the City and it strikes precisely every hour.

5. Westminster Abbey - Across the street from Westminster Palace you will find the The Coronation Cathedral, We3stminster Abbey.
Beginning with the 25 of December 1066 - whenWilliam the Conqueror was anointed king of England - all the kings and queens receive the divine blessing in this huge cathedral. Look for Poet's corner and Chaucer's grave. You will find many famous British subjects buried along side Chaucer.

6. The Tower of London
Before his being anointed king of England William ordered the Norman builders who were accompanying him to erect a tower. The White Tower gradually became, after repeatedly being extended, what is today known as the Tower of London - a series of fortifications that were used as royal residence, prisons or Royal Treasury. Today it is a famous museum which houses the Royal Jewels under the watchful eye of the ever present Beefeaters and Ravens. They are most pleased to guide all the tourists.

7. St. Paul's Cathedral
It is a Baroque master piece built under the supervision of Sir Christopher Wren. The Dome is one of the largest in the world. Christopher Wren himself was buried here. Other famous British subjects that rest under the roof of St. Paul's are Duke Wellington, Lord Nelson, John Donne or J.M.W. Turner.

8. Tower Bridge
Built in the neo-gothic style Tower Bridge was inaugurated in 1894. It is a wonder of technology and engineering. When finished the central platform was lifted by steam engines to allow traffic to pass. Now the half an hour guided tour offers the tourists another perspective of London and its achievements.

9. The National Gallery
Displays more than 2,300 paintings created between 1260-1900. The main entrance is in the Trafalgar Square but the Sainsbury wing is more appropriate for starting a tour of the exhibitions.

10. The Underground
Particularly interesting is the London Underground or the tube (initially the tunnels were perfectly round) as it is also called. It is not a real touristic attraction but I consider it worth "visiting" I mean using. It is the best means of transport in London - there are also the famous double-deckers or the black cabs - but dont go during rush hour, the tube is packed and it is no place for tourists.

So enjoy London, see the history and meet the people. They are remarkably resilient.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Traditional food in London

Food is wonderful in London. The variety of restaurants and different kinds of food that you can find is amazing. You can find food from all over the world.

Food in England has been influenced by the many cultures that invaded it and then those that made up its grand Empire. When the Normans invaded, they brought with them the spices of the east: cinnamon, saffron, mace, nutmeg, pepper, ginger. Sugar came to England at that time, and was considered a spice, rare and expensive. The few Medieval cookery books that remain record dishes that use every spice in the larder, and chefs across Europe saw their task to be the almost alchemical transformation of raw ingredients into something entirely new. (for centuries the English aristocracy ate French food which they felt distinguished them from the peasants)

During Victorian times Heavy foods like roast mixed with exotic spices from all over the Empire. And today despite being part of Europe they've kept up their links with the countries of the former British Empire, now united under the Commonwealth. One of the benefits of having an empire is that they did learn quite a bit from the colonies. From East Asia (China) they adopted tea (and exported the habit to India), and from India they adopted curry-style spicing, they even developed a line of spicy sauces including ketchup, mint sauce, Worcestershire sauce and deviled sauce to indulge these tastes. Today it would be fair to say that curry has become a national dish.

Among English cakes and pastries, many are tied to the various religious holidays of the year. Hot Cross Buns are eaten on Good Friday, Simnel Cake is for Mothering Sunday, Plum Pudding for Christmas, and Twelfth Night Cake for Epiphany.

Unfortunately a great deal of damage was done to British cuisine during the two world wars. The war effort used up goods and services and so less were left over for the populace. Ships importing food stuffs had to travel in convoys and so they could make fewer journeys. During the second world war food rationing began in January 1940 and was lifted only gradually after the war.

As a result, the British tradition of stews, pies and breads went into terminal decline. English food let itself become a gastronomic joke.

In London especially, one can not only experiment with the best of British, but the best of the world as there are many distinct ethnic cuisines to sample, Chinese, Indian, Italian and Greek restaurants are the most popular.

Although some traditional dishes such as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, Cornish pasties, steak and kidney pie, Bangers and Mash, bread and butter pudding, treacle tart, spotted dick or fish and chips, remain popular, there has been a significant shift in eating habits in Britain. Rice and pasta have accounted for the decrease in potato consumption and the consumption of meat has also fallen. Vegetable and salad oils have largely replaced the use of butter.Roast beef is still the national culinary pride. It is called a "joint," and is served at midday on Sunday with roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, two vegetables, a good strong horseradish, gravy, and mustard.

Today there is more emphasis on fine, fresh ingredients in the better restaurants and markets in the UK offer food items from all over the world. Salmon, Dover sole, exotic fruit, Norwegian prawns and New Zealand lamb are choice items. Wild fowl and game are other specialties on offer.

So, if you are planning a trip today, you are in luck. In England, you will have the cuisine of the world at your doorstep - but do try a Sunday Roast before you leave.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

History of England

Since England has a tremendous amount of History, I am going to write a brief History. If you need more information the Internet is loaded with it.

Prehistory & Antiquity

England has been settled by humans for at least 500,000 years. The first modern humans (homo sapiens) arrived during the Ice Age (about 35,000 to 10,000 years ago), when the sea levels were lower and Britain was connected to the European mainland. It is these people who built the ancient megalithic monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury. Isolated as a island, England remained a pagan society organized around villages until the Celtic tribes arrived.

During the Bronze Age, between 1,500 and 500 BC, Celtic tribes migrated from Central Europe and France to Britain and mixed with the indigenous inhabitants, creating a new culture slightly distinct from the Continental Celtic one.This culture spread through the land that we now know as England, Scotland, and Ireland and the Celtic language is still spoke in pockets of those lands today.

The Romans

In 55 BC, during the reign of Julius Caesar, the Romans tried to invade Britain but failed for a hundred years. Eventually, in 43 AD, the Romans established a foothold in Britain, but continue to be plagued by skirmishes with the Pagan Barbarians from the indigenous population. Later,  in 122 AD, Emperor Hadrian built a wall in the north of Britannia to keep the barbarian at bay. This wall is still standing in the North and can be followed on foot by Hadrians Wall Path or by cycle on National Cycle Route 72. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern England. The Romans progressively abandoned Britannia in the 5th century as their Empire was falling apart and legions were needed to protect Rome.

The Anglo-Saxons

With the Romans gone, the Celtic tribes started fighting with each others again, and one of the local chieftain had the not so brilliant idea to request help from the some Germanic tribes from the North of present-day Germany and South of Denmark. These were the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, who arrived in the 5th and 6th centuries.

The Vikings

From the second half of the 9th century, the Norse from Scandinavia started invading Europe, the Swedes taking up Eastern Europe, Russia (which they founded as a country) and the Byzantine Empire, the Norwegians raiding Scotland and Ireland, discovering and settling in the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland (and were in fact the first Europeans to set foot in America in 1000 AD), while the Danes wrought havoc throughout Western Europe, as far south as North Africa.

The Normans

The Norse from Scandinavia pushed down into Northern France where they became know as Normans, Normandy, which got its name from the Normans, was the French province which they founded. Here they adopted the French civilization, language and religion, and became the most cultured people of Europe.

In 1066, Duke William of Normandy, William the Great, led the army into England and defeated the English king at the famous Battle of Hastings. (This how my husbands family became Anglicized) England was under Norman rule for 88 years afterwards. William, The Conqueror, used harsh measures and ruled with an iron hand, but with his ability and determination he was able to unite England and gain the respect of his people.

Centuries of internal strife

The English royals after William I had the infamous habit to fight over the throne. William's son, William II was killed while hunting (it is believed that he was murdered, so that William's second son, Henry, could become king). Henry I's succession had to deal with a civil war started by his daughter Matilda and her cousin Stephen (grandson of William I). Although Stephen won, Matilda's son succeeded him as Henry II (1133-1189).

Edward III (1312-1377) succeeded his father at the age of 15 and reigned for 50 years (the second longest King's reign in English history after Henry III). His reign was marked by the beginning of the Hundred Years' War (1337-1416) and "Black Death", which killed one third of England (and Europe's) population.
Edward III was often fighting in France and the government was controlled de facto by his third son John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. John of Gaunt's son, Henry Bolingbroke, took advantage of his cousin Richard II's absence to proclaim himself King Henry IV (1367-1413). Escaping several assassination attempts, Henry also had to deal with the revolt of Owen Glendower, who declared himself Prince of Wales in 1400, then with the rebellion of the Earl of Northumberland.

Henry V (1387-1422), famously defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, but his pious and peace-loving son Henry VI (1421-1471), who inherited the throne at just one year old, was to have a much more troubled reign, losing most of the English possessions in France to a 17-year old girl (Joan of Arc) and in 1455, the War of the Roses broke out. This civil war opposed the House of Lancaster (the Red Rose, supporters of Henry VI) to the House of York (the White Rose, supporters of Edward IV). The Yorks argued that the crown should have passed to Edward III' second son, Lionel of Antwrep, rather than to the Lancasters descending from John of Gaunt.

Henry VIII is remembered in history as one of the most powerful kings of England. Except for getting married six times, desperate for a male heir, Henry changed the face of England, passing the Acts of Union with Wales (1536-1543), thus becoming the first English King of Wales, then changing his title of Lord of Ireland into that of (also first) King of Ireland (1541).

James I (1566-1625) was a Protestant, like Elizabeth and aimed at improving relations with the Catholics. But 2 years after he was crowned, a group of Catholic extremists led by Guy Fawkes attempted to place a bomb at the parliament's state opening, when the king and his entourage would be present, so as to get rid of all the Protestant aristocracy in one fell swoop. The conspirators were betrayed by one of their number just hours before the plan's enactment. The failure of the Gunpowder Plot, as it is known is still celebrated throughout Britain on Guy Fawkes' night (5th November), with fireworks and bonfires burning effigies of the conspirators' leader.

The British Empire

In 1760 a new king came to power in Great Britain named King George III. George III used the powerful British Navy to wage war with France. These wars brought the British Empire vast new territory, including all of Canada, as well as all the land in North America, East of the Mississippi River.

This war, which greatly enlarged the territories of Great Britain proved to be very costly, and nearly bankrupt the national treasury. King George III was, as a result, in desperate need of raising funds to keep his government operating. To do this, he looked to the colonies in the Americas. This pressure led to the famous battle cry in the American Colonies, "No Taxation without Representation" and the American Revolution. However, the British Empire continued to grow. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the leading global power. By 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-fifth of the world's population at the time, and covered more than 33,700,000 km (13,012,000 sq mi), almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area.

The Postwar Period

After WWII the UK was bankrupt and its industry destroyed. In its weaken state, the British Empire was dismantled little by little, first granting the independence to India and Pakistan in 1947, then to the other Asian, African and Caribbean colonies in the 1950's, 60's, 70's and 80's. Most of these ex-colonies formed the British Commonwealth, now known as the Commonwealth of Nations.

In 1952, Elizabeth II (b. 1926) ascended the throne at the age of 26. Although she somewhat rehabilitated the image of the monarchy, her children did not, regularly making tabloid headlines of unsavory transgressions.

The 60's did see an explosion of English Pop and Rock music with groups like the Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones and Black Sabbath. Political control has moved from Conservatives, famously represented by Margaret Thatcher, to Labor, recently led by Tony Blair, and back again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Olympics Games In London

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, are scheduled for July 27th to August 12, 2012 in London, England.  London will become the first city to host the modern Olympic Games three times, having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948.

The countries that are expected to take part in the London 2012 Olympics:
The Olympic Committee expects over 200 nations to take part in 300 events in London. The Paralympic Games will include 140 nations.

The 2012 Summer Olympics will showcase the best athletes in the world in an array of sports including:
  • Archery
  • Swimming
  • Diving
  • Water Polo
  • Volleyball
  • Track and Field
  • Rowing
  • Gymnastics
 ... and many more.

The summer Olympic Games are held every four years at various locations throughout the world. The games will attract visitors from across the globe and London's preparation is in the final stages.

Have you ever been to any Olympic Game? I have not and would love to find out how you felt. Please let me know.

The Centerpiece - London Olympic Stadium
The main stadium will be the London Olympic Stadium, located at Marshgate Lane in Stratford, London. It  will be the showcase of the Olympic Games with both the opening and closing ceremonies held here. The stadium will seat 80,000 people.

Located in the southern section of Olympic Park and surrounded by waterways on three sides, the stadium will appear to be an island. Participants will have to cross bridges to get to the stadium, dramatically improving security.

I think the emotion that goes on when you are there watching it, must be amazing. I would love to go one day.

For sure I will be watching on TV.
Stay tuned to my blog however ... the next Olympics Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

How careful should you be going to London

Greater London is served by three police forces; the Metropolitan Police which is responsible for policing the vast majority of the capital, the City of London Police which is responsible for The Square Mile of the The city of London and the British Transport Police which police the rail network and London Underground.
Overall crime is down in London, but you have to look at the individual areas that make up the Metropolitan Area. For example, the Towers Hamlet rate is up while Southwark, right next door is down. You can find specific crime rates for the area you are visiting, at this site

The increases in robbery were largely attributed to the rise in youth on youth robberies across London with particular focus around schools and transport  interchanges and increased usage and ownership of items such as mobile phones, one of the most commonly stolen items .

I have gone to London many times and never had a problem. I find London a pretty safe city but you always should be careful no matter where you go.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Religion and Weather in London

The most practiced religion in England is Christianity. After Christianity, religions with the most adherents are Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, Buddhism and Neo-Paganism. There are also so many organizations that promote atheism (people that do not believe God exists) and agnosticism.

Another religion that is important and was created in the country is pagan (Wicca), particularly Celtic and Roman polytheism. Many structures and monuments are religious in nature, such Stonehenge and the Angel of the North. To better understand religious history in England we have to address paganism and The Church of England.

Paganism encompasses a diverse community with some groups concentrating on specific traditions, practices or elements such as ecology, witchcraft, Celtic traditions or certain gods. Wiccans, Druids, Shamans, Sacred Ecologists, Odinists and Heathens all make up parts of the Pagan community. Ancient faith in England was influenced by the natural world and the threat posed by the elements. The inhabitants of Britain originally worshiped their ancestors, burying them in long barrows and performing rituals to influence the weather and the harvest. But when Britain's climate changed radically around 3,000 BC, the ancestor cult came to an end and Britons looked to nature itself to influence their fortune.
The Church of England is the official christian church in England. It considers itself within the tradition of Christianity and dates from the mission to England by St Augustine of Canterbury in AD 597. Initially prompted by a dispute over the annulment of the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon,  the Church of England broke from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534.

England's weather remains the most frequent topic of conversation. So here are the facts:
Regional climates in the United Kingdom are influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and its northern latitude. North Ireland, Wales ans western parts of England and Scotland are generally the mildest, wettest and windiest regions of the UK. Eastern areas are drier, cooler, less windy and also experience the greatest daily and seasonal temperature variations. Northern areas are generally cooler, wetter and have a slight bigger temperature range than southern areas.
It's wise to remember London's weather is very fickle, plan a picnic on a bright, sunny morning and it could be raining by noon. So always be prepared, you never know what may happen.
Graph of average rainfall variation in London. Averages are between 1.5 to 2.5 inches per month.

Every time I went to London it rained and that was not fun! But the 2  last times I went, I decided to go in October, more towards the end of the month and voila! I got beautiful weather, spent about 10 days, and my daughter was able to show me so many great places in London that I have never been. We had a great time.
So try to go in October, the temperature is perfect because it is fall, not very cold and no rain. As you see on the graph, March and April are usually drier times as well.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Capital, Currency and Language of London

London  for a long time was a small city and people lived inside the walls that were built by the Romans.
It became Capitol in the 12th century. Today, it is a vibrant economic center with vast diversification in its population and the capital of one of the world's leading economies. Ironically, England's past as a colonial power led to its diversification. Today immigrants from colonies in Africa, the Middle-East, Asia, and the America's add to the population that descended from Celtic, Saxon and French roots.

Currency in London is pounds. The debate over conversion to the Euro has raged in UK politics for years, but the Sterling has held on. When viewed against the backdrop of the turmoil in the Euro and the precipitous drop in value relative to the dollar, the "Save the Sterling" advocates feel very vindicated. The United Kingdom has nixed the Euro. But not to worry, you can still exchange them at local banks and even some stores.

Language is The King's English - somewhat different than American English, not just in pronunciation; but, also in word selection. As an example, if you want to tell someone you will call them, you "ring them up/" If you feel someone is misleading you, what they say is "rubbish." 

Then the slang, check some of these out!

Arse - This is a word that doesn't seem to exist in America. It basically means the same as ass, but is much ruder. It is used in phrases like "pain in the arse" (a nuisance) or I "can't be arsed" (I can't be bothered) or you might hear something was "a half arsed attempt" meaning that it was not done properly.

Bang - Nothing to do with your hair - this is a rather unattractive way of describing having sex. Always gets a smile from Brits in American hair dressers when they are asked about their bangs. 

Bloody - One of the most useful swear words in English. Mostly used as an exclamation of surprise i.e. "bloody hell". Something may be "bloody marvellous" or "bloody awful". It is also used to emphasize almost anything, "you're bloody mad", "not bloody likely" and can also be used in the middle of other words to emphasise them. E.g. "Abso-bloody-lutely"! Americans should avoid saying "bloody" as they sound silly.

Dodgy - If someone or something is a bit dodgy, it is not to be trusted. Dodgy food should be thrown away at home, or sent back in a restaurant. Dodgy people are best avoided. You never know what they are up to. Dodgy goods may have been nicked. When visiting Miami I was advised by some English chums that certain areas were a bit dodgy and should be avoided!
Mate - Most chaps like to go to the pub with their mates. Mate means friend or chum.

Pissed - This is a great one for misunderstanding. Most people go to the pub to get pissed. In fact the object of a stag night is to get as pissed as possible. Getting pissed means getting drunk. It does not mean getting angry. That would be getting pissed off!

Quid - A pound in money is called a quid. It is the equivalent to the buck or clam in America. A five pound note is called a fiver and a ten pound note is called a tenner.
Rubbish - The stuff we put in the bin. Trash or garbage to you. You might also accuse someone of talking rubbish.

Sod - This word has many uses. My father always used to say "Oh Sod!" or "Sod it!" if something went wrong and he didn't want to swear too badly in front of the children. If someone is a sod or an "old sod" then it means they are a bit of a bastard or an old git. "Sod off" is like saying "piss off" or "get lost" & "sod you" means something like "f*** off". It also means a chunk of lawn of course. You can usually tell the difference!

Hope you had some good laughs and enjoyed.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

London, United Kingdom " Introduction"

Have you ever been to London? If not you should go. It is another favored city of mine. Has so much to offer, so many places to go and things to do.
London is the business and financial heart of the United Kingdom and it is the biggest city in Britain and in Europe. It occupies over 620 square miles. Has a population of 7,556,900 and it is in the southeast of England.

The tallest building in London is the Canary Wharf Tower. London was the first city in the world to have an underground railway, known as the "tube".

Some of the most important people in the world have visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace, her official residence and the Royal family.